Our family really enjoys A Child's World Montessori School where many of the children come from Glenview and Montclair (a few from Piedmont too.) It is located next to Dimond Park where Dimond Avenue deadends on the park, so you don't get a lot of traffic. You should first interview to see what is the Montessori philosophy. We really like it because it promotes self awareness, independence and respect. Some people consider the Montessori approach to be too restrictive, but once the children go through the exercises, they have an incredible amount of flexibility and choice; it's a matter of understanding how it's being used. For example, once they learn how to do a project by themselves (i.e. full preparation, execution, and clean up), they are allowed to go on their own and be creative (some limitations, of course). Until then the teacher prompts and assists; in such a classroom, the teacher knows my children intimately- their strengths and areas for improvement. And every exercise is set up to move them toward independence. The materials for learning are wonderful, and my two older children have excelled in the environment - they are always eager to learn more. They learn a lot about self motivation and independent learning at their own pace (rather than in a class where everyone learns the same thing at the same time.) Another thing nice about Montessori is the mixed-age classroom - at one point, your child will be in the youngest age learning from the older children, then later in the oldest age teaching the younger children; it's actually really great once you see it in action, although I was wary until I saw its benefits. Even the 2 yr olds perform (albeit for a short time) at the holiday performance! Sounds funny, but I have one child who is incredibly shy and wouldn't stand in front of a group of people, and over the years, she has finally progressed to volunteering for a musical instrument solo - I wish I had such training when I was that age. Our two older children have been there since 2 yr old and are now in 4th & 2nd grades in the elementary program (sometimes the elem students ask the teacher for harder material!); the baby will start there next summer. When some of the children moved on to other respectable schools in the area, they were considered academically ahead. What are the down sides? Cost, it's not cheap, but I think it's fairly comparable to other preschools (but you also get what you pay for). In the elem program, there is not a strong P.E. program, but it doesn't matter to us, because we take care of that through soccer and swim teams; the preschool children have lots of running around in the playyard. You may have to ask about the part-time hours; they usually encourage a minimum amount of time for the child's sake. Call early, because there may be a waiting list. The office number is 531-8566; Leslie Hites is the Director.

Janna (7/00)