I've been meaning to post this since Sunday, but haven't gotten around to it until now. On Sunday afternoon, Eric, Cate, and I toured the brand new Pleasant Ridge Montessori School. It's right up the street from our house and will be Cate's school once she turns 3 (they start them in preschool). One of my roommates and good friends from Miami is a Montessori teacher in Maryland. After talking with her and doing some reading on our own, Eric and I have been convinced that we want to start Cate out in a Montessori school. If you Google "Montessori", there are a ton of websites that come up if you want to know more.
Anyway, we're fortunate enough to have a great public Montessori school practically in our own backyard. The new school is absolutely beautiful. The floor plan is nice and open with a lot of areas for large group activities. We met the principal (even though school is still a few years away for Cate and we're not rushing it by any means), some of the teachers, and a few other babies who won't be starting for a few more years either.
Another thing we learned on our tour is that Pleasant Ridge Montessori is a "green" school. All the products used to clean the school are green, the school's position and large windows allow for maximum use of daylight vs. artificial light, the lights in the hallways are motion sensitive so that they turn out when no one is in the hallway, between each floor there is a specific design to help with heating efficiency, and the list goes on. In fact, PRM is the first elementary school in Ohio to pursue LEED Certification (a government certification for "green" building- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
Pleasant Ridge Montessori is also a feeder school for Clark Montessori, which was the country's first Montessori Jr./Sr. high school. Clark Montessori is back in our old neighborhood of Hyde Park, and is just down the street from the apartment Eric and I lived in when we first got married.
I know Cincinnati Public Schools have had their share of problems that plague large, urban districts. The schools can sometimes be hit or miss depending on neighborhood. But this one is fantastic. If you're in the area and have the chance to check it out, it's definitely worth it.