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My Own Montessori (Oakland, CA)

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Preschools & Daycare > My Own Montessori (Oakland, CA)



May 2012

I was told that there weren't many recent reviews of My Own Montessori on BPN and I wanted to make sure that interested parents have recent information that can help them in this process. It is a wonderful school. My son, now 6 and in kindergarten, went there for two years. He thrived in their environment.

It is a wonderful blend of Montessori with the ability to play freely as well. They have a great outdoor space that is open to the children to use whenever they want. Many schools have structured indoor time and outdoor time and I really like that kids at M.O.M. can decide for themselves whether they want to do ''work'' inside or play on the play structure or ride around in the vehicles, or use the art room or whatever fits for their mood at the time.

The ''work'' that they do is amazing. They have a different theme every year and last year the theme was geography. My son brought home amazing maps of all of the continents that he made . Even though he is almost through his first year of kindergarten the maps still hold a prominent place on his walls. He is so proud of them and he learned so much about the world during that year.

The teachers are very warm and caring and knowledgeable about how to work with each child to bring out the best in them and help them navigate their world.

My two year old will be starting in the fall and I am really looking forward to being back there again with him.

I agree with the comments of the other post regarding parent community. There are fewer events and parent activities than at some other schools. That said, though, I organized weekly summer get-togethers with other parents and kids from the school when we were at school there and so any parent that wants to reach out to other parents can do so if they want to.

I highly recommend the school. Sharie


May 2012

Where do I begin? This school is fantastic. I evaluated dozens of preschools before settling on MOM, and I've never looked back. I'm consistently amazed with the quality of the curriculum, the effectiveness of the learning materials, and the genuine interest each and every teacher has in my child. Not only has my 5-year old learned to read and write here, he's also learned to respect other children, socialize at lunchtime, concentrate on tasks, and make friends. At the outset of my preschool search, I was set on a play-based program. Having sent two very different children through MOM, I'm now a Montessori promoter. Both of my boys skip into school, excited to play with the new ''works,'' which are always kept fresh at MOM. Montessori ''works'' are so appealing and fun to children, and each one has a learning purpose. My son is building Roman Arches, writing his own stories, putting together little books, dissecting flowers, and creating pictures with beads. That said, he also gets plenty of time to dig in the sandbox, ride bikes, and play on the ''pirate ship'' play structure. Both my boys are so happy to go to school every day, and I know they are reaching their full potential at MOM. MOM has a new theme every year, and they teach the theme (botany this year) with a hands-on curriculum that includes art, music, books and food. Parents often contribute to the theme with their own presentations. The facilities are top-notch. There is an entire room dedicated to art, as well as a large outdoor space with a garden, play structure, bikes, a well-loved sandbox, and a play kitchen. Each child has an elaborate, meaningful birthday celebration, which is especially impressive. Children learn life skills at MOM, like how to respect each others work, how to join in on play, how to clean up after themselves, and how to choose activities that interest them. I have no doubt my son will be ready for Kindergarten next year. More importantly, I feel like I've given him an incredible gift by sending him to MOM. MOM Fan


Sept 2011

The most recent reviews for My Own Montessori preschool in Rockridge are from 2005. Can anyone provide any more recent feedback on the school? It seems like a great place with a nice balance of structure and freedom, but parent involvement seems more limited than at other schools. How do you know that it's the right fit for your child? Do you wait and see how your kid responds? To current parents of the school: do your kids come home happy and tired? Looking into Preschools


We love My Own Montessori. The ''work'' (remember, it's a Montessori) the kids do is amazing. I was a parent who was much more interested in my daughter exploring the world creatively and socially, and yet I loved the focus of a Montessori, but I've been so pleasantly surprised by how much my daughter has learned there! The curriculum is incredibly well thought out, the teachers are constantly bringing in new activities, the art projects are relevant to what they're learning and very creative, and I love that the children have all the traditional Montessori activities, but are also allowed to run and around and play on the play structure if they want.

The teachers are also excellent. I love how the teachers treat the children respectfully and really encourage them to work things our for themselves. I will say this took a little getting used to. The teachers are very warm and loving, but they really see the kids as capable of great self discipline and direction and they don't coddle them. This doesn't mean there aren't plenty of hugs (if needed), encouragement, and attention, but I do that think if you have a child that needs a lot of hand holding there may be a better fit out there for you, but again, there is plenty of warmth and affection. My daughter had a rough transition and I felt she was well taken care of.

As for parent involvement, I'd say there's not as much social involvement as some other schools (I know schools that do camping trips, etc, etc and there's none of that), but there are workdays and back to school/end of school parties, and everyone is very friendly. Also, the parents do seem VERY involved in the school itself. Last year, there was a global peoples theme and many, many parents came in to talk about a country they are from or have visited, and various parents are always there reading stories, helping with field trips, etc, etc. But there isn't a strong family social element.

The other thing I've loved about the school is I really feel my daughter can get 3 years out of it. They allow children so many opportunities to work at different levels, and every year is a different theme.

My daughter is really looking forward to starting again this year. All in all, we've been very happy there, and I would highly recommend the school. Pleased Parent


March 2005

I would like to hear parents' recent experiences with My Own Montessori School in Rockridge. I'm looking for feedback on the school in general, teaching philosophy, extra-curricular programs including music, languages, fieldtrips. thanks! Amy


We have 2 children going to M.O.M. They both love the school and so do we. They are learning so many things--geography, spelling, numbers. They come home singing new songs all the time. They have made many great friends. Most importantly,the school is doing an excellent job teaching my very outgoing children healthy boundaries and good social skills. You are welcome to email me with any further questions. Jodi
My son has been attending My Own Montessori school five mornings a week since last September, and he loves it. My younger boy will join him there two days a week starting next Fall. I didn't know much about Montessori before having kids, but I'm really impressed by how well all the elements of it work in practice at M.O.M. -- mixing different ages together in the same class, letting the children structure their own time and choose their own activities, having Montessori-trained teachers and Montessori ''manipulatives.'' (When my son first visited the school he thought they had the coolest toys ever, and now he knows to call them ''works'' but his enthusiasm is stronger than ever!)

You asked about music, languages, field-trips -- The kids sing songs at Circle Time every morning when they arrive and again at the post-lunch pre-pickup Circle Time. There is also a Montessori-trained music teacher who comes on Wednesdays and brings rhythm instruments. One of the teachers does a little Spanish once a week, and there is a smattering of lots of languages because this year's theme is ''geography and peoples of the world.'' I had wondered how you could possibly do a theme like that with 2- to 5-year-olds, but my kid brings home roller-print pictures of islands, straits and peninsulas (he can pronounce isthmus a lot better than I can!), and he tells us about Chinese writing, Persian New Year, Spanish dancing...

There's a field trip to a pumpkin patch every autumn, and that was fun, but field trips are challenging when everyone is carseat age. Other field trips are on foot around the neighborhood -- to the Rockridge Library, and a tour of a student's house across the street that was under construction.

When I visited the school this morning, I was amazed to see how many art projects were available all at the same time: poster painting on an easel, making an Easter basket scene with a roller and sponge paints, glitter play dough, 3-D collages with a variety of objects, watercolor paints, simple paper puppets, and decorating a paper oval Easter egg by rolling a marble wet with paint around the inside of a tub. Some kids did one or two projects and then went out to the playground, while others wanted to do art all morning, which you're welcome to do there. And it never got chaotic because the kids (with occasional gentle prompting from the teachers) know how to take turns and clean up after themselves with sponges and towels. In the end, your child's preschool experience depends upon the teachers, and the teachers at M.O.M. are incredibly patient, warm-hearted, smart, well-educated, dedicated and enthusiastic. Jennifer


Nov 2002

Hi, I'd love to know what people think of My Own Montessori in Rockridge. I'd especially appreciate hearing about your experiences there. Is it ''too'' Montessori? Are the kids given warmth, love and freedom as well as order and education? Thanks!


My daughter started My Own Montessori this summer and is now going every day. so far so good--she loves it and we do too. I went to visit many pre-schools prior to choosing M.O.M. and this was just right for us. Some of the other Montessori schools I saw looked like they had turned the kids into Stepford children--just a wee- bit too behaved for me. My daughter is a sponge right now and is just learning new things constantly. For her, it's definately the perfect mix of structure & freedom. hope this helps & best of luck- Leslie
We love My Own Montessori! My daughter attended the summer session this July, and just started full time last week. Most mornings she is so excited that she runs all the way from the car to the school door, and once inside barely remembers to kiss me good-bye! One of the things we like about the school is all the different spaces -- the kids can be inside, outside, or in the special art studio whenever they choose. The teachers are good at letting the children do their own thing, and encouraging them to learn new tasks. For example, my daughter almost never wants to color or paint at home (she wants me to draw pictures for her), but she has brought home a number of very fun art projects from school. I visited four other Montessori programs, and thought the children seemed by far the happiest at M.O.M. Stephanie
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