We found Carden Hall to be very unique and a perfect fit for our family. Key differences from other schools: (1) Teachers do not rely on computers to figure out who is on task or not. There is NO daily keyboarding class or math instruction ON THE COMPUTER for the lower grades. This is a huge difference from most other schools. The focus is on things that are tangible/hands-on learning. Stemming from this is an emphasis on learning cursive writing in first grade, which is supported by research that shows better cognitive development when you write notes and not type them. Etc. (2) Twice weekly assemblies OUTSIDE (and yes they drag out the piano each time) that focus on building community through sharing universal values (respect, honesty, etc.), leadership training, public speaking, and of course music instruction (the students sing classical American traditional songs as well as seasonally appropriate music.) There is an opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance as well. (The religious factor: it's Judeo-Christian prayer-focused- not one specific religion. Think of an opening prayer of a session of Congress, or at West Point.) (3) The most PE minutes of any local school. If you take advantage of the supervised play time in the morning, from 7:30 am, you get a lot of outdoor exercise! They also do not have any plastic modern playground structure that is ubiquitous elsewhere; it is traditional metal jungle gym that allows kids to be more creative and take more risk, and of course is a more "real" material. (This balances with the focus of their more structured PE program). You can probably guess that we are thrilled to find a school that has not caved in to all the latest trends, nor do they have excessive numbers of administrators, nor are they engaging in an "arms race" to have the best library or gym - -this also keeps tuition lower than other schools. There is also no fundraising, no volunteering, and no homework until fourth grade. This is all very unique, and very helpful so we can spend more time together as a family. And yes our boys love school - it is hard work and challenging, but the school day is very efficient (they don't waste time here!). You really have to tour the school, see the classroom in action to understand how very special this community is, and see if it's a good fit for your values and your family.
We love Carden! We enrolled our oldest daughter at Carden Hall in first grade (she will be an 8th grader next year!) after we attended their open house. After a rough start in another school, our daughter thrived at Carden. The small classroom sizes, Carden Method and exceptional staff are top notch. Our younger daughter started there in kinder and loves it too. I could go on and on about the wonderful things at Carden, but my favorite thing is how equally treated I feel each student is.... Without fundraising or having to compete with big school donators there is equality amongst everyone. We all pay the same amount, there are no buildings built because a family has donated this or that... it is the children's school. It belongs to them.
There is a rich history in the 50+ yrs of CH. It's not the "flashy" Newport, it's "Classy" timeless Newport Beach that is simple, clean, pure and rich in character and tradition. CH has made us a better parents and a better family. I encourage everyone to check out the other schools, as we did, because CH isn't necessarily the right fit for everyone. Being humble is a trait that is respected and valued at CH.We have 2 boys who have attended here for the past 6 years. Prior to CH, they were in Montessori & we tried 1 yr in public school. Considering private school was never on our family's radar until we experienced what public school has become. CH provides our kids with a safe, morally grounded & wonderful environment where they have absolutely excelled. We write 1 tuition check & there is no fundraising or hidden costs like so many of the other schools. Our family has more time together inpart b/c the kids don't have homework until after 4th grade & we get about 3 weeks more vacation time every year. Academically CH is very strong, principled, and purposeful in their approach. Our kids are happy & better people when we pick them up after school- that's a cool feeling :-)
We had the privelege to find and have our two daughters attend Carden Hall for their Entire K-8 education. The concepts of self-discpline structured academics and personal growth and maturity were outstanding!! This is not a "come for a while" school; the carefully structured cirriculum buids one year upon anther, and builds knowledge,self esteem and success ,preparing for achievement in life. Carden Hall Built the solid foundation in both daughters for High School,University and Graduate studies. Honor students; Phi Beta kappa, and successful Graduate school matriculation for both. Both fondly and thankfully credit Carden Hall for the foundations which made HS and beyond easy!
After moving from a very strong public school in Northern California and being completely underwhelmed by the academics and overcrowding at the Newport public schools, we were happy to find in Carden Hall a place where our three children are absolutely thriving. This is a school that cherishes the joy and spirituality of children while maintaining a strong academic rigor. My children want me to take them early to school every day so they can play before class which says how comfortable they feel here. French, PE, music, art daily and they are easily ahead of the public school curriculum down here. We couldn't be more grateful.
Carden Hall is fine for what it is; it will give an average child a good, solid foundation in academics. If your child is bright he/she will be bored. There is no flexibility built into the curriculum, so no one is allowed to "take the ball and run with it." If your child is already a rule follower, chances are they will wither under the extreme discipline. I heard from a mother that the teachers at her preschool told parents of boys with discipline problems to send their boys to Carden Hall. My son attended with those boys and it did not go well. My daughter was not allowed to read the books she chose; she's always been a reader, ahead of grade level. It's wrong to hold kids back. So, if you have a child of average intelligence, send him/her to Carden Hall. They will help you create a good corporate citizen.
I have two of my children at Carden Hall, our third is too young, and I have been beyond thrilled with the education and character building this school has offered. The curriculum is outstanding. In my observations it was impressive to witness the teacher's observation to detail. I know there are many that feel that the school is a bit "old fashioned" but I for one am thankful that in this crazy digital age my children have a peaceful place where they can be KIDS. Too often the importance of manners and social graces are discounted so I have been very pleased that these are both a great part of the schools teachings.
We moved from the east coast from very academically motivated backgrounds and could not find a school in the area that we were happy with. Carden Hall was an oasis when it comes to teaching education, culture, morals...The teachers are all excellent as well as the admin staff. My child is 1-2 years ahead of most other schools and everybody she comes in contact with raves about how she presents herself and her manners and respect (she is 8). I dont know how the sports and curriculum is in the sciences/technology in the older grades but I know the language/arithmetic and moral grounding is exceptional in the younger grades. My child also knows how to sing beautifully and can recite Psalm 100 and poetry. They also learn French from the very youngest grades and have a view of the ocean. Highly recommended amidst the chaos, materialism and lacking priorities of SoCal!