I’ve been honorary aunt/grandmother to many LWS children. Some of “my kids” are through college now. Worth noting how many credit their success — scholarships, career, relationships —to what LWS gave them. Education is so information oriented now— teaching to the test. Ironic, when the world is changing so fast, information is obsolete before the degree is earned. Success is how quickly you can learn, how easily you can adapt, how creatively and joyfully you can respond. The emphasis on pure academics — to the detriment of creating well-rounded individuals — makes even academics difficult to achieve. Develop the whole person and learning comes effortlessly. That’s what happens at LWS. Cutting edge research in education is looking more and more like Living Wisdom School. Yes, it is different. But different is what is needed now.
This is an update of my review of LWS from 2102. I have both my children there for the past 5 years. Both are doing great! As an education researcher, I see that the rest of the field is just now becoming aware of the pivotal role of self-regulation and executive function. LWS has a rich tradition of equipping students with content AND the tools to become self-directed learners. When you know HOW to learn, you can learn almost anything.
A natural question that some parents have, is can children have a loving, joyful learning experience in K-8 AND still be prepared for life after LWS? The answer is YES! We have lots of evidence of this.
Last spring's survey of LWS graduates (since 2011) showed that alum have an average grade point average of 3.85. Furthermore, Living Wisdom School graduates have gone to Stanford, almost all of the U.C. campuses, Cornell, University of Michigan, NYU, Goergetown, Oberlin, Bowdoin, Dublin U. in Ireland, London College in England, University of Breman, in Germany, U. of Washington, Loyola Marymount, San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
The school is a wonderful community, preparing not only students as "learners", but also students as happy, productive, and fulfilled people.
This school produces exceptional human beings, there’s no doubt about that. You will likely never meet a child who's more poised, confident and who demonstrates such impressive public speaking skills than graduates of LWS. However, this alone isn't enough for the alarming number of families who leave every year creating a huge turnover. Our children went through the lower grades at this school and we couldn’t have been happier with the love and nurturing they received in pre-k through 1st grade. But as they moved up in grades, we realized the quality of academics was subpar to a lot of the private schools and no better than the public schools in the vicinity. According to our family’s experience, most of the families who leave either have doubts about the level of academics or after having a disagreement with the director, who has a reputation for being hostile and unyielding to parents concerns. We think families of potential students need to know these facts in order to make an informed decision before enrolling. Also, we’ve noticed quite of high number of families supplementing with outside tutoring and math/science classes, though this may just be the culture of Palo Alto. We wouldn’t take those early years of enrollment away for the world, but the school’s idea of academic excellence does not sync with ours.
I am a teacher at Living Wisdom School. I have taught at various schools in the Bay Area over the many years that I have been teaching, and none can compare to LWS. The curriculum is innovative and challenging, but, more important, the children, their families and the staff are happy. There is a strong sense of community at LWS. The children learn to respect themselves and their schoolmates. They learn to resolve conflicts honestly and with kindness. They are encouraged to learn to their highest potential, and the class numbers are small enough to ensure instruction that meets each child's individual needs. I wish I had known about LWS when my own children were in school. There is so much laughter and so much joy! It is a such a pleasure to come to school every day, to be met with smiles and laughter from my colleagues and my students. I am very fortunate to work here. I encourage everyone to visit the Living Wisdom School website, and to be sure to read our School Rules; they say it all!
My son began attending Living Wisdom School in sixth grade. Middle school years can be tumultuous and an opportunity to grow in positive or negative directions. Living Wisdom School provides a safe and nurturing setting to learn and grow both emotionally and academically. The academics are appropriately challenging while at the same time taking into consideration every child's unique learning style. Not only has my son received an excellent education, he has also grown personally by being a part of a community that fosters kindness, collaboration and joy in learning. He will graduate from Living Wisdom this year, well prepared for the years ahead and always remembering fondly the time our family spent as part of this wonderful school.
It's hard to compress the greatness of the school into a few sentences, but here are a few facts after just one year with LWS: 1. Customized education to individual kids. After the first month, my daughter's kindergarten teacher told me about her observation about my daughter's tendency to follow her friends and being afraid of taking different paths, which happened to be my biggest concern through her preschool years. The teacher has already worked on giving her chances in the day-to-day activities to take initiatives. I sent my daughter to LWS knowing she has a more advanced math but didn't mention this. By the first teacher conference, her teacher told me that they planned to move my daughter up to grade one math. Kudos to our teachers who won't miss a thing about our children! 2. The annual theatrical production gives every kid the chance to explore cultural meanings, to learn rigorous practice, to appreciate teamwork. After hearing our kids raving about how much pride they felt on the stage facing the closing applause, you know they've been through a real magical journey. My daughter says LWS is the best school and she never wants to leave. Could you ask for more?
My son has attended Living Wisdom School, since he was two and a half. We started in Seattle. He has always loved going to school. He thrives at Living Wisdom School! When we learned that we had to move for a job to come here, to California. We should have moved near the East Bay, near the location of my husband's job. Though, we moved down here, to be part of Living Wisdom School. So, my husband commutes, 4 hours a day, so that our son can go to this school. Our son would not have it any other way. He loves this school. We love this school. Now, he is in 4th grade and still loving it!
We have had two children attend LWS. The first for 8 years. And now a second for 5 years. To some it up succinctly - it is the type of school that we as parents always wanted to attend ourselves! First - just on the surface level the school has: (1) A very low student to teacher ratio (2) Highly customized student instruction (3) Curriculum that simultaneously addresses core academic requirements and supports healthy emotional development. But, beyond the surface - the school is much more. (1) The creative expression in the yearly play on a historical spiritual leader brings the school community together and consistently inspires audiences to pursue life with understanding and vigor (2) A warm and inviting environment which accelerates a student's self-growth and encourages individual expression. We could say a lot more - but, it difficult to put it down in a short review. We encourage you to contact the school and speak to a parent. They can give you the details. PS: The only reason that we did not give the school 5 stars is that we believe life is a quest for perfection! It is about the journey - not the destination.
Our son went through the middle school here after a really difficult year and a half at the local Palo Alto middle school. The difference in the quality of the teachers, the calming atmosphere, and the love and genuine caring shown by the teachers was instrumental in turning our son's life around. His comment on returning from the first day at LWS was, "I could be who I am, and didn't need to pretend to be someone one". Our daughter who has by now spent 3 years at LWS in the elementary grades has benefitted tremendously by learning the importance of caring and being nice to others and prioritizing this above and beyond other things. These important lessons are taught at LWS through example and demonstration by all the teachers and adults at school. I also want to mention the wonderful theater program here. My daughter is very interested in drama and theater and this experience at LWS has been unbelieveably great. Moreover, the production of this show with all its nuances opens all the school's children (and parents), to an understanding of what it takes to put on a grand production--an invaluable experience in my opinion.
Our son graduated from Living Wisdom School last year.He received an excellent education, was well prepared, and made an easy transition to a much larger high school. What sets this school apart is its willingness to allow the students to learn at their own pace. In so doing, the school fosters love of learning. This love of learning has made our son's academic life joyful, and given him an edge. We could not recommend Living Wisdom School more highly.