We have had two very different children attend MCI. Our oldest was a student for one year (age 4) and our youngest attended for two years (from just shy of 3 to just under 5). Both of them have thrived at this school, which is a testament to the Montessori method and its implementation at MCI.
The best thing about MCI is that our children have been loved and respected since the day they walked in the door (which, by the way, was the very first day of the school's existence). We have seen that, with the right tools and support, they are more than capable of seizing their world, learning far more than we would have guessed, and doing it in an extremely comfortable environment. Also, the access to the teachers and director is truly impressive. Because of our hectic schedules, we're often addressing important issues by email on the weekend, or face-to-face during the chaos of drop-off. Despite this somewhat difficult timing, it has always been clear that the welfare of our children is the number one priority, and time will always be taken to make sure that their needs are addressed
We've also been amazed at how much our children have learned, and how much they've enjoyed learning it. There are the obvious and expected things: for example, for us, the biggest draw to the school was the exposure to Mandarin. We pulled our son out of a sought-after ECE program because we wanted him to hear Mandarin spoken every day. Now, he's thriving in a full immersion program and it is in no small part due to the fact that he became familiar with Mandarin at MCI. A few months after he started at MCI, he was drawing Chinese characters in the steam in the shower. He still does this, but now it's sentences! Similarly, I assumed my children would finally start to grasp reading at the end of preschool; but I've been impressed with how the Montessori method of teaching reading has taught them the logic behind reading so that they don't just memorize words, they grasp how to READ. Then there are the surprises: my kids really know world geography! And even cooler - they want to TRAVEL, they want to experience that world! We took our daughter to the Van Gogh exhibit because she talked about it every time she saw a bus with the advertisement on the side - it was wonderful to experience Van Gogh with a four-year-old who was as interested and I was in the colors, textures, and stories behind the paintings. Many parents of Montessori children talk about the "independence" that is developed; it's not a myth. Our children do many things on their own because they can and because they want to.
Finally, the children at MCI are encouraged to become a little community, and that little community is a wonderful, wonderful place to be. Our daughter was just shy of three when she started at MCI. As the youngest member, she was cared for by every single person in that building - from the director down to the next-to-youngest student! It was incredibly sweet. Now, she's one of the "big kids," and it has been an absolute joy to listen to her explain how she is "like a teacher" to the younger students. She hasn't just grasped the work, she has gained the knowledge, patience, and confidence to give lessons to the younger kids and "tours" to visitors.
Our children have spent key years at MCI, and we could not be happier with the lessons they are walking away with: the academics, and the confidence and desire to go learn more, and enjoy it!