Our son has attended LePort Montessori in Encinitas for 2-3 years now. He started in the Toddler class and transitioned to the Primary Spanish Immersion class. We will be starting our second child there as well. Here's why we chose/love LePort:
(1) They provide an authentic Montessori experience. Other schools say they are Montessori but use it more as a brand. True Montessori is a method of education, not a label. To watch the kids in an authentic Montessori environment is magical and fun.
(2) LePort offers a Spanish immersion program. We felt that raising our child bilingual was extremely important and LePort's teachers speak only in Spanish all day to the class. (By the way they offer an English class as well.) We've seen his Spanish progress and it continues to impress me daily.
(3) We love how clean and organized the class is. It's hard to imagine how they keep it so neat and tidy with a boat load of kids coming in and out all day. However, the Montessori method teaches the kids to take care of their environment.
(4) There is a huge range of activities, material, and work the kids can do. Unlike other preschools I looked at that looked as if they had games all over, LePort classrooms (and really all true Montessori) look like a workshop. It's really hard for me to explain it as it's more of a feeling. One look and you just know your child is going to develop skills and abilities here that they won't elsewhere.
(5) Montessori math is awesome! You tend to think that an infant or toddler can't learn advanced math skills, but they can and do at LePort. You can see that the basic building blocks of object based math will help the children understand an abstract concept in a concrete way. Little do these kids know they are learning algorithmic logs and functions. As a geek in the tech industry I can see my kid finding a good base in what he'll need for coding, logic, and thought in the digital age. It's no wonder why many tech founders and icons have grown up in the Montessori way. Names like: Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google founders), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Prince William and Prince Harry, Julia Child (the famous TV chef), and Anne Frank all have a background in Montessori. Most of these figures highlight that it was a Montessori education that contributed to their independent thinking and success.
(6) The staff and teachers care. They really do love our child and bring out the best in them. They have huge hearts and are very eager to share their knowledge with us (and I need a lot of it because I'm a new/inexperienced parent, the teachers have a lot of experience!)
(7) We like the fact that the teachers and Head of School are focused on the kids. Although I've heard the critique that LePort is a big company, this is actually a good thing. The head of school isn't running the website, doing payroll, in charge of marketing, etc. She's focused on making sure the teachers have what they need to provide a great experience for the kids. This is important as I've seen smaller schools and their staff overwhelmed with these organizational tasks that take focus off the kids. LePort is very well setup in this regard. Plus, their scale provides additional resources that a smaller outfit just can't afford or implement.
(8) We love the LePort parents and community. I say community because that's what we feel it is. There are tons of extra events and activities (particularly around holidays) that we enjoy. We also get to meet other parents that have become great friends outside of school. You definitely meet some outstanding people in this community.
(9) LePort's Head of School, Claudia, organizes a Coffee with Claudia monthly chat. This is a valuable time to be able to discuss topics ranging from parenting tips, to what's new in education, to just cute stories about the children. It's a very casual and open format and gives welcome insight into the school.
(10) One of my favorite times of the year is "Watch me Work" where parents get invited into the classroom (one family at a time) to watch your child work amongst their peers. (Montessori calls all activity "work" as they prepare the child for the real world.). It's a fun look into what my child is doing and I get to see the classroom in its full buzz. If this doesn't impress you nothing will. They do these events twice a year and I cherish them.
(11) LePort shares photos and progress reports of your child on a (secure) platform. This gives me day to day and week to week insight into my kid and what he's working on. They also have a private, closed, and moderated Facebook group for announcements, shares, and to connect the parents of the community.
All in all, we're 100% pleased with the education and community LePort offers. Preschool is a big resource, time, and financial commitment. If you're looking for a great Montessori program or just a great preschool in general, LePort in Encinitas should be on the top of your list.