My daughter is finishing her first year at the school as a Kindergartener. She has had a wonderful year with two very smart, caring, experienced professional teachers. They have done an incredible job of fostering the social and emotional development of the students - all teachers are trained in Responsive Classroom, which is very well-respected approach to creating a caring classroom and school community.
I was very impressed with the scope and sequence of the curriculum this year. Students studied the lifecycle of pumpkins (fall), trout (winter/spring), and now recycling (spring), and have studied trees throughout the year. Each topic is covered in every subject - math, science, language arts (reading & writing) - and related activities in art, music and Farm and Garden, followed by a culminating field trip! They have made a series of books throughout Kindergarten, with each student contributing his/her ideas, drawings and written words, and you can see the incredible growth over the course of the year.
The parent community is diverse, warm and welcoming...Most are working parents and there is robust after care, vacation camps and summer camps offered on-site with fun and engaging staff. It has a very low-key, down-to-earth feel compared to most private schools in SF.
The only place where is might not measure up to other schools is facilities. There is a very limited library by the lower school building, there is no common room space in the lower school as all events are held outside on the yard, which works well for the most part. There is no cafeteria and kids eat outside, but that seems to work well. Kids don't care at all! If you visit other schools you will see a wide range of facilities. I think their priorities are on getting and keeping good teachers rather than fancy facilities, which is how it should be.
The teachers are committed and passionate about their craft. We get weekly update by email on what they are learning, and suggested activities to do at home to support their learning. Most importantly, my daughter is excited to go to school and to learn. What a gift!
Come visit and see for yourself. This is just my experience.
Reader, stop and reflect. How many families in the world have access to the kind of schooling reviewed here? For those of us who do, what should our stance be when reflecting on our experience?
I am parent. I am also an educator. I have worked in public and private schools and have also attended them. I feel so grateful that my son has access to this school; a school that while not perfect succeeds in providing an environment that is safe, respectful, and intellectually engaging for all of those involved. YES! My son has to make the walk to the Boys and Girls Club for P.E. Along the way, he gets to interact with the real world and understand through his lived experience that nothing is perfect and even he must be impacted by the limited space and access to resources that accompany life in a city. Children’s Day School is a gem of perfect imperfection. A model of what it means to adopt a growth mindset and develop humans. Talk with parents and families and teachers. I think most of us would agree. We are grateful and very lucky to be here! And by the way, plans for middle school use of Dolores Park are underway. Meanwhile, my son who is in the lower school enjoys dining al fresco each day watching the hawks above and sharing good times with his friends. Don’t choose a school for the hype. Choose it because it feels right to you!
I've had two boys in CDS since they were in preschool. Both are now in middle school and have been recently diagnosed with ADHD. Each of my sons is being incredibly well cared for and educated at this school. The quality of the teaching is outstanding and the strong community among the kids is palpable. I feel lucky to have been part of this school for so long and to be able to watch my sons thrive at every turn. In particular, the school's support through challenges has been key in developing a strong sense of resilience in both of my sons. When they graduate, I know they will be prepared to excel in high school, academically, socially and personally.
CDS is the model of lip service...you will hear the words said many times but the substance is lacking.
They will proudly show off their great new building - but skip the part that the kids have nowhere to eat and no play space...yes, that is right, your kids have no where to play except when they walk to another gym they use for PE. Don't believe the hype.
I have two things I'd like to share about my experience at CDS so far. The first is that CDS does an outstanding job preparing students for high school. Kids graduate from 8th grade with a strong sense of who they are and how they learn. The homework they receive is always purposefully planned, and the amount is definitely less than they receive in high school (my oldest son is currently a freshman). My son definitely benefited from the gradual development of his stamina for homework, and honestly, I find a club soccer commitment to be significantly more imposing on family time than the homework commitment from CDS.
The second thing I'd like to share about CDS is that the administrators and teachers are some of the most caring human beings you would ever want to have involved in your child's life. Whether your child needs thoughtful guidance, earnest encouragement, or a little bit of both, the adults at this school always approach a child with such strong empathy that the natural result is every child puts their best foot forward. That's always what I'm going to be looking for from my child, and that's what I get from CDS.
I am a parent of a First Grader. I work in education not at CDS but I work closely with a number of Indepenent schools across Bay Area. I am fortunate that I get to see how different schools work. Most are great, but when it came time to choose a school for my child, I was very clear that CDS would be the place.Now, after a few years I have a happy child who absolutely loves going to school.
Every day I see that spark and light in her eyes as she talks to me about how she absolutely loves her teachers. I have been asked to invite all her teachers over for dinner soon!
She has an open door to go in and say hello to her Lower School head and does so most days.
Why am I not talking about curriculum and other buzz words? Because, numbers tell that story. CDS has a tremendous program but what I really care about is that my child is happy, excited and motivated to go to school. Loves learning. Loves her teachers and others who she interacts with at the school everyday. People at CDS care! Plain and simple. They care for your child and sometimes that means them speaking up and advocating for your child. I hope that parents listen because that sound advise comes from a place that wants to see your child thrive.
Go visit the school. Make up your own minds.
The teachers are very effective in Preschool and middle school 5/6th Math and Science and 7th/8th Humanities. For my son, CDS was weak in between Preschool and 5th and failed to bridge the gap, leaving the experience disjointed at best. Certainly not worth the tuition other than in middle school.
At least 2 hours per day in 5th through 8th grades! The school tries to push more lessons into each year than is possible to teach in the time available. This forces teachers to add to homework. This gives the students little time for being kids and harms family time.
I believe CDS teachers and a few administrators fosters honesty and integrity among the students, but there is pedagogically a "one size fits all" approach so kids with learning differences or who don't "fit the mold" are left out to rely on private tutors, etc.