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Montessori Schools in Portland

Even though the new year is still so new, it's time to start thinking about the options for the fall. Lydia is gettiing a head start and researching Montessori preschools:

I'd like to ask other urbanMamas about the Montessori schools in Portland. My daughter will turn three during the 07/08 school year, so I'm researching now and getting ready to apply by the end of next month. We live in the Mt Tabor area - so far we've visited the Franciscan Earth School and Harmony Montessori and had good impressions of them both. I'm particularly interested to hear from any mamas who are NOT happy with the schools their children attend, and why.

Another eastside Montessori School is Providence Montessori.

On the westside, there is Childpeace Montessori, Odyssey Montessori, West Hills School, Two Rivers, Child's View.

We welcome your feedback, if you'd had experiences with these schools.

Comments

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There's also Puddletown (http://www.puddletownschool.com/) in the southeast. We looked at it last year this time, and really liked it.

My daughter started at Harmony Sep 06 and we love it more and more. It has been a wonderful place for Kate AND for me.

I didn't visit Franciscan (I was going to but toured Harmony and like it so much I never mde it to Franciscan), but I did visit Sunnyside Montessori which I thought was ok. It is super cheap (when I visited it was around $450/month for 8:15-3:00 5 days/week). It is a Christian school, though it's not overbearing. I've also heard of Happy Valley Montessori and driven by it, but I don't know anything about it.

My daughter attends Sunnyside Mennonite Montessori School in Southeast Portland (at the corner of SE 35th and Main.) She just turned four on Friday and she started preschool this past September. It's a very small school (a mixed age classroom of 25 preschoolers and kindergartners.) It's a half day program, the teachers are lovely and we have been very happy there so far. The telephone number is 503.260.6601.

My 4yo son goes to Sunnyside Mennonite Montessori too (as did my older kid), and we love it. The teachers are great, and most of all, it is WAY more affordable than a lot of other preschool options in town.

P.S. To clarify the affordability part of my post, SMMS is $165 per month for 3 mornings/week, 9-12:30. (There is also a 4 morning option).

I nannied for a family whose son was enrolled at Providence Montessori and they had a great experience there. The teacher was great and super flexible when it became apparent that he needed to be challenged a bit more.
I was a preschool aide myself in college and whenever I would go to Providence Montessori I always got a great feel- super clean, teachers who recognized you- or, if they didn't recognize you, would ask to make sure you had checked in, etc.

I nannied for a family whose son was enrolled at Providence Montessori and they had a great experience there. The teacher was great and super flexible when it became apparent that he needed to be challenged a bit more.
I was a preschool aide myself in college and whenever I would go to Providence Montessori I always got a great feel- super clean, teachers who recognized you- or, if they didn't recognize you, would ask to make sure you had checked in, etc.

Do mot of these places have long waitlists? If so how old does your child have to be to be placed on the waitlist. My son is 9 months and I know how hard it is to get care for infants wonderiong if it's the same for preschool?

Also for the Franciscan School it said this on their website: "Submission of this application does not guarantee that the student will be enrolled. A fee of $350 must accompany the application - $250 of which is a non-refundable processing fee" That seems outrageous are they all like this for application fees?

Thanks!

I have toured Childpeace Montessori and know families who are happy there. But I want to chime in for Providence Montessori as well. With two children, now ages 7 and 5, I am in my fifth straight year as a parent there. The "guides" (teachers) are awesome, and the school is large enough to offer flexible schedules and programming (early start, half day, after school care, etc.) but still small enough that staff know every child by name. Tutition charges are very competitive and the teachers are all certified by the Association Montessori Internationale and they know what they are doing. People credit me for raising very smart kids who love to learn ... when really, the school deserves a ton of the credit and I just help! The school filled up early last spring, so do check early to see if it's the right fit for your darling!

My daughter went to Providence Montessori for the three years (from the time she was 3 yrs old until she was 6). We really had a wonderful experience there. We were happy with the other families at the school, and we were happy with the guides and the other staff. We found the school very warm, welcoming, and accessible. Like Betsy, we also credit the school for how focused and interested in learning our Philly has become. My impression about the waitlist is that it can fill up, but I don't think the waitlist is year(s)-long like other schools.

We have visited Childpeace a few times. The space is really lovely and the school is also certified by the Association Montessori Internationale. The prices are more steep, I think (about $850 per month FT for the primary program for ages 3-6), and the waiting list is long. Still, we would have no doubt sending our second daughter there; we feel certain she could thrive in that environment. She has been on the waitlist for a while, so hopefully there would be a spot for her.

We know families who have gone to Franciscan Earth and Odysessy, but more for the elementary program.

Not all of the schools offer infant or toddler montessori programs; and not all of the schools offer elementary montessori programs.

I used to teach at Harmony Montessori for 4 years in the late 90s, and only left because I was moving to Seattle. Jude Foster (administrator/guide) is a wonderful person and Harmony is a fantastic school. During my 8 years of teaching and 2 years of administrating, I had experience with many schools. Some were larger and had bigger budgets, and some catered to a very exclusive upscale clientele, but little Harmony is still my favorite. I enjoyed the warm feel, the feeling of community, and the ease with which one could interact with the teachers and administrator. The Montessori materials and techniques are always what they should be, and Jude always makes sure there is an emphasis on learning about, caring for, and exploring the natural world. They end the school year with an all-school picnic with optional overnight family tent camping - and Jude is the first to pitch her tent. Imagine sitting around a campfire chatting with the administrator/teacher of your child's school - not something you're likely to find anywhere else.

Thanks everybody. I appreciate all who've taken the time to post.

For Stephanie and Zinemama: A neighbor of mine also has good things to say about Sunnyside Mennonite. She says it's so affordable because it's not accredited with either of the Montessori associations, which I confess bothers me a little bit. Still, I guess it's worth checking out since everyone seems to like it.

For Liz - the only school I've encountered so far with an actual year or more wait list is Childpeace. The others have mostly told me that as long as we apply by late Feb there should be space. As for application fees, they do seem to mostly have them, at least $150. Some are more generous about applying the whole amount toward tuition if you enroll.

My daughter will only be 2 and a half next September, so that kind of limits my choices. Not all will start her that young. I'm even a little hesitant myself. It's just that she seems ready to me and I really think she'd enjoy herself.

Thanks again -
Lydia

Lydia, the reason SMMS is so affordable is because they get charged very little rent from the Mennonite Church (whose members, in return get first dibs at the waiting list - which has never been a problem for us).

I don't know about the accredition status of the school, but I do know that the teachers are really into Montessori, have parent education meetings about it regularly, etc, and do all the standard Montessori stuff - plus Woodie Guthrie songs, which Maria M probably never heard of...

Not that I'm trying to convince you to go there, if a fully accredited school is what you're looking for. But I think that, as with Waldorf schools or any that follow a certain philosophy, it's more about the individual school and the teachers than anything else.

My son attends Childpeace Montessori and he loves it. It's been a great experience.

One thing... The Montessori curriculum includes the kindergarden year (3 years). Because we started my son at 2 1/2 we will be paying for 4 years of preschool tuition. You might want to consider waiting another year until your child is three.

FYI, Childpeace montessori has a satellite school at McAuley Terrace, in a senior residence home at around 33rd and Stark. My daughter really enjoyed her time there, which includes interacting with the residents on a daily basis. The wait list for this location is not usually as long as the one for the downtown location.

I'm with a westside Montessori school, but I just wanted to put in a plug for an eastside school that wasn't mentioned in the introductory piece. Whole Child Montessori School is a lovely place with a good reputation and a long, stable history. It's in the Woodstock area.

Thanks for posting that question, Lydia - I've been wondering about the local Montessori schools as well. Can't help but notice Montessori of Alameda isn't mentioned at all. Do any of you know families attending this school or have any other "insider" info?

My daughter attends Montessori of Alameda. She started in the toddler room at 2 years old. Misty and Erin were her guides, and they were awesome. Maya runs the infant/toddler program, and she, too, is awesome. My daughter loved the environment. Now my kid is in the 3-6 year old community......she is doing okay.....we had a new baby, and she changed classrooms and teachers around the same time. She was also the oldest in the toddler room, and now is the youngest in the preschhol room.
My daughter seems happy there, the price is very competitive, and they have half days or full days.

oh forgot to mention... I also checked out Earth school......LOVED it there, but it was too far for me to travel everyday. If I lived closer, I would definetly send my kid there!

I am so impressed with this conversation about local Montessori Programs!Yippee. I am an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) trained teacher and have worked in or with many of these programs. I also have a three and a half year old daughter who goes to SunGarden Montessori (www.sungardenmontessori.org)which is in West Linn(and has a classroom in Oregon City too)SunGarden is an AMI school and has been around for 25 years!It is a wonderful program and in fact many Montessori teachers from the Portland area drive to West Linn for their children to be a part of this community. Not to say that the programs in Portland are not good, many are wonderful too. Another resource to look into is the Oregon Montessori Association.They have a list of many of the schools around Oregon especially Portland and surrounding areas.Important information to know is that all Montessori schools are not the same.When Maria Montessori wanted to copyright her work in the 1930's, she was told her philosophy was too wide spread, therefore anyone can call themselves a Montessori program.I just encourage parents to ask about accreditation, teacher training and go observe for yourself!My daughter began Montessori at 2 1/2. I think it is a great idea to begin observing at schools whenever the spirit moves you as it is an important choice no matter whether your child begins in and Infant /Toddler program or Primary (2/1/2 to 6)!Also, We are incredibly fortunate in this area to have an AMI Montessori teacher Training program which delivers many amazing teachers here and encourages fabulous schools.

Does anyone know of a Montessori program that starts after 10am? Or even an afternoon program. I have a sleepyhead that I think would enjoy a montessori program nonetheless.

If not, any suggestions as to a loving and secure afternoon preschool program?

I live in SW but I am more than willing to commute for the right program.

Thanks!

My 2 year old son Z attends the Motessori of Alameda on NE 42nd & Going. I cannot say enough positive things about the staff, facility and the children. My husband and I are former U.S. Attorneys who moved to Portland over 5 years ago. When we started to visit the various educational programs (throughout Portland/Beaverton, etc) for Z, we decided to allowed Z to make the selection himself. I think this is critical. Allow your child to select. Z is an energetic, happy and extermely bright little boy that needs room to grow. Not one of the many facilities that we visited could accommodate his spirit besides the Montessori of Alameda. The Montessori of Alameda is beautiful, full of bright windows for natural light with lovely courtyards for safe exploration (the children do not have to hold hands and travel to a nearby park to access nature). The staff is extraordinary and respects each child's spirit. Z has been enrolled at the Montessori of Alameda for almost 1 year and he speaks in complete sentences and is excited to see his friends at school everyday. When we interect with parents and children on the weekends, all the parents comment on Z's superior social skills and wonderful spirit. Why am I writing this long email? Because, it is critical that your child visit the facility and make the seletion him/herself irrelevent of cost or scheduling. I strongly recommend that you visit the Montessori of Alameda with your child -- within 5 seconds you will know if it is a good fit for your child. I would not wait -- the Montessori of Alameda is getting very popular fast. Good luck.

Just wanted to send a shout out about Montessori of Alameda. We moved from Vermont and my 4 year old daughter started there in September. It has been a pure joy to watch her flourish in their beautiful, peaceful environment. They are currently in the process of trying to become a Certified Montessori charter school....1st-8th grade, which is so exciting for the Portland area.

Diane

My little guy (18 months) has attended Montessori of Alameda since he was 13 months old. My husband took a year off work to spend with him during his first year. We were concerned that we wouldn't be able to find a place that 1) would care for him in a peaceful and respectful way, 2) would nurture his little person, 3) would take him without a lengthy waiting list, and 4) we could afford. We found all of this at Montessori of Alameda. I am so pleased with the location (lots of natural light in the building and protected courtyards), the staff (they are so patient, thoughtful and nurturing), and the development of my little guy. I attended Montessori as a child and remember fondly my time in a Montessori school. I'm so pleased that we were able to find a small school to nurture him and guide him on this incredible learning journey. I definitely suggest a visit. I think you'll really like what you see.

Just wanted to add.....I have to agree with the opinions of Montessori of Alameda parents. It really is a great place!
My daughter is working on her independence. She wants to do things on her own....yet she does not want me to leave her...ever!(this may be because baby sis came along or because she turned 3 years old!) I trust that she is in the right place. The staff has been very caring/helpful not just to my daughter, but to me, also.
If your looking for a Montessori program, look no further.

Childworks Montessori on SE Stark I think has afternoon classes.

I want to give a plug for Harmony Montessori. It is a certified eco-healthy environment, has a diverse student body and very low turnover with its teachers. The head teacher truly loves every child there. My son has been going there for 2 1/2 years and he has done remarkably well. My younger son will start there as soon as he's ready. Unlike a lot of other places we checked out, Harmony is SO FLEXIBLE when it comes to having your child stay late, come early, leave early, etc. It's a hidden gem in SE.

Oh, and since you wanted to hear the bad side of things, I visited the Earth School and found the classrooms to be much smaller than Harmony's. Also, the person giving me the tour was freaked out when my son started doing a puzzle, telling me how expensive it was. Wasn't it there to be played with?

Hi, I was wondering if someone could let me know the cost for full or half days at montessori of alameda. I have a 3yr old I would like to attend, but there website gives no information about tuition.

Thanks

Lydia,
I know that Harmony takes 2 1/2 year olds if they are toilet trained. Their teachers are great and very down to earth. I don't think they always have a waiting list--I think it might depend on the cycle of kids' ages moving up and out of the school. Check them out!

Amber,
Montessori of Alameda's website does post their rates...I believe it is under Enrollment. (which is several pages long)
I have 2 children there. a 4 year old 1/2 days is $400.00 and a 1 year old 1/2 days $550.00 per month.
Good luck to you.

I should have mentioned in my previous post--I don't have a child at Harmony, I just know the staff and the school very well. That being disclosed, they still are an excellent choice!

I believe Child's View Montessori (in SW) also enrolls children starting at 2-1/2 years old.

We are in the process of looking at preschools in the NE area for our son who will turn four in January. He is not flourishing in his present school, not a great teacher-student match. Does anybody know anything about Schoolita Alegria on NE 33rd? We checked it out and it seems like a stimulating, joyful,child-friendly environment, and we like the Spanish exposure. Any comments? We're looking for 3 mornings per week. Thank you!

A Beautiful Day Montessori is a new school in downtown Portland (SW 12th) in the Unitarian Church's new Buchan Building (an LEED certified green building). There are openings avaialable now and for fall 2008. No waiting list! Its an AMI program. The website is www.abeautifuldaymontessori.com

Does anyone have a child or info on West Hills Montessori Vermont campus? Thanks for any insight.

How do you know if Montessori is right for your child?
I'm not familiar with it although I am hoping to attend an open house soon. My husband attended a Montessori school and had to be removed because he required more structure.

k, I don't think you can really know if Montessori in general is right for your child. But you can get a fairly good idea about whether a particular school would be a good fit. I think it's the school and the teachers, far more than the overall philosophy, which are going to be the most important factor in your child's happiness.

Debra Montessori is selling montessori teaching materials @ 40% discount tell your kids schools or email me

Jo -
I'd like to hear more about Westside and your experience there.

I recently attended a Westside open house and found it to be a bit less than helpful. The guides seemed nice but scattered and couldn't answer a number of questions that some of the parents asked.

It was also a bit disconcerting that the first half of the open house involved a video. Is the television used at all for teaching in the classroom? It leads me to question, if they use tv to explain their program to parents they are trying to "sell", will they use it to teach my child?

I'm intrigued with the program but the open house had such an disorganized / unprepared feeling to it that a parent's opinion would be very helpful.

Our son attends Montessori of Alameda, and while we were initially happy there, things have changed. Yes, most of the staff are incredibly patient and lovely (particularly Erin and some of the new male staff), but turnover has been HIGH, HIGH, HIGH this year and has truly affected the children in our classroom. It is our feeling that they are trying to grow too quickly and without a solid blueprint...all of which is leading to staffing chaos. It's disturbing and we are currently looking for another alternative for our child. This was once a small, sweet school, and unfortunately appears to be hopping on the greedy business bandwagon. It's disappointing because much of the staff is wonderful and the space is gorgeous. I would not recommend this school to a friend under any circumstances.

My daughter started at Harmony Montessori in February of 2007 and our experience as a family at Harmony has been excellent.

The montessori method is woven firmly into a curriculum rich in earth and science studies, music and art. The mainstream academics are strong. My daughter is reading and writing and more importantly feels supported in her school environment, as such her intellectual and social life are going strong. I think that Harmony staff and community play a key role in this development and I stand by in awe and watch her transformation and growth.

I already have her enrolled for next year, and for part time summer camp too.

Would I recommend Harmony to another parent? Absolutely. I recommend that you visit and see for yourself.

Our son recently started at Cedar Montessori (Barbur and Terwilliger). It is a great, small in-home Montessori program where my son is thriving. He previously attended a Waldorf inspired daycare in NE (before we moved) that was a horrible experience for us. After that misery Cedar has been a welcome experience. Hilary, the owner and lead teacher, is warm, kind, patient and cool. The children go outside every day and are seemingly so advanced thanks to her adherence to Montessori philophies.

My daughter attended Prov. Montessori. Really good experience. We appreciated the institutional support behind the school - eg the Church. It wasn't a religious thing (we're not); it was a sense of permanence and strength. Other schools we attended (like International) just didn't have the institutional support and it showed in the infrastructure. Dirty and rundown facilities, etc. I truly appreciated the cleanliness and order of Providence. That's not something I would have known about myself before my first child came of school age. And I would echo the fact that people thought my kid was a genius, no thanks to us at all. The curriculum was amazing and my daughter took to it beautifully. She's now in second in the PPS system and covering work she did in her second year of pre-school at Montessori.

Prospective Montessori of Alameda parents beware: As seen elsewhere on this site and in other blogs, our two-plus years at MOA has shown that the staff are generally quite strong (though turnover continues to be a problem). However, the director (Tammy) has a profound difficulty creating an environment that embraces all members of the community with trust and respect. Rather than address the issue by creating structures and systems in the school that fosters collaboration, she pursues her ambitious agenda of expanding the facility, creating a Montessori training center, becoming an elementary-level Charter school, etc. She seems to have forgotten that her primary focus should be on the care and nuturing of her students and families. There is none of the sense of community that may be found in other Montessori schools. By way of illustration, as of today, the first page of MOA's website features an introduction to MOA. Tammy is mentioned by name TWELVE times. You won't find the names of any of her hardworking staff who are actually providing care for the children. That should speak volumes about how this organization is run. Beware...

Does anyone have any experience with Montessori's in Vancouver? Comments about Skinner Montessori Elementary? I was looking at MOA since they appear to be the only school with an infant program, but am concerned after the last post. Any other parent comments from MOA?

Prior to becoming a parent, I was an arts educator and we went to Skinner Montessori (in Vancouver) every year. We were always super impressed with the kids and warm, caring staff there - the kids asked the most thoughtful, inquisitive questions and had a calm confidence we didn't see anywhere else. The classrooms seemed really orderly and nice in a Montessori-kind of way (I went to Montessori as a child), as well. I always thought that I'd send my kids there if I had any. Now that I do have a little one, though, I live in SE and it's too far, but I'd certainly urge other parents to check it out!

As an Administrator at a School I look at these blogs and have to ask myself. With all the different philosophies of schools out there how does a new parent decide what is best for their child? One family might choose Reggio, another Waldorf and another Montessori. Choosing a school for your child is comparable to choosing a religion. Would a Christian choose a Jewish Church, most likely not. How about a Catholic an Adventist church? again not likely. If they toured these churches and did not like them would they blog about it negatively? In a world full of war, one has to ask themselves, " If we are not peaceful as adults how do we nuture peace in our children? Is blogging peaceful? A high school student told me last week in a conversation. "The internet is trash" You can put your self out there, but there is always going to be that one person who is going to be a critic". Then there is also the comment " Complaining is the nature of the human race." Something to think about...

On June 3rd & Feb 20th comments were made about Montessori of Alameda that I would like address. As far as all of the avenues of growth that the school is going through I would like to start with the addition. In our community there is a high need for quality education for our infants/toddlers. Without the addition all of our toddler families wouldn't have a place to graduate to and we wouldn't be able to provide our community with what they are telling us they need( a space for their child to attened!) If Tammy was truly greedy in this respect, she wouldn't be building rooms for your children over her parking spot :) As far as MOA becoming a Montessori training site, as of now Montessori accreditation has to be attained in Seattle Washington and is very difficult for staff to consider the once a month weekend trip. The idea for MOA to be a training site is to offer others in this area and our staff the opportunity to become Montessori accredited!This is all in efforts to REDUCE turnover by educating current staff and others interested so there isn't common misunderstandings of what it means to work in a Montessori school and what it means to be a Montessori guide! This is when I say it is often the parents need to TRUST administration with their choices in actions. They truly have the best interest of the students at Montessori of Alameda as their TOP priority! The addition is for them! The training is for them! The IVY school is obviously FOR THEM! Families would finally have the choice to have their children attend a Montessori public school! I would like to point out that in the current state of our country right now, I am inspired by the efforts for POSSITIVE growth! A positive future for students, families and staff! If you would like to read about the staff of MOA, just click on all about us!

The above submission is a classic illustration of the Montessori of Alameda's leadership style: A stubborn defensiveness that defies collaboration. They are always right; you are always wrong. Just once I would like to hear an apology, admission of failure, or acknowledgement of the rightness of a parent's alternative point of view. (Though I am pleased to note that director Tammy's name is now mentioned just nine times on MOA's web page!)

"TRUST administration"? The administration is charged with a most sacred of duties: Ensuring the care and nurturing of other people's children. How does a mama feel trust in an environment in which parents are treated with disrespect, where they encounter a dismissiveness that implies that the administration "knows best"? Oh, how I wish I could post the emails I've received that illustrate this point...

During our seveal years at MOA, we don't recall ever being asked whether we wanted any of the initiatives that are allegedly intended to serve us. If we'd been asked, we would have said that we just want our child to have a positive experience in his/her classroom. Simple as that. Our interest is in the growth of our child, not the school.

One final note: A school leader doesn't naively demand trust. He or she earns that trust by being an honest broker of information and service to children. We await that day.

Most likely why she was put off by it is because the materials in the classroom have a specific purpose...(and yes, most are very expensive)the children usually have "lessons or presentations" with materials first, so that 1. it is something developmentally appropriate for that child so they won't be frustrated 2. they can use it without damaging it and 3. so they can acheive what the material was intended for

However, they should have something available for visitors for when such situations arise...

ADVICE FOR PARENTS SEEKING MONTESSORI SCHOOLS, or any school that follows a particular philosophy (even Waldorf).

The Portland Metro area has an incredible selection of AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) Montessori schools. AMI holds the closest link to Dr. Maria Montessori and her philosophy.

As parents, please be aware that schools may use the Montessori name (or other philosophy names), and may look great in appearance, but might not not carry out the true philosophy, or do not hire AMI Montessori teachers, or have administrators that are not AMI trained or who have not taught the levels they are overseeing.

With AMS Montessori and some cheesy online trainings, you get the watering down (and lower quality) of the true Montessori theory and teaching styles.

As parents, look for credentials, talk with the admin and teachers about their philosophies, training, and vision. Look for a Mission Statement for the school. Is there garden space? Do Outings occur for the older kids? Do the children have access to the outside? Do the children appear to have real freedom of movement and freedom of thought (not always having to go to teacher to solve something or make a decision)?

Visit. Observe. Interview.
Just some food for thought for this major decision.
Blessings

My daughters attend the Montessori Earth School and we all LOVE it! They are really focused on the environment, peace education, gardening, and all the regular things that makes Montessori such a wonderful place to learn and grow. Whenever I attend a parent education night or observe in the classrooms, I feel absolutely positive that I made the right decision to send them there. I only wish I could have attended when I was a kid!

um, Dharma,
my husband is AMS certified and went to school intensively for a year plus interning under wonderful experts to learn proper and real montessori training. to equate that with "cheesey and watered down" and some kind of mail in/internet certificate is disrespectful, elitist and arrogant. WHY is there such a need on the part of some (certainly not all) AMI educators to assert petty superiority over AMS? it is quite immature and really i was stunned to discover this behavior in adult professionals. wow.

My children went to Harmony and really grew from the experience. The teachers all became like family. It has a widely diverse population - socially, ethnically, economically and is very earth centered. It also had a very calm and caring atmosphere. As my daughters grew older I thought about enrolling them in Franciscan Montessori Earth School - I had heard so many good things about it. I also applied as an assistant at the same time. I changed my mind when I got a call back at 7:30 in the morning on a Sunday to come in for an interview. . .that just seemed inappropriate to me.

We had a horrible time at Puddletown and had to pull a very unhappy child who had come not to trust his instinct to play. It was not a joyful and positive place. Preschool is about a love of school- playing with others and vrooming cars on the floor- not sitting in a chair waiting for a snack table to become available, hushed tones of voice, and practicing how to walk down a hall instead of going outside that day. A later educator who loved, played and nurtured my child back to himself noted that "someone really damaged his sense of self at that place". A Montessori expert we know will not endorse it. My child, now a happy and well adjusted kid at one of the top private schools in Portland, still talks about how horrid it was. Sorry for the slam, but it was really pretty dismal of an experience.

I love Puddletown! My child grew into a self aware, independent person there. I know there were some parents there that were very uppity and didn't understand the philosophy at all! If you are interested in Montessori go check out some schools. Observe and ask plenty of questions. Talk to other parents who are currently enrolled. The negative comments made about any of the above schools are unfair. Puddletown has a great reputation for such a young school and many families that have sent younger siblings after their older child graduated and moved on.

When looking for a school for our child we visited a lot of schools. I never knew there were that many out there. We also did a lot of research on the schools on and offline. Montessori school was a great fit with our childs needs. Each and every child will and does have needs. Not all schools work for every child. We went to Puddletown for three years. It was amazing to see our child learning and growing in that enviroment. All of the faculty was fantastic and Puddletown is a great school that nurtured our childs needs in a natural way. Give them a call and setup a observation.

The original request for posts on this thread is for folks who have had negative experiences at a particular school. One has to note that this one-sidedness would only express singular views and experiences that may hamper an objective decision-making process.

That being said, I want help readers put in balance Jennifer's self-labeled slam of Puddletown school posted on November 18. I have no direct experiences or knowledge of Jennifer or her child and therefore will not be adding any personal biases, only relating my own experiences at Puddletown as compared to hers.

The care, love, respect and knowledge our son received in his three years of attendance at Puddletown are an experience that defies words. Each moment I spent at Puddletown was in awe, as I witnessed the magic of it's teachers, assistants, administrator, and of the children who were all on the continuum of "teach me to do it myself".

Jennifer's post notes the times her child spent waiting for snack, so that other children could finish their turn. She notes the times her child was asked to speak in hushed tones, just loud enough for polite conversation with friends seated close. Her child also practiced how to walk quietly and calmly down a hall, so that others could safely travel to the playground. Each scene is consistent with the profound teachings and care that my own son received in learning to become an independent thinker in a community of children doing the same.

Do take the time to visit Puddletown, meet it's staff and see the children in work, and you will gain much more insight than myself or other writers can give you. I guarantee it will be time well-spent. We are very lucky in our community to have dedicated adults that guide our children with such gifted and eloquently-framed expertise. Puddletown School is no exception.

www.puddletownschool.com

I do understand why some people have posted negative comments since the original post asked for them, but I imagine that anyone now visiting this post several years later is looking for information about Montessori Schools and I'd love to counter a few of Jennifer's points about Puddletown, where my daughter is in her second year, and mention them in the larger context of what to expect from a Montessori school. If you send your child to Montessori hoping they will spend time 'vrooming cars around the floor,' I'm afraid you've made the wrong decision not just with the school, but with the philosophy. I can't think of a Montessori school anywhere that has cars, nor many other materials for imaginative play that you'll find in more common types of preschools. What you will find in Montessori schools are very deliberately designed materials that have been in use for over a century. You will find a quiet (but not hushed or silent) environment where children are both respectful of the other learners in the room and genuinely engaged in their own work. You will find children applying their imaginations in ways that you may not at first recognize until you really observe what they do and how they do it. At Puddletown specifically and at most Montessori schools I've visited, you will find children who go outside every day rain or shine to play on the playground or walk in nature or tend the garden. You may find children waiting for their turn at a snack table because part of what they learn at school is inhibitory control, an essential component in developing the brain's executive function. To learn about why that's important to young children's brain development and academic achievement, I strongly recommend a really wonderful Speaking of Faith interview with developmental cognitive neuroscientist Adele Diamond:
http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/2009/learning-doing-being/
The interview has nothing to do with Montessori, but I think you'll find that what scientists are learning about the brain and how humans learn best is very in keeping with many things Maria Montessori observed in children over a hundred years ago. We are lucky to have so many wonderful Montessori Schools in Portland, due in part to Montessori Institute Northwest and its excellent teacher training program. I am happy to say that we have found Puddletown to be a joyful and thoughtful learning environment for our child, and we hope other families looking for eastside Montessori schools will visit to see it for themselves.

My daughter is a Puddletown graduate and I couldn't possibly express how grateful I am to the teachers and founders of Puddletown for how well they nurtured her love of learning and exploration, her sense of self, and her relationship with the world around her. As a single parent, I also received tremendous support from the teachers, valuable insights about my child and the sense that we were a team devoted to her well-being. We've been in the public schools for two years now and it's clear that the educational and social foundations my daughter received at Puddletown have prepared her for academic success, a love of learning and play, and a gift for friendship. For us, Puddletown was a great experience and I would definitely recommend a site observation to any parent looking for a good Montessori pre-school.

Puddletown has been the absolute right choice for both my kids. When my younger child was ready for preschool i visited many many local preschools of all kinds of early childhood education philosophies (waldorf, reggio-emilia, montessori, among others) as well as more mainstream just plain old playtime preschools, and some co-ops (my older child also attended a great local preschool co-op before Puddletown, so he got in that great social play for play's sake time as a toddler too). My older son spent 3 full years at Puddletown, and is now doing great in his 1st grade year at one of Portland's Public Schools, and my younger child is loving his time at Puddletown now. The school environment at Puddletown has nurtured my children and prepared them in numerous wonderful ways for a fully creative, independent, social, inquisitive, caring, and fun life! It is the teachers' great balance of acceptance of all children to simply be who they are, combined with their necessity to work within the boundaries of the montessori philosophy (seeing as it is a montessori school), that creates a successful classroom and makes them a beautiful and strong educational environment among preschools in Portland.

Jennifer, please produce the name of the "Montessori expert" that says "vrooming cars" is an acceptable activity for a Montessori school.

You know, I've tried to stay out of this because it seems as though alot of these Montessori conversations involve personal agendas, but I can't hold my tongue any longer. Not a one of you are making any Montessori program sound that exciting in my mind, the mother of two young boys who find driving cars around to be a pretty fun activity. I thought the preschool years were a time of play and enjoyment? This is all sounding a bit dreary and bleak to me. I don't think you're saying much that paints the philosophy in a good light.

Montessori is not for every family. Vrooming cars is a wonderful thing to do if that is what your child is interested in doing. It seems that the argument is less about how appropriate vrooming cars is, and more about choosing the right school for you and your family. If you choose Montessori, are upset that there are no cars for vrooming, and then write a harsh critique of the school, some clarity is needed about why you were dissatisfied. For parents who want a place where the education is designed to guide children on their journey of inner construction while nurturing, loving, and laughing with them as they grow from childhood to maturity, then please consider Montessori as one of many educational models.

Yes, just to clarify, the car vrooming statement in my post was intended to highlight that Jennifer's expectations of what preschool kids should be doing at school seemed inconsistent with her choice and therefore the criticism of the school was unfair. It only takes one look at a Montessori classroom to see that they are different from typical preschools, and it seems you'd ask a few questions about that or read about the philosophy before selecting it for your child. It would be like me sending my daughter to a Waldorf school and criticizing them for not explicitly teaching her to read by kindergarten or first grade--the problem would not be with the school, it would be that I expected something not in line with the philosophy and timeline of Waldorf.

I certainly have nothing against toy cars, we have several in our house! And plenty of fantasy dress up, too, and fairy tales, none of which you will find in a Montessori school. But I am happy that our home is a wonderful place to play with those things and that my daughter has other equally wonderful and different experiences at school, experiences and materials that I could not provide for her at home. If you are curious about where the joy is in Montessori, I encourage you to visit a school. Choose an accredited school with a good reputation. I assure that if you look with an open mind and genuine curiosity, you will find plenty of joy.

My son went to Puddletown Montessori School for three years and it was an absolutely wonderful experience for both my son as a child/student and me as a parent! He did learn to be patient, gentle, and respectful, but his creativity and energetic spirit were in no way ever suppressed or discouraged. He was allowed to explore things in a natural way that nurtured his curiosity and developed his ability to be more independent and self-confident. By his third year, he was acting as a leader and role model for the newer, younger children. The level of community that was fostered at Puddletown was truly heartwarming and we have remained in contact with the teachers there as well as many of the families. My son is now in third grade and excels in school academically and socially because he was provided such an outstanding foundation at Puddletown. If they continued into Elementary School, we would still be attending there! No school experience for my son since Puddletown has even come close in terms of the warm, nurturing environment, the thoughtful engaging curriculum, and the caring, professional teachers there. I highly recommend Puddletown School!

If you are committed to and serious about Montessori education for your child, Montessori of Alameda is NOT a school you choose. Yes, there are a few good guides there, and the set-up is beautiful. However, the owner/administrator (Tammy) for the school completely ignores the concept of Montessori community and does not involve parents in any decision-making process that affect their children.
I also found out that a majority of staff there have no Montessori education or educational background. Interesting thing is that Tammy can now certify her own staff, some of whom don't even have a high school diploma, as AMS certified guides, so she won't have that stigma for much longer.
With the Montessori Institute Northwest, AMI teacher training school in Portland, there are many solid, reputable AMI accredited schools in town you can choose from. Montessori of Alameda is basically a daycare with Montessori in their name with some Montessori practices.

My daughter is in her first year at a Montessori preschool. She seems to be doing well and we plan to continue her there for the full three year program.

My question is - what next? All you parents of graduated preschoolers, where did you send your child? I read a few comments about children now enrolled in public school. Can you tell me why, if you were so enamored of the Montessori preschool your child attended, did you choose to leave the Montessori system?

I understand that expense is an issue, as is availability and location (with so many preschools there is bound to be one near you. Not necessarily so with elementary and secondary programs), but I'd love to hear from parents about their choices, and whether or not they've been happy with those choices. In a perfect world where would your child be now?

Thanks for any insight!

Montessori of Alameda has been in business since 1991. Montessori of Alameda Guides have Bachelor's Degrees and a Montessori Credential. In some cases a Master's Degree. All of the staff including aides have a high school diploma. Montessori of Alameda is a Montessori Teacher Education Program and is a licensed career school in Oregon. Montessori of Alameda is an authentic Montessori school practicing Peace education and respect for others. It looks to me like this is an ad for a non peaceful Montessorian who does not practice the philosophy that they "pretend" to speak. Of all they Montessori Schools in Portland only a few are officially AMI schools. Montessori of Alameda is an AMS school. Check out the AMI web-site www.montessori-ami.org

Oregon
Montessori Schools CORVALLIS MONTESSORI SCHOOL Corvallis OR USA Recognized for ages: 3 - 6+
Montessori Schools CHILDPEACE MONTESSORI SCHOOL Portland OR USA Recognized for ages: 0 - 12
Montessori Schools CHILDPEACE MONTESSORI SCHOOL Portland OR USA Recognized for ages: 3 - 6+
Montessori Schools MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF BEAVERTON Portland OR USA Recognized for ages: 3 - 12
Montessori Schools SUNSTONE MONTESSORI SCHOOL Portland OR USA Recognized for ages: 3 - 6+
Montessori Schools SUNSTONE MONTESSORI SCHOOL Portland OR USA Recognized for ages: 6 - 12
Montessori Schools WHOLE CHILD MONTESSORI CENTER, INC. Portland OR USA Recognized for ages: 3 - 6+
Montessori Schools SUNGARDEN MONTESSORI CENTER West Linn OR USA Recognized for ages: 3 - 6+


Montessori of Alameda is on the AMS website:
MONTESSORI OF ALAMEDA (Initiate Member School)
4210 N.E. Going
PORTLAND 97218
85 Students 3 Months – 9 Years Old
Mrs. Tammy Kennedy
~503/335-3321 (Fax, same) September-June, Summer Program-Yes
E-mail: tammy@montessoriofalameda.com
Web: www.montessoriofalameda.com
Programs: Spanish , Musikarten & Art

So now the big question? What is the difference between AMI and AMS?

It is similar to asking What is the difference between Stanford and Yale?

A. Both are great schools and one is not better than the other.

PEACE

I know this school and Tammy, In 2007 Tammy was awarded "Most Dedicated Montessorian by the Oregon Montessori Association. She opened a Teacher Education Program, started a charter school= The Ivy Montessori Public Charter School, added 4 classrooms to her existing Montessori of Alameda School. (Which serves 170 children) and has a waiting list. Now, she is working on opening a sliding scale program for low income families. Looks to me like she is doing alot of good work in Portland. I am an AMI guide and plan to interview with Tammy. I hear she is awesome to work with and really supports her staff, families and the children who attend her programs.

I would like to hear what this AMI person has to say about a Public Montessori School that is sponsored by the State Department of Education. I suppose that is just childcare as well? By the way if you look on both Montessori of Alameda's web-site and The Ivy School you will see they hire both AMI and AMS guides.

The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) was established in 1929 by Maria Montessori and was guided for more than 50 years by her son and close collaborator, Mario M. Montessori. AMI's objective is to uphold and safeguard the quality of Montessori training and the passing on of Maria Montessori's heritage through her educational philosophy and methodology, including the materials and their presentation.

The American Montessori Society (AMS) is a nonprofit education society founded in 1960 whose purpose is to help children develop their fullest potential through the educational principles of Maria Montessori. This includes the following: developing Montessori programs, accrediting schools, granting credentials, encouraging research, organizing seminars and symposia, and all other areas which relate to the dissemination of Montessori philosophy.

My son is currently thriving in a 3-6 classroom at Montessori of Alameda. I plan to send all three of my children there for 3-6, then hopefully continue with Montessori at The Ivy School. If we don't get in because of the lotto, we'd research our other Montessori options.

I have a masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction, my Oregon Teaching Credential, as well as my 6-9 and 9-12 AMS Credentials. When I toured Montessori of Alameda, I was immediately impressed with how beautiful the school is, but I was even more impressed with how kind the teachers were to the students.

My experience at Montessori of Alameda has been very positive. More importantly, my son's experience at Montessori of Alameda has been very positive.

We have had a wonderful experience at Providence Montessori. Our daughters have been there for the past year and are thriving in so many ways. Its an incredible community of caring and very experienced guides, administration, and enrichment program teachers. We love so much about this school- including the incredible consistency of the staff (our Guides have been there for over 5 and 10 years, unlike high turnover at many preschools), the positive and loving/nurturing environment, and GREAT for working families in terms of flexible camp and summer options, etc. They are having an Open House on Saturday, Jan. 22 from 11-1 for Fall enrollment.
www.providence.org/montessori
4911 NE Couch St.
503-215-2409

I have my daughter at Providence Montessori School and also love the guides and the staff. They care very much for the children and form a great community with families and parents. The school also has a Parent Advisory Board which serves to promote family involvement and support the school.

I also feel strongly about staff consistency since our previous school, Montessori of Alameda, had a very high turn-over rate of guides and staff. The feel of the school was entirely different since it was run as a business to make money, rather than a non-profit organization focused on servicing children.

Montessori Children's House is a brand-new school in Portland's South Waterfront neighborhood, easily accessible by all of Portland's amazing public transportation systems. Visit http://childrenshousepdx.com/ for more information.

Montessori Children's House is currently enrolling in both the Toddler (15 months -- 36 months) and Primary (3-6 years) communities!!

MCH is hosting two upcoming Open Houses: Tuesday, March 29th from 6-8PM and Sunday, April 3 from 11AM-3PM. See our post on urbanmamas (http://www.urbanmamas.com/childcare/2011/03/montessori-childrens-house-open-house-march-29-and-april-3.html) for more information. ALL ARE WELCOME!

MCH is located at 3626 SW Bond Ave, Portland OR, 97239.

email: info@childrenshousepdx.com

phone: 503.360.1179

CONTACT US TODAY!

Montessori Children's House is a brand-new school in Portland's South Waterfront neighborhood, easily accessible by all of Portland's amazing public transportation systems. Visit http://childrenshousepdx.com/ for more information.

Montessori Children's House is currently enrolling in both the Toddler (15 months -- 36 months) and Primary (3-6 years) communities!!

MCH is hosting two upcoming Open Houses: Tuesday, March 29th from 6-8PM and Sunday, April 3 from 11AM-3PM. See our post on urbanmamas ( http://www.urbanmamas.com/childcare/2011/03/montessori-childrens-house-open-house-march-29-and-april-3.html ) for more information. ALL ARE WELCOME!

MCH is located at 3626 SW Bond Ave, Portland OR, 97239.

email: info@childrenshousepdx.com

phone: 503.360.1179

CONTACT US TODAY!

Great Urban Montessori Preschool. Given our family are new to Portland this was a jewel of a find for a Montessori preschool. The school is new too (opened Sep 2010). I am most impressed by the qualified and experienced Montessori Guides, the cleanliness of the classrooms, healthy menu options and regular teacher-parent consultation opportunities. My son started in the younger toddler class half day, four days a week with a wonderfully caring teacher (Venus) whom he still talks about. He potty trained successfully and demonstrated readiness and moved to the primary class half way through the school year. This transition was well managed. He loves his school and friends, his social competency has improved and he remains emotionally well engaged. His younger brother is due to start at the school soon too. I feel confident that the care of my children are the highest priority for the staff and that is why I am happy to recommend Montessori Children's House highly to all parents interested in a montessori early education for their children.

I just wanted to give a former students perspective of Montessori. My little sister, little brother, and I all went to Providence Montessori from ages 2 1/2-6 and we all loved it. I am now 29 (my siblings are 18 and 13) and I know that when I have children I will also send them to a Montessori program for as long as I possibly can. I went to a catholic school after Providence, and wish I could've stayed at a Montessori school until 8th grade. I entered first grade with a sixth grade reading level and began to slack due to boredom. My little sister went to a public school after Providence and was able to skip a grade due to their superior teaching methods. All teachers should be taught the Montessori method in my opinion. I know this may not help in your decision because it was so long ago, but I have fond memories of my time there and wanted to share. :-)

I have a feeling that if Montessori is the right fit for your family there are a lot of good schools to choose from in Portland. We ended up at Harmony five years ago with my son, who is now at Earth School, primarily due to the location and cost. Like most of the people above, we love where we ended up. My daughter is now starting her second year at Harmony and I wouldn’t have her anywhere else. Harmony is our community and has given our family so much. Despite being such a wonderful school Harmony rarely had a waitlist and I know there are openings for the 2011-2012 school year.

I feel compelled to respond to the earlier post from a parent about what happens after the Montessori preschool experience. Our daughter is now in her 3rd year (i.e., in 3rd grade)in the Elementary program at Providence Montessori school after attending a Montesori preschool in a different state. As we watched our daughter develop a deep love of learning and sense of ownership in her work during preschool, we knew that we had to explore the option of an Elementary Montessori education. As you know, the Montessori approach to education is different from the more traditional, linear curriculums many of us experienced in conventional schools. There is no single, pre-determined path through the field of knowledge in a Montessori classroom. Instead, children who are given the full six years of elementary classroom experiences blaze their own paths through academic learning, social growth, and personal development. Ultimately, they learn all the topics that would be ‘covered’ in a traditional linear curriculum, but there is a qualitative difference in that they own their learning, both in timing and depth. Nothing has been crammed or forced upon them and then, because it has no personal meaning, been immediately forgotten. Instead, each child has a personal relationship with what they have learned; the knowledge is theirs. The end result is a young adolescent who has acquired the skills, knowledge, and self-confidence necessary for growth and development in the next stage of life.
So, to our friends and family who ask us "What happens when she can no longer choose her own work, or has to sit in a desk and listen to a teacher teach?" We reply that when that time comes, she will have the skills to make sense of her learning, the motivation to be responsible for her work, an understanding of her place in her classroom and the larger community along with the knowledge and skills to be successful in a more traditional school setting. Frankly, we (and she) hope that that day is still a few years away, but whenever it happens, she will be ready for that new adventure.

Providence Montessori is wonderful. I just enrolled my third child in their program after my two older ones had such great experiences. Providence Montessori has taught my children valuable life skills, lifetime friendships, and stellar academics - all setting my kids up to excell in elementary school. We have had kind, nurturing guides (teachers) that allow creative independence but they run a tight ship - focus on your work, help others, clean up when you're done, treat others kindly, follow directions, and be proud of your accomplishments.

The tuition is fair - definitely not cheap, but you will find that with Portland preschools, you get what you pay for. That is the case with Providence Montessori.

It is really important to visit and observe each school and classroom you consider. There are varying degrees of quality, and some schools use the Montessori name, but are not true to the core values. Interview the Admin, look for a Mission Statement, the credentials of the teachers - AMI and AMS. All other trainings that one school in the NE uses is a bogus online training. Montessori has strong deeply historical rooted values, and you might as well get your money's worth if you are paying a tuition.

What do Montessori parents think of the new position statement that has been published by the AMS regarding technology now being taught in Montessori schools.? Do parents agree or disagree?
Here is the link to the statement

http://www.tjleone.com/ams_technology_position_statement.pdf

Hi Everyone! Our family is planning to relocate to Portland from the UK. Our daughter attends a Montessori nursery here that she loves, and so we are looking for a right fit in Portland. The schools we've looked into have larger classrooms and fewer teachers than we are used to -- 20 kids with 2 teachers. The school she attends now has 13-15 kids in the class with 3 teachers. The individual attention she gets is great. Does anyone know of any Montessori Schools, or other great pre-schools with smaller class size or teacher/student ratio? Thanks for any ideas!

Our family of 3 moved our daughter from the convenience of a pre-school right next to my work to Harmony Montessori. This transition was hard on us but also the very best thing for our high energy, intense girl.

We know a few things about our child's personality that helped us make the decision to move to a Montessori education from a general pre-school. 1) Since she is an only child, she often looks up to and rises to the occasion of older children's challenges/knowledge/etc. 2) She is a strong personality with leadership traits, but without some equally strong expectations and well-laid-out/ understood rules, she will lead others in not-so-good directions. 3) We wanted positive opportunities for our girl, rather than ongoing behavior reports.

We have become full aficionados of Harmony Montessori, its commitment to international diversity in their school and the Montessori philosophy, particularly for our daughter. 1) She has benefitted from the sharing of knowledge by older children at Harmony but _every day_ she has the opportunity to gain, increase and solidify her OWN knowledge. This is of monumental importance. 2) Mentorship of classmates, whether younger, same age or older children, is another every day opportunity; she loves to mentor younger classmates, is gentle with and kind to them. 3) Except during the time of transition (for both Mama and child, especially), we don't receive _nearly_ the number of behavioral reports we have in the past because she is so, so busy learning and growing, mentoring and teaching that she does not have time to misbehave.

Our household members are true believers in Harmony - and we plan to keep her in Montessori for the rest of her elementary school years (thank goodness Harmony starts their expansion into 1st grade fall 2013!).

Looking for an ALTERNATIVE, Non-Faith Based Lower Elementary Montessori? Harmony Montessori will be opening a Lower Elementary program in the fall as they move to their new Mall 205 location - 10525 SE Cherry Blossom Drive. My son, an Alumni from the HMS Children's House, returned to Harmony this summer to attend the Elementary Summer Camp with the new Lower Elementary teacher, Millie. He loves Millie's friendly, genuine nature and all the fun activities she dreams up [making snow globes, tie-dye shirts, and weekly field trips]. She is truly a wonderful, patient guide for the elementary children and a great addition to the remarkable teachers at HMS.

I am a parent of a former Sunstone student, who is definitely better for having been at the school for 3 years. He now is curious child who questions the why behind instructions, not just blindly follows. The parent education offerings along the way helped me become a better parent--more patient and honoring of his intentions, not just wanting him to conform to a traditional rote-memorization model of education. I would recommend Sunstone to anyone wanting quality education with thoughtful and caring teachers.

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