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Watford St. Andrews Montessori School

(10 Posts)
me4sunny Wed 21-Oct-09 11:04:39

anyone knows anything about them? Been there? Had their kids there?

Would really appritiate any info!

frankie3 Wed 21-Oct-09 12:53:58

No, but reaad your previous thread and I had friends who were very happy with Aldenham nursery. What other nurseries have you looked at?

me4sunny Wed 21-Oct-09 13:19:43

I stopped considering Aldenham just because it is not Montessori, but I know that it is one of the best Schools in UK

I haven't been to any of the nurseries - idea is to go to a nursery where I want them to go to school later - I don't want them going through any intake interviews and assessments, so being in the nursery that "belongs" to school is something that is quite high on my list and I am not really into highly selective boys school (I have a son) like Beaconsfield one…

Therefore we only considered nurseries that are part of a co-ed public school, of which there are not that many :-)

As nanny doesn't drive Aldenham is a problem as there is no way to get there by public transport even though it's only 15 minutes away from us (they have a school bus but only children of 7 years and older can go on it)

two state primaries that I would consider are both not in our catchment area ... moving closer to them ... not sure that we will be ale to afford as both of them are in the most affluent areas where nothing starts below 600.000 for a small 3bed house

my only major concern with other independent schools (other than Montessori) is that we are likely to be not in the most affluent parents group and while other kids will be going to cool holidays with their parents we won't be able to go away much as the school bill would eat all our available resources, and i wouldn't want my child/children grow up feeling poor

I am also not that worried about the academical merit of the school (in terms of academic drill and rigour) i want a large variety of educational options, classes etc. but as important as the academic side of things is the opportunity to grow up independent, confident and well-balanced and socially skilled - the latter is actually more important as if your kid is bright, a “normal" education will be enough to go to a good uni and excel academically but if you child is not the bright spark than confidence and social skills will balanced this lack of academic ability and still ensure that they do well in life (and for "not that bright" kids an academically strong school is not necessarily a good thing, assuming that social skills come a bit shorter there)

not sure if I make sense?

kalamum Wed 21-Oct-09 16:40:34

Yes, both of my kids started at St. Andrew’s in the Nest (0-3 years) when they were around 9 months old. Now they are in the Children’s House (3-6 years) and Lower Elementary (6-9 years) and love it.

The beautiful main building and grounds make it look ‘posh’ but it’s a friendly school and isn’t snobby at all. The kids come from varied backgrounds with very well-off ones being very much in the minority. You don’t need to worry about kids comparing their holidays – I don’t think that my kids are the only ones who don’t even have passports and think that 2 days at their Grandma’s is a ‘holiday’!

Academically, I think that the school is wonderful and love the fact that they use the Montessori materials to provide a really good ‘old-fashioned’ curriculum, which the children gain an amazing general knowledge from. (Includes botany, zoology & geometry from 5). They’re also taught individually so learn at their own pace which suits all abilities. The children are never compared to one another and there’s no testing of any kind, apart from SATs at 11. (That last one was particularly important to me after being given a life long fear of exams from the constant testing at the traditional prep. school I attended in the 70s!) They also get a lot of attention as staffing levels are very good – 2 teachers & an assistant for 13 kids in the 6-9 class. Parents like the fact that the teachers are very accessible without an appointment, which seems to be quite unusual. We also get very detailed feedback sessions & end-of-year reports. (Our last report was four typed A4 pages, all very individual with no obvious ‘cutting & pasting’.)

It’s not a school for parents who want spectacular sporting facilities but I don’t think that that matters. From 5 they all do P.E., swimming, yoga and football/cricket and spend their play times running around the huge back lawn. Lots of kids also do jujitsu and/or horse riding as extracurricular subjects, during the school day. It’s a very rounded education and the school makes full use of its grounds – even the babies are taken on regular nature walks in the school’s woodland and go to see the horses in the neighbouring fields.

There are also regular performances that the children take part in from the age of 3 e.g. Nativity play, Easter songs & poems. Learning songs and lines and performing to all of the parents seems to give their confidence a boost. (Our eldest went from shuffling across stage, eyes down at 3 years to singing a solo part at 5.)

In brief it’s just a really nice, friendly little school where the children learn a lot and are very happy! smile

Sorry that my reply is so long but hope that it helps. If you’d like any more information you can contact me directly (she says hoping that it’s straightforward & I don’t have to have set that facility up!!).

me4sunny Wed 21-Oct-09 17:15:03

kalamum
I've tried to contact you directly but you've chosen "no contact" option so I can't really email you:-) Could you please change the setting or may be you can contact me (my contact option is "on")

Thanks a lot for such a great and detailed answer! Which schools do k=the kids go after their final year at St. Andrew's?

kalamum Wed 21-Oct-09 18:13:50

Hi me4sunny

Sorry about that - I knew that I was being a bit optimistic in thinking that I didn't have to set it up!....I'll have a look at it now.

After St. Andrew's most kids go to state secondary schools, with the occasional one staying in the private sector. Since mine have been there kids have left to go to Parmiters, St. Michael's, Watford Girls & Boys, Marlborough, Beaumont, Francis Combe and one talented perfomer won a place at the Italia Conti stage school. Children who are applying to selective schools (state or private) are prepared by the school for the entrance exams, although that usually won't be every child in the year group. (I think that by that age most parents know what sort of school will suit their child).

me4sunny Wed 21-Oct-09 19:58:10

love every moment of what I am reading! May be one of th elast questions: how do you get there? is there a bus from somewhere to the school or any other means of public transport anywhere nearby? Nanny doesn't drive so not sure how to get there ....

me4sunny Wed 21-Oct-09 19:58:48

oh, and you can email me at me4sunny at rabler dot ru

kalamum Thu 22-Oct-09 10:17:16

me4sunny - I've sent you an email. Hope I've got the address right! hmmsmile

me4sunny Thu 22-Oct-09 13:11:47

nope , i just realised i misse dout one letter! me4sunny at rambler dot ru

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