Complaint: First, let me say that this is not a review on Montessori as I love the Montessori methods, specifically AMI recognized schools. AMI recognized schools offer the following standards: A little background: My children attended the toddler and primary program at the Barbara Gordon Montessori School (now Waypoint Montessori) in Colleyville, TX. This school far exceeded my expectations and the staff, guides, campus and program were phenomenal. Our money was well spent while attending. In 2015, our family moved from TX to WA. I wanted to keep my children in a Montessori program, but my only stipulation was it had to be an AMI recognized school. The only option for an AMI recognized school in our area was The Eastside Montessori School (TEMS). Because there were no other options for an AMI Montessori school on the East side, we enrolled our two children in the primary program. Unfortunately, not only does TEMS not adhere to the AMI recognized standards, there are many other areas of concern for this school. TEMS has an AMI trained teacher in the morning and in the afternoon, but they are 2 different teachers. The morning teacher (who is also the director of the school) leaves at noon when the afternoon teacher arrives. This is highly inconsistent for the children. There were times that the morning children could not complete more intense work in the afternoon because the afternoon teacher did not know the lesson so the child had to wait until the next morning to complete his or her work. This is disruptive to the child’s morning and afternoon work cycles. Additionally, there were many times that the morning teacher was absent or the afternoon teacher was absent and this left the children without an AMI trained teacher (with the assistant only). This happened not just a few times, but many. Additionally, the mixed age group and class size did not meet the AMI standards. There has rarely been the minimum of 24 students and now, the class size is only 21. To ensure social development, AMI schools have a well balanced division of ages as well as an appropriate number of children. TEMS does not maintain this standard as it has a hard time keeping children enrolled. I have recently removed my children from the school because the AMI standards that I was ensured due to the AMI recognition was not present in addition to many other reasons. It is very disappointing to pay a lot of money for a premium Montessori school but not get the true Montessori experience. The owner (Christine First) is not only the owner, she is also the director and the morning teacher and leaves by noon each day. This does not give her ample time to successfully be the owner, the director and the teacher and she is often unavailable to the parents. As a result, the children and the families suffer. Because the director tries to wear too many hats, these are the biggest issues that exist: 1. Lack of communication (The AMI guide was fired suddenly and the parents didn’t know about it until a week later–and the email came after the children were giving us the bits of information they got from school. The parents had to demand information so we could remain consistent about what we told our children. We should have received an email immediately letting us know that the teacher was no longer going to be teaching in the classroom. This happened again when the assistant was fired this year. We showed up to school one day to a new face receiving the children and were never informed. The parents had to ask questions and demand information and a week later we finally received an email introducing the new assistant.) I could provide many more examples of lack of communication. 2. Lack of consistency (There have been 4 different AMI trained guides and 4 different assistants in 2 years and there is one teacher in the morning and one teacher in the afternoon). I could provide many more examples of lack of consistency. 3. Lack of support (The director refuses to have a room parent and does not approve of parents discussing school matters with each other. There is no partnership that exists between the school and parents.. Additionally, parent info nights happen few and far between and are often times cancelled last minute. At our old school, we received weekly emails regarding the classroom and how to incorporate Montessori at home so parents and teachers were working toward the same goal, but there is absolutely no support from TEMS). 4. Lack of transparency (Parents are not given the truth or kept informed on school happenings/major changes). 5. Lack of priority (the director is also the teacher and leaves at noon each day, which does not truly allow enough time for her to do both important jobs well and is often times unavailable to parents. When she is available, there is significant waiting times.) 6. Parents do not have a safe place to express concerns with with director/teacher because they are the same person and because the director does not promote or support open communication. I tried to speak to the director regarding my concerns, but was told to put it in an email. I was refused a meeting after several requests. I could no longer ignore the red flags so I submitted my withdrawal for the end of November on October 26, 2016. The director asked my family to leave immediately. I did not agree with this decision as it was not in the best interest of the children and it felt as if we were being dismissed out of revenge rather than what was best for the children. As we were applying to other schools, the director withheld school records for my children and made it very difficult for us to apply to other schools. Per WA state laws, this is illegal to do. So, if you are looking for a true AMI Montessori experience that supports a true partnership between the school and parents, this school is not for you. I have many emails that I can provide on how certain situations were handled and the way the director chose to speak to me.
Tags: Private Schools
Address: 1934 108th Ave NE Bellevue, Washington USA
Phone: (425) 213.5629