Mission Bay Montessori Academy

2640 Soderblom Avenue, San Diego, CA 92122
(858) 457-5895

(out of 10)

Private Grades PK-6 395 students 10 students/teacher (CA avg is 21)

Test Scores by grade

About this school

Mission Bay Montessori Academy is a private elementary school in San Diego. The principal of Mission Bay Montessori Academy is Ms. Nan Madden and can be contacted at nmadden@mbmacademy.com. 395 students attend Mission Bay Montessori Academy and are mostly Hispanic; White, non-Hispanic; and Asian/Pacific Islander. The ratio of students to teachers at Mission Bay Montessori Academy is 10:1. Alcott Elementary School is one of the nearest elementary schools.

Extracurricular activities


  • Band
  • Ceramics sculpture
  • Chorus
  • Computer arts
  • Dance
  • Drawing painting
  • Orchestra
  • Theater drama

Languages Taught

  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Mandarin
  • Spanish


  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Gymnastics
  • Martial arts self defense
  • P.E. classes
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Track
  • Yoga

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
Hispanic 7% %
White, non-Hispanic 52% %
Asian/Pacific Islander 40% %
Asian 38% %
Black, non-Hispanic 1% %
Native American or Native Alaskan 0% %
Multiracial 0% %
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0% %

Community ratings & reviews

  • (11 months ago)

    MBMA is a challenging academic program. My child completed sixth grade with exceptional test scores and he was accepted at all 3 academic powerhouses in San Diego. Many students have private tutors so they will excel in math & language. Many of the students are tutored because their parents want to give them any and every advantage available to them. I hired a tutor for my very bright son. He was not behind in anything. This is a trend and more and more parents hire private tutors for smart children. My child had an amazing education there. Take a tour. Talk with the teachers. My son was in room 4 a one/ two combo class. He had weekly book reports bi- weekly creative writing assignments research reports two different math books daily math sprints model drawing monthly book projects and more. He tested at the end of year at the 4th grade level overall. He was a first grader. He can pick up any book and tell you what genre it is. How many adults can do that? He loved room 10 also. He participated in mock courtroom trials and advanced mathematics. This is an excellent school.

  • (12 months ago)

    The teachers don't really teach much in the elementary school. They say the kids learn on their own pace so the parents can't know if they are on track or not. Many families hire tutors or send their kids to after school programs for math and language classes. Even in the children's house many families have tutors to teach reading and writing to their kids. The teachers make the parents feel like their kids have some problems. They put a lot of pressure on the kids and families. We were very relieved when we put our kids to another school.

  • (1 year ago)

    MBMA is an excellent school. The teachers are very hard working and care about each child. While the school is private it is an excellent value compared with other private schools in the area. I disagree with the parent review from 8/14/2014. I have found that the teachers and administration work at lengths to help children be successful and are willing to make accommodations if needed. I have seen the teachers and director meet with children and their parents who are having difficulties to try and help students be successful socially and academically. There is a speech therapist on site at MBMA who is outstanding and can help children with social skills. Unfortunately there are times when a family may need more resources than a private school can provide or than a family is willing to accept.

  • (1 year ago)

    My thoughts on writing instruction at MBMA in the upper elementary grades MBMA offers a very strong foundation for middle school writing expectations to its students in the upper elementary grades. As a college writing instructor and writing program administrator I am acutely aware of how difficult it is to maintain such a strong program; and as a parent I am aware of how difficult it is to find one in a school. The writing instruction at MBMA offers the kinds of sustained directed practice and consistent meaningful feedback that Malcolm Gladwell and other researchers advocate the kinds of practice and feedback that build strong confident writers. Research made popular by Malcolm Gladwell (in Outliers The Story of Success) demonstrates that success whether in sports music computer science or business can be traced to meaningful practice. He makes a compelling case that a crucial foundation for learning anything effectively must include constant deliberate practice of important basic skills coupled with meaningful feedback. MBMA s writing curriculum is a great model for what he describes. Holly Bauer Ph.D. Writing Program Administrator UC San Diego Faculty

  • (1 year ago)

    To continue from my previous post Some may wonder if the more traditional approach to teaching writing skills is warranted in an age in which a flurry of technological innovations is changing how and where and why we write. I would argue it is students who are confident skilled writers in one realm will transfer what they have learned to new writing tasks and contexts. Teachers at MBMA create classroom environments that allow students to experience what Gladwell calls the miracle of meaningful work. In my teaching at UC San Diego I often find myself wishing that more of my first-year college students had experienced the kind of work my son did in the upper elementary grades at MBMA. In fact it is difficult to imagine a school in which sixth graders receive more sustained practice and meaningful feedback than they do in the program at MBMA. Holly Bauer Ph.D. Writing Program Administrator UC San Diego Faculty

  • (1 year ago)

    After eight years at MBMA our child is completing sixth grade and like the other sixth graders will be attending a top San Diego school in the Fall. While recently going through the entrance processes for the next school it was very clear that MBMA is a strong feeder school. Many of the Students move on to Bishops Francis Parker and La Jolla Country Day. The sixth grade class is well respected as independent well prepared and well rounded students. Most have attended for over 5 years. Each grade at MBMA offers a new level of personal development education and experiences. Though we are excited about our next school we will miss the staff and families that have been such a big part of our student's growth and happiness at MBMA. We are already planning to come back for a visit!

  • (1 year ago)

    This school is not safe. We had a tour of this school and decided not to enroll our child. Anyone can enter this school easily. We asked the principle how she ensures the security of the children she said for the first two weeks of school there is an ID check when picking up your child. Then the teachers know the parents so they don't need an ID check. But we visited the school next day and entered the preschool side entered a classroom no one asked us who we were. The teachers at the gates didn't even seem to be aware of us. They were chatting with other teachers. The gates are really low even a 3 year-old can jump over easily. The elementary part doesn't even has a gate you can just walk into classrooms. If children decide to run off from school it is very easy. Or if someone convinces a kid to walk away with him I don't think anyone would notice. All the other schools we toured had much better security. There were gates and the gates were locked during school hours. The parents can only pass through an office so it is not possible for strangers just walk into classrooms. If you are concerned for the safety of your children do not choose this school.

  • (2 years ago)

    MBMA is a great school with strong focus on teaching a solid curriculum as well as building a solid value system in children. We love the Math English & Science program curriculum. Music and Art programs are very strong. Teachers are highly experienced with at least 10 years of experience in the respective class levels. Children are treated with much respect and their interests are gently honed towards learning concepts that will last a last a lifetime. Children are trained to be responsible at an early age. Bad behavior in children is addressed strictly and immediately but with compassion. I would highly recommend the school for children aged 3-11. Especially for families with traditional backgrounds looking for overall development.

  • (2 years ago)

    MBMA elementary is a wonderful school. It may not be for every family but if it is the right fit for your child it will be a great experience. The regular classroom curriculum is challenging but the children end up being quite independent and know their stuff. Where the school really shines is with the additional classes All students take music science art Spanish PE and computer classes each week. These are the important things that are being cut from the public school system but MBMA has truly outstanding teachers for these additional classes and the students love them. They also integrate the curriculum across the classes (for example they learn to use spreadsheets in computer class by using data they collected in science class). I'll also add that it is a great school for working parents. The hours are reasonable (8 15-3 00) and there is on-site after hours care as well as many on-site extra-curricular activities.Hot lunches are organic from Ki's! Cons Kids who didn't start off in a elementary school like MBMA may have trouble transitioning depending on maturity level. After paying tuition expect some additional fees ($10-40) esp. at the beginning of the year.

  • (2 years ago)

    We have are just finishing our best summer session yet at MBMA and are looking forward to starting the next academic year. I have two active boys and am impressed with the balance between structured classroom activities and unstructured time such as exploratory nature walks to the nearby park and gravity demonstrations/experiments during science class on the playground. My children have learned their multiplication tables at MBMA as well as how to ride a bike. I have been pleased with various teachers ability and flexibility to identify targeted educational approaches in consideration of learning style and individual personality type. There are so many additional enrichment opportunities for the students including Chinese lessons singing band and art lessons that are not available at many schools. I am thankful that my children have the opportunity to attend school in an academically well-rounded and rich environment with a caring faculty.

  • (2 years ago)

    Horrible. My chief complaint is that the school isn't really Montessori; true Montessori programs are flexible and make use of the "prepared environment" to stimulate learning. MBMA uses (worn out) Montessori materials in a prep-school atmosphere even with the youngest. They shove their pink/blue/white reading cards down students' throat and foster competition. There is no tolerance for physical aggression however emotional/verbal aggression and bullying are standard fare. We watched two kids bullied over the course of the year probably both with learning disabilities and it was absolutely heartbreaking to watch them both withdraw and become anxious/sad. Teachers don't communicate well don't let you know what's going well or not and the administration is rigid and uncaring. I've never seen so many children look so unhappy. I think the administrators fancy MBMA as a school for the gifted which is fine but they need to be more honest. Lots of turnover and many many families withdrew during the school year (and even a teacher!). Bottom line if you have a gifted child who is quiet and compliant this school may be a good fit. Not a great choice for most boys.

  • (2 years ago)

    I examined 8 Montessoris and MBMA was the best. They truly recognize the potential of children. My daughters are preK and reading even writing short stories. Two years ago they transitioned from a preschool where they were doing arts and crafts. Suddenly they were naming planets talking about Beethoven's music and how much fun they have with their practical life lessons. We love the focus on independence and resulting confidence in our kids. We ourselves have raised our own expectations of our kids because of MBMA. The program has great structure. In my tour I saw a room of 20 3-5 year old kids working intently and quietly. They are respectful of the teachers and each other and even study grace and courtesy. The teachers are very knowledgeable and nurturing yet balance that with discipline. We love the exposure to all the subjects (hearing a preschooler speak Mandarin is wonderful) and exposure to the older inspiring kids on the "big side" (band plays musicals science fairs). The K side director has always been very open to feedback and available for guidance too. This is a beautiful school. I toured and was also referred by a friend/parent. I am so glad I did.

  • (4 years ago)

    Our daughter was here from K-2nd grade and we pulled her out for several reasons. While K & 1st grade were good as the grades went on we became more and more disillusioned primarily due to the rigidity of many of the teachers. If our daughter did not give them exactly the answer they were looking for they would mark it wrong EVEN if she could make a strong case explaining why she had given the answer she had. They also really load down the kids with homework much of it feeling like repetitive make-work. It all began to quash her creativity and enthusiasm about school. When we discussed this issue with the administration they said that they knew about it but that since everyone will have to deal with inflexible people at some point in their lives they might as well learn to deal with it now. Not when I'm paying for private school thank you. I want a nurturing supportive environment that celebrates creativity and encourages learning not one that just marks things wrong and says to do it again... without any positive encouragement or insight into how to improve. We definitely found this elsewhere.

  • (4 years ago)

    My son graduated from MBMA attended a top middle/high school and graduated with a 100% college acceptance rate. I was so impressed by his education at MBMA that I went on to become a montessori teacher. He received one of the finest educational foundations and as his parents we built upon it. Education is important to us. Mission Bay offers a well-rounded education at a favorable cost. The school offers advanced academics mulitple foreign languages band and fine art classes. As an educator I do not know of many programs in San Diego that have an award winning science program and a gold star level band program. After school programs range from robotics youth karate yoga Chinese class tennis lessons and chess. Almost every child in school is enrolled in band. This school is doing a lot of things right! Perhaps it is not for every student; the academic program is challenging. It has educated many students who have gone on to attend some of the finest universities in the country. I know from personal experience that teachers address learning challenges early in the school year with goal setting conferences. It is an excellent school. Go on a tour and see.

  • (4 years ago)

    Reply To the posted on October 9 2011. I do make mistakes sometimes but it is a good explanation to it. I am a Foreigner and came to this country when was 19 and didnt speak a word of English but spoke another 2 languages that YOU would never pick up because they are both in 10 of hardest languages in the world. In my case - I have graduated from UCLA with Master (double major) in your Language! If you are a Principle NAN or one of the teachers or Mary Sue (Jane) who post positive feedbacks in here just to keep stars UP it is sooo sad. Everything that is sad below is true! The school is a huge disappointment. Please consider alternatives.

  • (4 years ago)

    I am very sad to see such poor reviews of such a great school. I just spoke with another parent that decided to put her son into a very well-regarded public school for kindergarten. She told me how much he loves it since he feels like he gets to do ' arts & crafts' at school since he is now reviewing his "ABC's" in kindergarten when he was previously working on reading at MBMA. I also find it funny that parents can give a school a poor review and find it inundating with homework when they themselves cannot proof-read their reviews for spelling errors & grammatical mistakes. Maybe we should start with the basics at home....

  • (4 years ago)

    It s true about teachers most of them are miss. Most of would never tell you in your face that something is wrong in child s academic progress but only at the parents/teachers conferences which are only twice a year. We did have kids whose parents were given a choice to leave the school or repeat the grade. Some parents pulled their children out some decided to keep their kids at the school but repeat the grade. There a little support if you fall behind. Only support you get is staying and finishing your work after lunch or after school without extra explanation from teachers. And it is true some kids really pushing extra work by them. We had some kids who were cracking PSAT and ISEE books on the playground instead of playing after lunch. Would not recommend the school to any parent who cares about their child s mental wellbeing due to tremendous pressure from teachers who genuinely have no time to help your child and everything will be on parents shoulder.

  • (4 years ago)

    Many of the reviews regarding MBMA pertain to the lower school which is good but a very different experience than the upper school. This review is for the upper school. I have experience with both the upper (1-6) and the lower (preschool) schools. In the upper school the relentless pressure begins both on the parents and the students. There is an unreasonable about of homework daily. The teachers are mostly a miss. The principle is cold unempathetic and uninterested in the children. We quickly learned to avoid her. And yet she is the leader and sets the tone for the school. The positives for us was the wonderful music teacher Miss Deb the Boo Festival and some good educational tools in the classroom. However there is a certain joylessness and coldness to this school and for us we (child and parents) didn't relize how unhappy we were until this school was no longer a part of our lives and the principle atmosphere and pressure was gone. Now we are smiling again and our child is enjoying school and learning once more.

  • (4 years ago)

    I agree with some parents in here who are not satisfied with overall academic performance in this school. I would agree that Lower school has high Montessori background but when it comes to grades 1 6 you will start seeing gaps in their education system. Of course according Stanford Tests that they publish on their website for 5th and 6th graders look impressive with above average students performance but in majority of times it is not school s credit. Many kids study on their own at home some have tutors after school and many parents who are well educated make extra academic work typical routine after school. If you as a parent have ambitions to get your child into a good school after Mission Bay Montessori don t rely on their academics get the best tutors that you can afford to prepare your child for ISEE.

  • (4 years ago)

    This is a wonderful school with rigorous academics and a rich curriculum. The teachers are very kind and loving but firm and expect a lot from the kids. The elementary school stays true to Montessori philosophy that learning is an individual endeavor rather than a group activity. Unit work is taught in a more traditional group setting while reading and math are more one on one especially in the lower grades. The student to teacher ratio is very good - often a 1 5 ratio due to how the childrens' day is structured. If you are considering this school you have to see beyond the exterior; there is no beautiful landscaping or state of the art facilities. The beauty of the school is the educational program itself.

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Overall score

(based on 59 ratings & reviews)

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