Hi there --
We are having an inordinately hard time deciding between two Montessori schools and our local public, traditional, but well-loved by our neighbors, school.
School Number 1 - A very fancy Montessori school with dual language immersion in each classroom. They also have a fine arts curriculum that is fantastic and Kodalay music. They implement a full Montessori program and are AMI affiliated. It is about 25 minutes from our home and most of the kids who go to school there live in the city where the school is. It is a beautiful school, with lovely light, they keep the materials in great condition. All the way through upper elementary the kids seemed to be deeply engaged in interesting work. It goes through 8th grade. I really like the school.
But it is very expensive and we have 3 kids. We can afford the school by making some significant cuts and sticking to a budget, but I worry that in the current economic environment and with uncertainly it is foolish to spend so much money on a school. Also, it seems like we would be much less connected with the community where we live.
School Number 2 -- A lovely and very small Montessori school. They have Spanish, art, etc, but it is not as much a part of the program as it is at school number 1. It is not as beautiful a school, but still nice. There is only one primary, lower elementary and upper elementary. The primary teacher has been a Montessori teacher for 30 years and seems to truly love her work. I have heard raves about the lower elementary teachers, too.
After looking at school number 1, it seems kind of rinky dink. But I really liked it before I saw school number 1.
It is about 30 minutes away, but many of the kids live 30 minutes away from the school in the other direction from us. So potentially the kids could have friends who live an hour away. I am honestly not too willing to drive an hour on the weekends for a playdate when we'll be spending so much time in the car anyway. I mean birthday parties, etc, sure, but not so much for the can Phoebe come over and play kind of thing.
Also, we have twins and this means they would be in the same class through grade 6 with only about 18 other students in their class, maybe 2 or 3 their exact age.
This school seems like a solid, basic Montessori program. It is less than half as much as fancy school. Forgot to add, they are AMS affiliated, but also seem to implement a full Montessori program. The office staff are very kind and the director of the school also has twins who went through there, so she gets the twin thing.
Public School -- Though I put zero stock in test scores, this is a highly rated public school. We live in a suburb where people move here specifically for the schools. That means virtually everyone attends public school. I get the sense that they're actually good public schools and not into rote memorization, but still it is a public school with tests, traditional academics and a curriculum set by the state. But the kids would have local friends and it has a strong sense of community involvement. People seriously love this school and seem puzzled by the fact that we'd look elsewhere. To the school's credit, they have developed a very innovative creative writing program, when they kids read, they are reading real books, not primers, at their own reading level and per their own interest. So it's not a bad public school at all.
Help! What do you think? Sorry this is so long, but we've honestly been going back and forth. Up till a week or so ago, I was dead set against public school, but have been concerned about the social aspects of going to school away from our area.
SAHM to F & P, : fraternal twins born 3/05, : I, born 12/07 & at 5 weeks in July 2009