My wife and I have been bringing our two daughters here for a couple of years now, and we are very happy with Sunrise Montessori. They first began in the younger toddler class (Sweet Peas) and are now in the “older” 3-5 age group, different teachers. Although there is some turnover in the staff at times, the ownership, management, and core teachers are all very professional and compassionate.
Almost every day when we pick up our daughters, they have something new to share with us, whether it be a new song, an activity they learned, a game they played with a friend, or an art project they worked on in class. Having your 3-year old daughter singing a song about the continents of the world is heartwarming, and we never cease to be surprised at the stuff they pick up at that age.
Although I give Sunrise five well-deserved stars, there are a couple of minor areas that may not be perfect, though to be fair I don’t think there is much that can be done about them because of the confined location. First, the parking situation can, at times, be a nightmare (particularly if you drive a larger vehicle like me), although the staff often stands in the parking lot during peak drop off hours to assist in guiding traffic. Secondly, I’m not a fan of the playground area, which is primarily rocks. The rocks are loose, and I suppose there are fewer scrapes and grass and mud stains, but kids like to throw them around when they are having fun (my own girls do this), and I worry about a child getting hurt. Also, on dry days (and this is Austin area, so….) the pebbles create a dusty, dirty film all over their clothes and legs when they play outside, so taking them anywhere after we pick them up requires a change of clothes or major cleanup. I would like to see them have a grassy area where they could plant flowers or grow vegetables or something (again, probably not ideal for the limited space). Also, though not necessarily a “complaint”, be aware that this is a 100% peanut-free zone, and although our girls are not allergic to anything, it has been an inconvenience at times figuring out what to pack for lunches, etc. – although I am sure any parent of a child with allergies appreciates this.
That being said, the staff is amazing. They genuinely care about the kids, and even though one of our girls sometimes gets into trouble for excitable behavior, she is always treated with compassion and understanding, and never made to feel like a “bad child”. I feel that self-esteem is one of the most important values to instill in young children, and this school does a model job of making each child feel welcome and important to their class. The landscaping on the exterior is beautiful, with well-maintained flowers year-round and a cozy, clean interior. The communication with the staff is also excellent, with regular email updates, photos, and a constantly updated website. Finally, although the school has no guidelines over what families choose to enroll, we have consistently seen a very diverse group of children and families from many different backgrounds, and we love this! The staff is also very diverse, and I love seeing our daughters playing with children from different environments. All the parents we have met seem very responsible and supportive, and the school is a drama-free zone.
Strongly recommend this school for all pre-K students!