I have a 5th grader at EBI, entering in to 6th grade next year. Many have written about EBI's warmth, culture, and community which are all from my experience very unique. My son has flourished in the reflective and thoughtful environment. But even more fundamental is that I am struck, weekly if not daily, at how amazing the International Baccalaureate program is from a learning perspective. The way he is learning, both language, arts and math/science, is so much deeper than I experienced as a child. The level of reasoning, confidence, presentation and problem solving skills, etc shown by his fellow fifth graders is truly impressive. Having been at EBI for many years, it feels like the "start up" days are largely over. We have had excellent teachers for multiple years in a row, and will be moving into the middle school program next year with outstanding, experienced teachers in place. Combined with the incredible culture of families and values, great leadership/support/communication from the head of school, and the tri-lingual instruction its just better than I ever imagined for my child. (Wish I could go back in time and go through the program myself!)
We've have children at this school and find it outstanding. All 3 of our kids (with very different personalities) have thrived.
At EBI we have found everything that we would hope for in a school. We were first drawn to EBI for the Spanish immersion. It had been a deeply held priority that our children be fluent in Spanish and English. Then, as we learned more about the IB program- its scope, sequence, and style, we found that the IB approach resonated just as deeply as the Spanish immersion. The program is well-thought out, thorough, and educationally spot-on. The teachers have been incredible, so warm and enthusiastic, knowledgeable and kind. It has truly been a pleasure to become part of this community.
We chose EBI not only for its bilingual program but also for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. IB requires that the school invests in ongoing teacher development, and it clearly shows in the innovative teaching and learning methods applied. In 1st grade last year, my son's class project included building a 3-d model of a city as a way to learn about his community. One of his 2nd grade project this year entails re-designing the playground it in a way to accommodate different needs. He's applying math, writing, and science to perform skills such as polling, research, measurement, spatial understanding and presentation. Wish I could go back to school!
Our current 3rd grader transferred to EBI in the middle of Kindergarten. His teacher and the Head of School set up weekly meetings with us to make sure the transition was going smoothly and that my son was being adequately supported in the classroom. Not only did my son fall in love with the school, as did we, he picked up the spanish and couldn't wait to get up and go to school in the mornings. Now our daughter is in K at EBI and they are both engaged, challenged and developing a love of learning. We love the IB curriculum (which is successful world wide), the languages (Spanish and Mandarin) and the warm and loving community of parents and teachers at EBI.
The environment at EBI is truly exceptional. Don't believe me? Talk to the students. They are extraordinarily engaged, polite, funny and they have an individualism that shines. Rather than homogenizing the children, the IB program teaches kids, to celebrate their differences. The fact that at age 9 my daughter is fluent and comfortable in two languages, and learning a third (Mandarin) is a fantastic bonus.
After a couple of years at EBI, we moved our child to another independent school. While we were very excited about the program to start, we found it is just not ready for prime-time. The plusses: spanish immersion is great and some (but not all) teachers are warm. However, the academics are uneven though generally subpar; communication from school / teachers is mediocre. The school is stretching to expand with two campuses and without the solid foundation / experience / underpinnings (and increasing turn over). Different methods / policies are still in the works. Staff and teachers are not all on the same page as to how to "live" the vision and there appears to be core competence issues with some key staff members. The aspirations are laudable, the execution is not there YET. If language immersion is your top priority, and you are open to being part of a start-up, with the growing aches and pains, lack of attention to the whole child, and have the time to do a little home-schooling to make up for academic deficiencies, then I would say go for it. Mostly, I think this is a good pre-school and kindergarten program, but be cautious with higher grades.
Our son just started at EBI this fall, in kindergarden. He entered with no Spanish background and we do not speak it at home (he is already picking it up; Spanish words are creeping into his speech.) This school is incredible. The teachers are loving and exceptionally talented, the school administration couldn't be better, and the parent community is welcoming, friendly and energetic. We also are very happy with the IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum -- if you are unfamiliar with it take a bit of time to learn its approach to education; in my view it seems tailored to prepare our kids for the future that awaits them -- with an economy and culture that is going to be complex, diverse, rapidly changing, and global. Last -- check out some of the recent articles on the benefits of bilingual education for the development of children's brains and critical thinking skills specifically when you have a chance -- that alone should get lots of parents seriously interested in EBI, but there is so much more to appreciate -- in the East Bay this school is one of a kind.
We have been at the school since it opened six year ago and it is everything we dreamed of in a school: Deep bilingual experience (from the front desk to P.E. to music and everything in between), an incredible international curriculum that is inquiry-based and organized by projects / themes. The school has a big music focus with an incredible curriculum in this area: students play in ensembles as early as first grade, and are improvising at their concerts by 5th grade. But perhaps most importantly, on top of great academics and holistic learning, the curriculum stresses postivie character traits, and is structured around strong interpersonal interactions.
For the past two years, EBI has been a second home for our kids. The first-rate staff hail from all over the globe, providing a truly international perspective. A close-knit community of parents are deeply involved in every aspect of the school's development. Under the leadership of a dedicated director, the school is on the cusp of receiving a coveted authorization from the International Baccalaureate to teach the Primary Years Program, an amazing achievement. We feel extremely lucky to have been a part of the EBI community.
When my kids leave EBI, they will be ready for the world...and to help the world. They will be able to identify problems and opportunities in places beyond their backyards, have to the tools to take on the challenge or take on the opportunity, and will be motivated to do so.
EBI is a wonderful school full of strong parent support and fantastic school leadership. The school has come so far in such a short time. Now there is a library, a Mandarin program, in addition to Spanish. The music and arts programs are amazing, as all are the performances put on by the student body. I am proud to be a part of the EBI community.
EBI has what is, in my opinion, the most important thing in a school: dedicated and committed teachers and staff.
The staff are very caring and loving. The head of the school makes sure he knows each and every student personally. The staff stands in front of the school every morning and after school to say good bye to the children. Some even gives hugs. The children love this closeness.
EBI is an amazing school. They approaching learning from a global perspective, teaching children to consider themselves citizens of the world. Diversity is embraced and every child is welcome and celebrated. The teachers and faculty truly care about my childrens' emotional well-being as much as they care about their intellectual, creative and social development. My children are developing a wonderful sense of community and watching my children grow and learn under the care of EBI is a joy.
EBI's community, teachers and PYP curriculum make it unique and wonderful! We love the international emphasis, multilingualism and energetic, interesting and interested community!
This school is an addiction to my 5 year old in her third year. She is always bringing home some new song or project she has worked on. The staff gives regular updates to their progress and what is going on in the school. We had an opportunity to enroll her into a Berkeley public Spanish bilingual program, but couldn't imagine her anywhere else.
EBI is truly an amazing institution and community. We have two children at EBI, one in second grade and one in the preschool. We don't speak any Spanish at home, but our second grader is reading and writing Spanish and English and just started Mandarin! EBI is implementing the International Baccalaureate Program, which is just about everything a parent could want from an educational program (addresses whole child, emphasis on global citizenship, etc.). The community at EBI is fantastic as well - over 50 percent of the families are of color or mixed heritage.
I love EBI b/c the school truly reflects the values we want to see our children and our community embrace in thought and action! The kids who go to EBI are becoming living examples of critical thinkers and global citizens. They are multi-lingual, culturally competent lovers of the earth who are developing a firm understanding of how their actions and ideas can impact, for better or worse, our common humanity. They are caring, thoughful problem solvers who are learning how to think for themselves. I could not be more proud of all that EBI and its dedicated faculty, families, staff and students have accomplished in a few short years. The success of this school is a testimony to the power or being the change you want to see in the world.
In addition to providing both a loving and stimulating environment, EBI is committed to helping develop kids who are truly thinkers, risk takers, confident, respectful, compassionate...all the things we should all be when we're at our best. I know my child will not only be bilingual and biliterate but will, through his experience at this school, be able to identify a problem or situation that needs changing anywhere here or abroad....be motivated to do something...and have the skills to follow through. Bottom line: this school creates children who care, who can, and who will. What more could we want for our children and the future leaders of this world?
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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