Disclaimer: First I would like to say that I had visited other Montesorri's in the area and decided that this school was best for MY daughter. This is the first time I have ever put my daughter through the day care system and being a first time parent "AKA The Worry Bug" I understand that the things I observed at the this and other schools were just a MOMENT IN TIME and do not in any way represent how the school conducts business every day. I do not work for the school district. My review is real.
Ms. Kim and Ms. April at the front desk are very accommodating. The Director, Ms. Aurelia spent a good he answering my questions and did most of the talking. She gave me a tour more than once. You can tell she is well loved and respected and that she cares for the students. She is hands on and wears MANY hats from working the front desk, lending a hand in the classrooms, checking in on each room. (I have seen this during the morning drop offs).
My daughter and I checked out many schools in the area (read my reviews) and we ended up putting my 20 mo old in their toddler class (18-30mo).
How I knew it was the school for my baby?
She actually let go of me and walked around the campus and classroom. She seemed interested. I stopped by 3 different times of the day and loved seeing the teachers and students interactions.
Ms. Tam is my daughters favorite teacher aid. Ms. Shree, Ms. Monica, Ms. Lien - all are very friendly and treat my daughter with such tender care. During her adjustment weeks, my baby would let go of me and run off to the teachers. I watched each one hold her while she'd cry, and when I picked her up, sometimes they would still be holding her. Other times, she would be walking around with an extra snack.
My daughter has learned so much in her short time there. Talking a lot too! We are so impressed and happy she is attending this school.
"Bottom line: If you want a full-service, professionally-run preschool for your child at a reasonable cost, I would highly recommend this school. If you want more details: Our older child did her pre-K year at this school, and my twin sons have been here since they were 23 months old; they are now 3 1/2. When my daughter started here, the school had only opened a month or two earlier(in the Niles location), so I can truly say our family has watched the school evolve. It is not the cheapest preschool available, but the prices are competitive, and in this case, I believe you get what you pay for. Most importantly, the current teachers and staff are all good to excellent. Many of them, like Ms. Claudia, Ms. Mylynh, Ms. Ashley, Ms. Silvia, Ms. Erica, Ms. Viki, Ms. Jodi, and even Ms. Sara, the main receptionist, seem born to work with young children. You can see that they truly love what they do. Although this is a Montessori school, I could not care less about whether a teacher uses Montessori vs. other methods; I do care whether they love working with children. My children have also learned counting, literacy, art and other skills appropriate to their age levels. (I teach college-level courses, so I certainly value education.) I agree that the class sizes are large, but ALL preschools of this size have large classes. I saw comparable class sizes when I visited other large preschools like Kindercare. I have never felt that my children were being neglected or overlooked due to the class sizes at Learn and Play. The teachers also seem to have a good handle on discipline. Frankly, if you don't want your kids in a large preschool class (as one reviewer is complaining about), then I don't know why you'd send them to a large school. Every school will not be the perfect fit for every child. Our daughter, although she ended up enjoying her time at Learn and Play, had a difficult time transitioning from her previous, very small Christian preschool in our prior neighborhood. However, for our highly active boys, a large, vibrant campus has been a great fit from the beginning. A couple of reviewers noted problems with high staff turnover. I will admit that at one point, my husband and I were also very concerned about this with regard to one of our son's classrooms. However, we were so happy with our other son's teachers, Ms. Claudia in particular, that we decided to stick it out. That was about a year ago, I believe. There seems to have been very little staff change since then, so whatever the owners or management may have been doing wrong with regard to staff at one time, they appear to have resolved that issue. The head teachers in the Infants class, led by the warm and loving Ms. Viki, have been there since before our sons started at the school, as has the superb teacher Ms. Claudia, who until recently was teaching one of our boys until he was promoted to Ms. Ashley's class. Other positives are that the school is clean and well-maintained. Lunch and snacks are included in tuition. There is always at least one receptionist at the front desk to answer questions, and all of the receptionists are extremely friendly and helpful, Ms. Sara in particular. (Ms. Sara has often helped me walk my boys to my car--a huge help since my guys are the type to run into a busy parking lot without looking where they're going!) I have never once seen her be anything other than cheerful and upbeat. There is a full-time Director, as well, Ms. Aurelia, who is also unfailingly smiling and courteous. (She too has frequently offered to help me take my kids to our car.) Ms. Kiran, who owns the school with her husband, is on campus nearly every day and is very much hands-on. The security is good; visitors must ring a bell to be buzzed in, and the receptionists can see whomever is at the door through a large security window. Nowadays, unfortunately, I believe this is a necessity all schools should offer. I do have some criticisms: I think the school could offer a variety of healthier snacks; there seem to be a lot of crackers, pretzels, and occasionally animal cookies on offer. The parking lot is very busy during peak hours (worse in the evening than in the morning), and some of the parents are not as cautious as they should be. (However, the school has emailed numerous announcements reminding parents to be careful, which seems to have helped.) I mention these minor issues as well as the prior problems the school has had with staff because I write honest reviews and do not want this to come off as a paid ad for Learn and Play! However, overall I definitely recommend it if you are looking for a full-service preschool where your child will be safe and secure with caring teachers and staff and learn a lot too."
"My son attended Learn and Play Montessori for two years and he loved it there! The teachers were very friendly and caring. The school is a good blend of Montessori learning materials (hands-on), learning worksheets and play time together with the other children! My son begins elementary school next year and he is EXTREMELY PREPARED FOR KINDERGARTEN!! The teachers love parent volunteers and encourage parental input and scheduled classroom observation days. We were especially pleased with his time in Room 2 with Ms. Rhea! The snacks and lunches are healthy & tasty, and my son ate them without complaint. The facilities are very clean and well-kept. We used the "extended care" option (8:30-2:30) but the school also has an option to stay late for an hourly fee if there is space in the classroom. This flexibility was very handy if my daily activities ran late! The playground is VERY SHADY so I never had to worry about sun exposure."
"PROS: Learn & Play Montessori School provides a challenging "Montessori Style" curriculum in a warm & cheerful, clean and safe environment. Teachers seem happy overall with low turnover. Kids are genuinely happy and have a strong relationship with their teachers. They spend a lot of their time playing and working with materials or other kids; they don't wander aimlessly and aren't expected to stay quiet for long periods of time. CONS: Not really a big con, but some of the parents during drop-off drive like maniacs that must have their jobs on the line or something since they drive so aggressively. Be sure to keep your children close during peak times. I've personally almost been hit a couple of times. My son is currently 4.5 years-old and has been going to LAPMS on Niles in Fremont for the past 7 months. We've been extremely happy with the school, staff, teachers and his progression. He's blossomed so much since attending LAPMS. We're constantly amazed at home with the new things he picks up from school. Ms. Sanju, Ms. Sangeetha and Ms. Pratima take a lot of pride in their students. They are extremely friendly, genuinely caring and always encouraging to all of their students. No child is left behind. They respect that children's different backgrounds mean that they all learn differently. I've seen how much my son has tremendously grown since being at LAPMS and he has gained a newly found confidence within himself, thanks to Ms. Sanju's team. Also, I appreciate that many of the students' parents are proactive and very involved. There is truly a partnership with the parents and teachers that is an important foundation for our children's success. Most importantly, not only is my child academically and socially growing, but he looks forward to going to school."
"A little over a year since my daughter started at Learn and Play, I am amazed with the performance she has presented. The montessori method is truly developing her in all aspects such as math, art, geography, culture, language and social skills. Kids in the same class room show tremendous talent and courtesy every time when I walk into the room. Ms. Sanju, Sangeetha, Sree and Pratima have shown patience in developing my daughter and provided honest feedback about her emotional weakness. My daughter loves going to school every day. I believe that it is the most important thing for a young one to love what she is doing. The result is positive and we have decided to let her stay for kindergarten to embrace the montessori method one more year."
"My daughter has been going to this school for more than a year now (in pre-school). She is in room # 3. We were introduced to this school by one of our friend. We feel great to have found this school. This school is very good, staff is very helpful and teachers are great (can speak for room # 3 as my daughter goes in that). Special thanks to Ms Sanju, Ms Sangita, Ms Pratima, Ms Sri and Ms Alice. The teaching methodologies are good and my daughter has learned a lot in past one year (she is correcting me in some cases :)). I have seen great improvements in counting, letters, small words, art (she loves painting and drawing), social culture and many other areas. Another big difference we have seen is the manners and well-behave stuff my kiddo has learned! Its very important to know that kids will be well treated, educated and taken care of specially when they are very young. Thanks for taking care of kids nicely."
"My son went to this pre-school for about 2 years and we had many great experiences and memories. To start off: Ms. Kiran was always there to listen and lend support. I would be lying if I said that everything about Learn and Play was perfect but I have not found any child care facility to be a perfect fit, in every way, for all parents. It's never going to be like my home but this one is as close as it could be. Fitting well in a daycare or school depends upon how resilient your own kid is and what you expect from a daycare or pre-school. The whole idea of putting my kid into a Montessori was holistic development and not making the "study" part overwhelming for him and Learn and Play sure did that. It was fun--a nice way to bring my kid out of his shell. This school helped with that--my kindergartner talks about water cycle, fossils, and even surface tension. He possess natural curiosity and is good with numbers, music and multiple languages...however, he also has gross and fine motor skill problems and was supported by many Learn and Play teachers who identified his challenges early. He started off with Ms. Claudia and Ms. Elijah (who later left but was replaced by an equally friendly teacher-- Ms. Myelin). When he graduated from that class, he did not fit well in the next class and immediately we got in touch with Ms. Kiran about his challenges in the new environment. She agreed with us and moved him with Ms. Sanju, Ms. Chetana and Ms. Jessica (all wonderful ladies). After a while our kid also moved into the local school's kindergarten and we left. Although I was actively involved with my kids adjustments at school, when it comes to his learning I am aware that his fine motor skills are not as great and I am supportive of the teachers who patiently worked with him but could not accomplish much--it can happen. I am not a neurotic parent who would want her child to get a Ph.D. while he is still in school :)) (if you know what I mean --being in the Valley and all that). Lastly, Ms. Sara is the sweetest person when it comes to communicating on daily basis with parents. The informal, loving, highly personalized and yet slightly laid-back atmosphere was right for us. I am sure that it may not be the best fit for all."
"I hope this review settles some anxious parents, as i was 1.5 year back. I started my search in practically every possible Montessori/child care centre around and must have visited at least 6 to 8 of them. I was looking for a good social, safe, hygienic, aptly academic and structured curriculum based school. I decided to send my child to Learn and Play Montessori, and i am convinced on my decision every time i go there. People have mentioned various unexpected and negative situations here but i strongly feel based on mine and many other parents' experiences, one has to be realistic in the expectations you set out for the school staff. The real world is much different than what you think. Hard working teachers, planned schedule for every class,regular updates on childs progress, clean environment, fresh cooked food, cooperative/ready to listen staff is what this school comes with, what more would you want for. Although i might be missing a lot of many things here which might be important in terms of your own kid but i would suggest, its worth to make a tour to the school and evaluate. Highly Recommend it, no other school would have taken as much care."
"My daughters have been attending L&PM since September 2012. My eldest is in class 5 and Mr. Ian & Ms. Rhea are exceptional. They know and understand the children very well and Ms. Rhea shows a great understanding of the Montessori methods and philosophies. There are 4 members of staff in the class which means that no child is left behind. My younger daughter is in Class 2 and we couldn't be happier with her team of teachers. Ms. Erica is an exceptional head teacher and Ms. Karen and Ms. Diljeet are patient and understanding with both the children and parents. The school is always clean and orderly. Ms. Sara, at reception, is wonderful with a really cheerful disposition. Ms. Aurelia is the curriculum director and makes it her priority to meet with parents and listen to any feedback or concerns they may have. Ms. Kiran, the school director, is excellent and always present on site, she is very approachable and with small children of her own she completely understands every parents needs and wants for their own child. It can often be a tough decision to make on what school to place your child in. We are very fortunate that L&PM Niles has worked out so well for us. Our girls are happy, they learn a lot and most importantly they have fun and come home with huge grins ready to tell me all about their day. I would most certainly recommend L&PM in Niles to any prospective families looking for a safe and nurturing environment for their children."
"Goodbye L&PM Niles! It has been a wonderful 2 years and in a short span of time you made us quickly feel like family. There are too many exceptional teachers to name all of them but a huge thank you to Ms Aurelia, Ms Rhea, Ms Maliha, Ms Erica, Ms Silvia, Ms Kiran, Mr Ian, Ms Lupe, Ms Dhillon, Ms, Karen, Ms Diljeet, Ms Christina....the list is endless really. You all have a wonderful cheery disposition and each one of you has taken interest in making my children's pre-school life pleasant, enjoyable, safe and interesting. We will miss you all and wish everyone the very best in the future. You have truly filled our buckets for life.....the most amazing bucket fillers are in this school :)"