My goddaughter has attended Malena’s winter, spring and summer camp for years. She loves it. The teachers are great and they go on fun and exciting field trips almost everyday.
Malena's has the best Teachers and staff! The children learn so much and are well prepared to start school.
My son attended this school for their summer camp program. It was over priced and the front office person was lethargic and unprofessional. They issued my son a cheap & ugly plain white "summer camp" T-shirt that was two sizes too big. The overall attitude is that they are doing you a "favor" by watching your child. If it is in your budget to spend 130-150$ a week for a summer camp, I suggest you go to La Petite Academy. This school is a waste of your money. Needless to say, I am telling everyone I know to stay far, far away.
I had my little one in this school when he was one. The reviews about kids being singled out as "bad" is true. When my son first started, he was doing perfect & I had no complaints. Everyone there knew his name and would claim, "He's my fav!" When he started getting to where he was ready to move up to the 2 year old class, all of a sudden they were having behavioral issues with him. They wanted me to work on the issues at home, but how can you work on something that your child is not doing when they are with you & the only person having those "issues" with him is the teacher? Funny how none of the other teachers would be having issues with him. Even sometimes when I picked him up, he would be in the 2 year old class and that teacher would always tell me how well behaved he was. When his regular teacher went out on vacation, the substitute had no issues at all. The director even admitted it but said that it was probably because she was not used to the kids and didn't have time to note behavioral issues. I do think it's hilarious though, that when they told me I would have to look elsewhere, that I was also told to call them back in a year & for him to come back then. Also, what the reviewer said previously about them telling you that your child would be better off in an at home daycare because your child requires more one on one attention, must be their standard line because I was told the same exact thing! My son also had trouble with his speech, but not because he was slow, it was because he would use the sign language that they were teaching instead of speaking. He picked up on it so well that he was actually teaching me sign language & would do it constantly at home instead of speaking. The director labeled him as slower & not on the same level as the others. Crazy how he's excelling now and on certain things is on a 4 year old level.
If you have a two year old boy, stay away from this daycare! When we first enrolled my son, we read all the reviews across multiple websites, and we blew off the ones that said this was a bad school because there are so many good reviews. For the first year, our son was in the 1-yr-old room with Ms. Stephanie and he had a wonderful time! She is loving and sweet and really cares about the kids she watches. Then our son was moved to the 2-yr-old room with Ms. Lillie and we have had nothing but problems ever since. She is not a kind and caring person, but is very authoritarian and overly strict. The children are placed on a schedule that rotates to a new activity every 15 minutes and does not allow for much free time. Bad behavior is dealt with in a reactive manner where the child only learns that their behavior will be met with cruelty and vocally demeaning attention. It only escalates the situation. The director is as ridiculous as the owner and will leave your child in time outs for well over 20 minutes because she has "other things to do." She will then tell you that your child needs to be placed in a "developmentally slow" home care setting because he is clearly not capable of being in a normal daycare. Our son has high marks on multiple scales of intelligence and cognition, is developmentally above average physically, and only has a slight delay in speech because they taught him sign language during the first year instead of speaking. Malena herself is a horrible person, rude and condescending, and only cares about the bottom line. She labeled our son as "problem child" when he was acting in a developmentally appropriate manner. The teacher will ignore other children hitting this "problem child" until the child is forced to retaliate. He is then reprimanded for bad behavior. We watched this happen with my own two eyes (the day we withdrew him from the school permanently). Unfortunately, the teachers there are incapable of redirection or positive change to deal with minor misbehavior (i.e. putting him in time out instead of forcing him to comply). I wish we had paid more attention to previous complaints about Malena latching on and picking on a child until they are removed from the program. We will never give this school a positive rating and only wish we had heeded the warnings of parents who came before us.
I agree with several of the other reviewers.... all Malena cares about is the money. There is zero flexibility when it comes to summer camp. You get one week off at no charge for vacation. If you need to pull your kids out for whatever reason, you are charged half the total amount. And for what? Malena says it's because she has food/field trips/transportation etc. set up. But you're NOT WATCHING MY KID! I've never heard of a summer camp being so inflexible. In my case, there are family health issues that require me to be out of town every few weeks. She could care less. And on a similar note, the week of the 4th of July when Malenas was closed for the holiday, she did NOT prorate the tuition for the week. Really? So you, Malena, got paid for a full 5 days from all of the families, but you were only open for 4 days. I will never take my kids there again. There are too many other great options in the area!
Malena's is a premiere VPK in Pensacola. The the teachers are excellent and very loving.
I'm leaving a 1 star because the option for negative 1,000 wasn't available. Mrs. Malena IS HORRIBLE!!! She put her hands on my childs face. She told my 4 year old that she needed to be scared of her. What ADULT tells a child they NEED to be scared of them. She has also done other stuff too. I wrote a 3 page letter to some higher up people and they told me its not the first this has happened. She is a horrible, mean, and just out right rude lady to the parents and children. My neighbor who also took her child there yanked him out immidiately after seeing how Mrs. Malena talked down to my child. If I could say what I really wanted to say about her and her place this would not get posted. I'm keeping it nice...believe me! DONT SEND YOUR CHILDREN HERE! SHE NEEDS TO BE SHUTDOWN!!!!