This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Village Arts Montessori Peace School5
Posted September 29, 2014
- a parent
My husband and I have been 100% satisfied with this school. We were very intentional in selecting a small school with a highly nurturing and structured environment. All of our expectations have been exceeded. One her first day, our daughter cried because she didn't want to go home!!! She will be four years old this Fall and has attended for 9 months. We are moving back east and sadly need to start a search for a magical, loving, school all over again. I appreciate that Shama and Lindsay treat my child like a little person (not a baby) and expect her to use her voice and grow in emotional maturity at her own rate. Each child is given the "right" kind of attention...the staff study the personality of each child, and guide each one in the way that is best for their long-term development as an interdependent, self-loving person. I have grown as a parent because of our experiences with Shama and Lindsay. The students spend so much time outside and they learn how to take responsibility for occupying their free time with creative play or age appropriate activities.
Our child has attended this wonderful school for 6 months, 5 days/full time-she, my husband and I absolutely LOVE this school and teachers Ms. Shama and Ms. Lindsey. We carefully toured 6 schools and chose this one. Shama and Linsdey have always been welcoming and conversational upon pick up with feedback about the day. Director Ms. Shama has 20 years of teaching experience and it shows. Our daughter adores her school activities: playtime, yoga, baking, art, and singing and she loves her friends. My daughter often brings home apples from the garden, which we make into sauce for her lunch. We enjoy the small celebrations the school throws: Spring Equinox, Mother's & Father's Day. It's a great chance to meet the other parents. My husband and I have been so pleased with this school, a perfect environment for our child, small and nurturing. I'm a former school teacher of 10 years as well as a musician and when I asked to be a visitor and teach a short song and art lesson, Shama welcomed me. Both times it was a great opportunity to see how my daughter thrives at her new school. She is not yet 3 but embracing and loving school is important to us and this is happening here.
We faced issues in pretty much all the areas that are pointed out in the other review and were centered around the director and owner/teacher Shama. Prior to enrollment, there was a fa ade of great understanding, flexibility, individualized attention, open door policy, discounted rates and cordial and pleasant conversations. This quickly changed post enrollment. We remained uncomfortable and confused during our stay, as there were experiences of psychological coercion, intimidation, manipulation, guilt-tripping, passive aggression, followed with good days when pleasantries were exchanged, progress was made. Shama is the main teacher and she has one assistant. We also saw a frustration and loss of patience by the teacher as the school's enrollment started rising. one day mid-March, while her assistant was out sick for a couple of days, she demanded us to start picking up our child at noon, and to end our stint as soon as possible. Our last encounter with her was an inexplicable, bizarre and most humiliating experience we have witnessed in real life, accompanied with drama, threats, intimidation and agitation, all to ensure we never come back or ask for a pro-rated refund.
My son was there 9 months starting at 20 months. The space is nice, philosophy great, and the approach, attitude and child development/world view seemed warm and measured. But, do not be fooled. A conversation can go from bad to worse quickly, and statements become inconsistent, defensive, and there's quick inference that any problems are a result of bad parenting, and worse, frustrations are transferred to the child. I was told, including some in front of my barely 2 year old son, that he has "attachment issues", was "whiny by nature", had social issues, and that "damage control" was necessary. He cried for months at a time at drop off, and never has at his new school. He gets glowing reviews there. I had to show initial e-mail communications to preserve the agreement to stop from being charged more (3 times). When we gave notice to leave, based on the agreement, we expected four weeks of tuition be kept, however, the entire deposit was instead kept making it effectively 6 weeks notice which could have easily been almost 8 weeks! I also learned my son and I were spoken about in frustration to other families. Others left there while we were, I expect also with bad experiences.
Homey Montessori Preschool. My daughter started here a year ago and we have had a very positive experience! It was hard for her to adjust socially, but the Educators and other children are very welcoming. My daughter loves the process-oriented learning: planting seeds, watching them grow, then cooking with the vegetables they planted. They also do yoga and dance, art, baking (mainly vegan), songs, working in the garden and French. I was also very impressed with little gatherings to celebrate birthdays and some holidays such as Mother's and Father's day where all the parents convene and have brunch and receive a craft done by our children. On summer solstice they made flower crowns! The Educators are well-rounded in a variety of teaching and my daughter has learned a lot from social skills to arithmetic. All in all, a great school where my daughter feels as comfortable as at home.
We love Picfair Village Montessori Preschool of the Arts! It's small, super sweet, and offers art, yoga, gardening, music, and Montessori-based materials and instruction. The play yard is an awesome, little wonderland, the whole place is full of joy. The kids get lots of individual attention, and I love even the small things, like how the kids get involved in making their own play dough, or baking muffins with bananas from their own tree! It's located in a bright, beautiful home and run by founder/director Shama Minwalla, a truly amazing, patient teacher. Lindsay, her assistant and second teacher is fantastic too and our son loves them both. We started here this past August, and our son, and we, couldn't be happier. It's truly a little-known treasure.
This school is an extremely special place. The setting is a beautifully restored home that's bright, organized, and comfortable, and it's right in our neighborhood! My daughter began when she was 2 years, four months old, and while I was hesitant about having her "leave the nest," it was obvious after only a couple of days that she was more than ready to go out and interact with other children on a daily basis and in a structured way. She quickly gained a strong sense of ownership and pride in her new space and the materials, and she formed friendships through songs, books, her "work," outdoor activities, tending a garden, practicing yoga, art, and more. The Director is warm, experienced, and well-versed in the Montessori approach. It was truly amazing to see our daughter's confidence, helpfulness, energy, and learning grow tremendously in less than a year. Really remarkable. We feel so grateful to have found this school.
I researched preschools for 3 months prior to enrolling my son at PicFair Village Montessori. To my surprise, many West LA preschools that claimed to be Montessori programs fell drastically short of traditional Montessori practices. After months of guidance from the UCLA early education outreach program, I found this school. From the very first meeting with the Director, I fell in love with this program. I enrolled my son (at 2 yrs old) with one goal in mind - develop his speech. After a couple of months, my son started speaking in full sentences and learned his alphabet, colors, numbers and shapes within weeks. All he needed was to be around other kids and the care of a great teacher. The student to child ratio is extremely low so my son gets tons of attention. The teacher and I strategized a plan to potty train my son and it only took 1 week (no joke). His teacher was incredibly helpful and even washed him up when he had a few accidents. Most preschools will not give this type of care to children. My son often practices yoga at school, bakes and even gardens. This school is such a blessing!
My son attends this school and I have to say that I am really impressed with his progress. My wife found this school after thoroughly researching numerour programs. For Father's Day we went to Travel Town and had lunch with our kids. I also received an awesome framed picture my son made. My wife was also invited to a pancake breakfast for Mother's Day and she received a hand-made apron from my son. The teacher is very caring and I feel like she is family. I don't have to worry about my son's well being while I'm at work and that is priceless to me.
We feel so lucky to have found this hidden gem of a school right in our neighborhood. It's small and intimate, with tons of individual attention for each kid from a very talented, experienced teacher. The school fosters independence, social skills, and love of learning. In addition to learning at their own pace with Montessori materials, they play music, dance, do yoga, cook, garden, watch caterpillars turn into butterflies, etc. etc., all in a serene home environment. My son has made strides in his social skills and ability to play well with other kids, and potty training has been a breeze with the help we've gotten from school. I'd heard that high-energy kids sometimes don't do well with Montessori, but this school is full of joy and spontaneity and my very active 3 year old absolutely loves it (showing me to the door in the morning so he can get started).