This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Make A Mess and Make Believe2
Posted July 18, 2010
- a teacher
This is a review for Boulder Journey School from a former teacher. As previously mentioned, the curriculum is child-driven; and when I started there, I was very excited about this idea. It sounds great in theory, but I found that it didn't work for most children. The complete lack of structure worked for a very small percentage of kids, but it usually just meant that the classrooms were chaotic. Some children did do well, but most just ran amok leaving little time to actually spend quality learning time with any of the children. I also found such a focus on the environment, that we would be washing dishes and organizing when we should have been working on engaging classroom activities. For the money, there are better schools; and as a parent now, I wouldn't consider sending my son there.
We are new parents to the Boulder Journey School and couldn't be more pleased with our choice. The administrative staff and our daughter's teachers have been wonderful. Our daughter is a very free spirited child and we wanted an environment that she could explore and have fun with. At 3 we aren't really looking for a school to teach her Calculus so I would have to disagree with some of the other posts. The environment is creating and exploratory - teaching through play. The philosophy of the school (i.e., Reggio) pretty much sums up what you are going to get. I haven't had any problems with talking to teachers or administrators. Yes, some of the teachers are young, but they are full of energy and love of their job. Not bad things when you leave your child for a few hours a week. Expensive, but in line with similar programs.
My daughter attended this school from Pre-School to Pre-K. They said that forign language was taught, but it was the very, very baics of spanish. There approach was based on letting the kids pretty much decide what they wanted to do with there time. It sounded great and very loving. However, when my daughter went into Kindergarden, she had absolutely no idea about structure. It made the transition very hard for her. She had a very difficult time understanding why she couldn't paint when she wanted to paint. Other things that bothered me were the fact that they wouldn't wake a sleeping child. I agree that children need their sleep, however this made it very difficult to keep my daughter on a schedule. She'd be up until midnight because they let her sleep from 1:00 to 4:30. I just didn't feel there was much structure. The teachers were great though.
Our child is 2,5 and she has been going to the Boulder Journey School M/W/F for almost 2 years now. We are very disappointed about how little our child has learned there. We find the school to be more of a daycare facility then anything else. Most of what our child has learned has been mainly through homeschooling. Our child speaks fluent Dutch - the language we speak at home. We hoped that by attending this school our child would learn the English language. Process has been disappointing due to lack of teacher direction and involvement in the classroom. The children are just left to play with whatever they feel like. We are looking for another school that will focus more on learning and will allow more student-teacher interactions.
This school is now renamed to 'Boulder Journey School'. I agree with the other comments - good to ok babysitting, depending on teacher. No 'program'. Pricey!! Teachers very young, inexperienced students. High turnover. Discouraged by 'philosophy' from normal 'fun' interaction/play with kids. Don't have much for toys or stimulation or stuff for them to DO. They bought laptops for the teachers to do their copious documentation (SPIN!!), but the few (donated) tricycles lack pedals, minimal sand toys, lame 'playground', few manipulation toys in classes. Markers, scissors, paper, 'found' items (priorites!?) Occasional guests are main scheduled stimulations. They seem overly proud of home-made playdoh, sand, snow as 'provocations'. Spent lots of time there and rarely saw the 'Magic' learning moments they profess. No feedback loop - must call 'meeting' - to squash your complaint. If you care about your kid's day, go OBSERVE!!! Don't buy it - spend the time!! It matters!
Bottom line: good babysitters but don't believe the marketing. o Teachers (even the 'mentors') are young and fresh out of school so they are full of theory and lack experience. o Good luck trying to provide any kind of feedback - you'll get a very strong defensive reaction. o The culture there is very intolerant to any suggestions from parents. o If you go there, ask yourself this, 'What are they doing that a good baby sitter wouldn't do?' I've visited there at all times of day and the answer I got was 'nothing'. They put out Play Doh and call it a 'provocation' like it's something so unique and unusual that only they could do it. o I ran into a colleague at work who had seen me there and he ranted about exactly the same things I noticed. Independent confirmation of my observations.
The facility is a school-like setting, with duplex classrooms each having access to outdoors. The curriculum is said to be 'Reggio-Emilia', which has some similarities to Montessori in that it's an environment- and student-driven 'curriculum' with the 'teacher' as a facilitator/guide. They do take pictures (sporadically) and create a personal notebook of the child's experiences. My child has attended from age 7 months-3 1/2 years. What we observe and other parents have said is this 'hands-off' approach, despite their spin, amounts to baby-sitting, which they do pretty well, usually. It's not academic or focused learning. Lots of 'free play' and little structure. Depends on the 'teacher' to be engaging/stimulating, which is hit or miss. Also, they want parental involvement in as much as what you can give them or do for them, but they DON'T want to hear ANY suggestions/criticsms EVER! Very defensive/hostile to that, despite their assertions. Many holidays-inconvenient.