Parents & Alumni Testimonials

Testimonial from Karen Jansta

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Dear Mrs. Salzman and Mrs. Curry,

You have heard me heap praise upon you in our exchanges during drop off and pick up and though it has always been my intention to formulate a written response to show my appreciation and respect for what you do, it turns out to be a lot harder than I had thought.

I thought that I would just have to set time aside and the words would come flowing out of me. However, my feelings run so deep that it is hard to find the right words to express myself. I have spent some time tutoring young children with reading and writing skills and found it incredibly rewarding but it was not until I became a parent that I fully realized the pivotal role a teacher can play in a child’s life. First I had my daughter with her cautious nature in her toddler years; born with a significant hearing loss in her right ear, and then Ryan. Sweet, sweet Ryan; a little boy trapped in a body that could not speak for him nor help him understand the world he was living in.

As Ryan developed, it became very clear to me that something wasn’t quite right with his language. I could not place my finger on it, but I knew there was something he was really struggling with. His pediatrician thought I was over anxious and told me to wait. We waited, but still saw Ryan struggling. So many tears, and so many tantrums — and no language. We changed his primary care doctor who suggested autism. He ordered full evaluations from an audiology exam, neurological exam and a referral to the regional center. I cried all the way home after our first appointment with him.

I didn’t agree with the suggestion of autism but was scared, so very scared, of a neurological exam. We met with the neurologist and he was fantastic. He knew exactly how to interact with Ryan and could quash the claims of autism after five minutes of observing him with sound explanations but agreed with us that something may be interfering with his development. He wanted to see him again in another six months.

Ryan was a little older than two at this time. He still had no words, and no babbling. Soon after his evaluations at the regional center, he was enrolled into a formal speech therapy program but we pulled him out after four months because their practices were not agreeable with our philosophy on how to best support him. It was around this time I amped up my Google searches and found an online forum of other parents that had children like Ryan who shared similar traits. I read their stories. I read document after document of scientifically backed data that supported a theory I was developing in my mind. It was here where I learned about the possibility of a language disorder that affected a child’s expressive language as well as receptive language. Fast forward six months and I am on a plane with Ryan, my three month old baby, and husband to get an evaluation from professionals I felt I could trust.

From here we got our road map. They warned us about misdiagnosis. They warned us about well-intentioned professionals and they warned us Ryan’s growth would be slow but would gradually progress as he got older and would finally normalize around third grade. They also told us, we had to pick his teacher for preschool and elementary years very carefully. They told us, the teacher would make all the difference in the world. They told us, I would do better to choose an excellent teacher than put Ryan in speech therapy. I believed every word, and still do.

The primary years of every child are so vital to their self-worth and potential growth, but especially for a child that has challenges or that is atypical in their development. I searched for a long, long, long time before I found Arborland. I tried classrooms and environments that I knew weren’t quite right but hoped would be right enough and essentially, they all failed Ryan in some way. It makes me sad to think about it as I write this to you.

I can see that you both value the work you do at Arborland and have real passion for what you do and the decisions you make for the students in your care. I can see that you both believe you are good teachers; and I whole-heartedly agree that you are – I just don’t know that you could ever possibly realize just how great you are for Ryan, given what I have seen in other classrooms and schools, and the stories I have heard from friends that have children like Ryan. Your choice of words, your approach to him — and not just him but other students in his classroom too — create an ideal setting for him to grow and for him to feel like he can take risks.

As one never knows what lays in wait for us ahead, I want to thank you for the passion you have for teaching young minds, for practicing and modeling acceptance and for celebrating the individuality of the children that walk into your classroom. I am very thankful to have found a safe and nurturing place for Ryan and I look forward to building on the positive relationship that has developed since the start of term.

Date of Posting: 06 December 2012
Posted By: Karen Jansta

Testimonial from Thuy Cat-Aurelio

Aurelio family
Arborland Montessori at Hughes campus is our second home away from home. (We can only speak for this campus, since our daughters attend here. There is a second campus at Valencia in Fullerton as well. The staff members are all personable and approachable at both campuses, at our joint events.) We are the proud parents of a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old, both in the elementary program. We started our children with Arborland at ages 3 and 3.5, respectively, (with Mrs. Luque & Mrs. Gina), with the intention of moving on to Kindergarten in FSD public school. However, each has gained high levels of skills that may not have been possible at large public schools. Self-confidence and poise possessed in their public speaking skills are demonstrated gleefully at all school recitals and performances. Additionally they made close knitted friendships, and attained leadership roles, due to the multi-age classroom settings. This has all continued to compel us to keep our children here at Arborland Montessori.

We continue to love the convenience of having academic classes (12:1, students:teacher ratio so far), and extra curricular activities at one location! We utilize the morning/afternoon childcare and the dance and gymnastic classes every year. The synchronized Arborland school calendar with the Fullerton School District is also an extra plus, for family planning activities. The administrators, teachers and staff are very knowledgeable and friendly to collaborate with, on a daily basis. We like the daily communication with our 9-year-old daughter’s teachers, Ms. Ho and Miss Melissa. They were always there, as teachers and as friends, making sure that our child is safe, happy, and eager to learn. Our 9-year-old daughter adores her teachers and praises them highly.

Overall, Dr. Chen and our daughters’ teachers (Ms. Sebial, Ms. Whitney, Ms. Ho & Miss Melissa) are prompt in addressing concerns and communicating progress about our children’s needs. The school always seeks improvement and offers new services. For example, the school incorporated the use of iPad learning last year in the lower and upper elementary classes. But they never forget the importance of teaching the whole child, through the forms of creative arts. Our daughters continue to blossom academically and socially since they started here, and we attribute this mostly to our caring Arborland teachers and staff. Thank you for all you do!

Date of Posting: 19 July 2013
Posted By: Mrs. Thuy Cat-Aurelio

Testimonial from Kevin Chou

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Hello everyone! I am Kevin Chou and I will be moving on to 8th grade after the summer. I go to Whitney High School in Cerritos, which is a middle school and high school combined, and it stresses academic value to all of its students. Therefore, most of the classes assigned to the students are honors. During my 7th grade year, I have had a great time in academics along with physical events. I have taken History 7 h, English 7 h, Science 7 h, Algebra 1 h, Beginning/Intermediate band, along with PE to the mix. I just want to state how Arborland has been able to provide me with numerous positive experiences throughout my years as a student there. I thank all of my teachers ever since primary as well as Dr. Chen and will miss Arborland forever in my heart. I would also like to mention the three major traits of success: responsibility, proper values, and the habit of studying correctly, that this school has helped me develop and how I used them in the transition to middle school.
The key to keeping track of one’s tasks is responsibility. This is accomplished by staying organized. An efficient way that I have kept my work together is by using binders for each topic, thus keeping my papers together for each section. Whenever my teacher requests an assignment, I always have it ready to turn in. There is no need to grapple for papers throughout one’s backpack in a frantic search and end up losing points for it. Not only will the instructor be annoyed, but he or she may hold a grudge against those who are not prepared for class. I remember how I used to lose some papers occasionally because I kept them in my desk. When I began using binders, there was no way that my papers could escape the bindings, finally depleting the issues of keeping work organized.
Another quality required to succeed in crossing the bridge to middle school is to have a moral personality. One must select the best option provided when it comes to making decisions. For example, as a person does his homework, he should think about the process to complete it instead of just accessing the web to copy others’ articles. If one completes the second action and is discovered, then serious consequences will result. No one would want to have their reputation ruins just because of an incorrect decision, right? Arborland makes honesty and trust one of its most important topics, which is the foundation of becoming a responsible person. As a result, having an honest mindset is essential to a bright future.
Lastly, Arborland also includes studying in the list. When there is an upcoming test, studying for it should be every students’ first thought. However, the key is studying correctly for it. If the test was going to be on science, the student should prioritize that subject and make sure that he understands it. This can be done by studying for an hour followed with a brief break. After the period of rest, the person should quiz himself and study the parts that were forgotten. Loss of concentration may occur when staring at a book for too long, whereas scanning through the textbook and notes in just 10 minutes may end up in a disastrous grade. Consequently, the ability to study is also a portion to joining middle school triumphantly.
Once again I would like to thank all of my teachers, principal, and parents that supported me in my years at Arborland. They have taught me these three assets which I was able to use in 7th grade. Arborland’s goal is to “maximize their students’ potential by providing dedicated teachers, personalized curriculum, and lifelong study skills to cultivate their students’ intellectual, physical, and social development in a safe and loving environment.” I believe that they have been able to accomplish that mission with me, sending me caring teachers who guided me through the times of childhood to enter the world of learning.

Date of Posting: 03 October 2012
Posted By: Kevin Chou

Testimonial from Sun Hee Kim

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We are back in Korea after a wonderful summer at Arborland. My kids (Woo Joo and Woo Seok) are missing Arborland classes, activities, friends, and teachers there.

Thanks to all the faculty members at Arborland, for my kids and I had experienced perfect education and had a wonderful time. We give our best regards to Ms. Diana, Ms. Melissa, Dr.Lee, Dr. Chen, and all the teachers.

Date of Posting: 13 September 2012
Posted By: Sun Hee Kim

Testimonial from Abraham & Yolanda Williams

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Making a choice to send our kids to Arborland Montessori and learn from teachers who love what they are doing and teach with purpose and passion has been the best decision. Initially, we had no idea what Montessori really entailed. However, we knew our daughter Dylyn needed more than what a day care or babysitter could provide. We sought school after school looking for the right fit. After reading the history of Montessori online and having the opportunity to tour Arborland Hughes (amazing campus) we knew it was a match. Sending your child to school at 2 and half is not an easy decision but after speaking with Dr. Chen and her awesome teachers we found a school that would cultivate, stimulate and educate our daughter.

We have been so pleased with Dylyn’s primary education that we decided to enroll our son Blake (at 18 months) into the toddler program. Both of our kids are thriving and have embraced learning, practical life and all of Montessori teaching with confidence. The unique structure of having younger kids interact with older kids has proven to be fantastic socially and academically. Blake is so amazing… I have to remind myself that he is only 24 months. He is not the same kid that started at 18 month! Thanks to Ms. Marie and Ms. Charlene.

The Primary and Toddler program are impressive as you will not find more qualified teachers with a willingness to teach. We would like to thank Dr. Chen for her vision, leadership and awesome administrative staff. As for the primary teachers, Ms. Walker, Ms. Luque, and her assistant Ms. Gina, thank you for the warm care and attention you’ve given to Dylyn’s development. With regards to the toddler teachers, Ms. Marie and her assistant Ms. Charlene we would like to thank you for your standard of excellence and nurturing care you’ve given to Blake.

Date of Posting: 05 July 2012
Posted By: Abraham & Yolanda Williams

Testimonial from the Frankel Family

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Upon learning that Arborland was approaching its 25th anniversary, I started to reminisce about the Frankel family experience there. My daughters both attended Arborland from pre-school through sixth grade and graduated in June of 2006 and 2009 respectively. We had a wonderful and enriching experience and, though since graduated, my daughters, wife and I maintain relations with the school, its teachers and administrators and many other fellow Arborland students and parents.

I thusly, set out to write a testimonial documenting our experience and our family and daughters’ growth and development at Arborland. My first inclination was to list out the many positive experiences at and attributes that Arborland possesses — there are many and I suspect that our story is similar to that of many others at Arborland. However and upon further reflection, I came to some clarity and realized that what I most truly appreciated and, perhaps, what is most specific to the Frankel family experience, was just how different my two daughters are and yet how similar their experience at Arborland was — individual growth and happiness. While providing an enriching school environment for any child appears to be a difficult task, providing one that allows a child to decide who they will be and accommodates a wide variety of choices would seem to be herculean. Yet this is what Arborland did for the Frankels.

My oldest daughter, Keri — is the proto-typical temperamental artist. Some of Keri’s earliest exposure to art and she and our having identified it as her path and passion in life took place and was cultivated at Arborland. She will be attending SAIC, the currently #2 rated art school in the US, starting in August and has been granted an $80,000 scholarship. My younger daughter, Mia is more academically oriented and a charismatic social butterfly. She will be entering the 10th grade at Yorba Linda High School where she is enrolled in all honors classes, a member of the soccer team and leading her posse of friends. Arborland provided the academic basis for her current success and an environment that allowed her to realize social, public speaking and performance skills. Two different daughters and individuals who will probably take very divergent routes through life, yet similar in that that they and we recognized and cultivated who they are while at Arborland.

Date of Posting: 29 June 2012
Posted By: Keri, Mia, Pauline and Andy Frankel

Testimonial from Glen Schnablegger

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In 1991, we had become dissatisfied with the educational experience that our son Matthew, then 3 years old, was receiving at a local daycare. We had heard about the Montessori approach to education and child development and after researching several schools, decided to enroll Matt at Arborland. Matt excelled in the Montessori environment that allowed him to work at his own pace while being challenged to master new skills and concepts. Mrs. Foy was Matt’s primary teacher and we appreciated the high level of individual attention he received and the open communication with us.

When it came time for Matt to move to elementary, there was never a question that he would continue at Arborland. He did so well during his first year in lower elementary, that Mrs. Chen and the lower and upper elementary teachers requested that he be moved to upper elementary at the age of 6. While being proud of his academic achievement, we were very concerned about his emotional development. There was tremendous effort made by the entire staff to insure that Matt fit in and did not get “lost in the shuffle”. We were also impressed that the Arborland staff was so knowledgeable of Matt’s strengths and weaknesses as an individual and they were able to offer thoughtful insights as how to best assist Matt in achieving his full potential.

The breadth of the curriculum, including the extra-curricular activities such as music, computer, gymnastics, broadcasting and school newspaper were also factors in us deciding to have Matt remain at Arborland through his sixth grade graduation and for us to enroll Matt’s younger brothers Kevin, now 6 and Alex, 5, at the school. As parents with multiple children know, even siblings can be very different when it comes to their academic and emotional needs and our children are no exception. The individual attention and focus on the entire child, rather than just the academic side, has proven to be a wonderful experience for our children and us as well.

We will be the first to say that things have not been perfect in our children’s relationship with Arborland. Though rare, there have been situations where we were not satisfied that our kids were receiving the educational support we thought they needed. In each case, without exception, we brought our concerns to the attention of Mrs. Chen. She listened to us, arranged meetings with the teachers and staff, and quickly resolved the issues to our satisfaction. We have come to believe that Mrs. Chen cares deeply for all her students and will always attempt to do what is in their best interest.

Matt graduated from Arborland and moved on to Parks Junior High where as an eighth grader, he has maintained a 4.0 GPA including Honors Geometry which he takes at Sunny Hills High School. We feel Matt’s Arborland experience prepared him well for both academic and social success. Kevin and Alex are also beginning to blossom and we look forward to them completing their elementary education at Arborland.

Date of Posting: 23 March 2011
Posted By: Mr. Schnablegger

Testimonial from Mary Kay & Dann Oyama

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“The choice of a Montessori education for our daughters has been a decision that has proven to be very rewarding for our entire family. Our journey on this path began in 1992 as we searched for a kindergarten for our oldest daughter, Rachel. After researching several schools with various program options, we chose a Montessori school in our neighborhood in Whittier. Rachel was placed in Mrs. Snider’s primary class with Mrs. Stolzman as the class assistant. In the Montessori environment with these special educators, Rachel thrived.

Because of our satisfaction with her primary experience, we moved Rachel up to lower elementary the following year at that same school. Again, the self-paced, challenging structure offered within a Montessori curriculum served Rachel well. The opportunity to have interaction with the older children in her classroom also contributed greatly to her academic, emotional and social development.

The following year it was time for Kolleen, our youngest daughter, to begin kindergarten. There was no question that we would choose a Montessori education for her. Due to several factors, we elected to transfer both girls to Arborland Montessori Children’s Academy. The environment at Arborland has proven to be a warm, caring and academically rich one. The educators, Mrs. Chen and her staff, other students and their families have all contributed to nurturing our daughters. In such a supportive atmosphere, our girls have developed into well rounded students. But, more importantly, Kolleen and Rachel are becoming good, kind, responsible individuals.

While no school curriculum, environment, staff or student body is perfect, we have and continue to be pleased with the overall education our daughters are receiving from Arborland Montessori Children’s Academy. Regardless of which path our family takes through junior high and beyond, we have the certainty that Rachel and Kolleen will have developed the tools they need to be both academically and socially successful.”

Date of Posting: 23 March 2011
Posted By: Mary Kay and Dann Oyama

Testimonial from Danny & Christine Gheen

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The choice for our children’s education was a major decision for us, as it is with all parents. After looking into several private schools in the area we decided the Montessori education would be the best for us. Our major reasons for choosing Arborland Montessori Children’s Academy were:
1.A strong phonics and reading program,
2.A strong academic program emphasizing science, math and social studies,
3.Small class sizes,
4.Individual attention geared to each child’s level and needs,
5.Enhanced education through peer tutoring (older students are encourage to teach the younger students,
6.>Safety was a major factor, children are safe behind a locked gate and have to be signed in and out of school each day,
7.The extra curricular activities for the students wishing to take advantage of dance, gymnastics, martial arts, etc.,
8.A very strong emphasis on student performances allowing them to become poised public speakers.

We have 3 children Danelle 11 in the 5th grade. Her teachers are Ms. Foy and Miss Shiltz. Both are friendly and more than willing to let us know if there are any problems or how she is doing. Our second child is Vannesa 9 in the 3rd grade. Her teachers are Miss Libertad and Ms. Warmbier. Miss Libertad always has time to talk to all the parents on a daily basis, just to keep in touch, Ms. Warmbier is new this year but is very friendly and always pleasant. And our 3rd child is Brentt 7 and in 2nd grade. His teachers are Mrs. Salzman and Mrs. Stoltzman. Both are great teachers. Mrs. Salzman has had time to let me know about Brentt on a daily basis. All the staff have been good to us too. Mrs. Martinez and Mrs. Chen will always ask how things are. We have always felt that all children should be given a chance for a better education. Our children are getting that education at Arborland Montessori. The staff and children alike are very caring. The academics as well as the social and emotional development of all our children seem to be on track. I feel that our children are in good hands and becoming more responsible by the day.
We hope that Danelle, Vannesa and Brentt will be socially and academically successful in life because of the education that they have received at Arborland Montessori. In summary, Montessori offers the children a strong academic foundation while allowing them to flourish and providing every child opportunity at public performing.

Date of Posting: 23 March 2011
Posted By: Danny and Christine Gheen