This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted February 09, 2014
- a parent
My son started at La Scuola last year in 1st grade, we couldn't be happier. The school is a gem, the teachers and staff love their jobs and deeply care about the kids. The integrated curriculum and project based learning approach is great. Kids are learning everywhere, in the garden, classroom, the city on field trips, art room. It is all connected & well planned. We are not Italian, but we wanted a good international education and the IB program really appealed to us. Since this is a startup school, I believe the leadership is a very good predictor of how well the school will continue to do as it grows. The head of the school is a brilliant, dedicated and energetic woman, she really understands kids and cares about what's best for them. She is very creative and resourceful and always finds solutions to any problem. The staff and the teachers are very competent, energetic, work very well together and engage the parents in meaningful ways. In my kid's previous school parents were treated as free resources, not at La Scuola. The community is very tight and each of us bring a different expertise. Most importantly my son loves going to school every morning, nothing beats that.
My twin girls first started in the pre-school program at La Scuola when they were three and a half and they are now almost seven years old in 1st grade. I am thrilled with La Scuola and my children are completely thriving. They love going to school and I love seeing them so keen to learn and so curious about the world. My daughters speak Italian and English and are able to speak confidently about projects they are working on at school. They have a wonderful and warm relationship with all their teachers, fellow students, Italian chefs and the admin staff. They fully enjoy the variety of art, math, science, music, literacy, gym and gardening aspects of their days and the wonderful Italian hot lunches too!
Our son is in Kindergarten at La Scuola and we couldn't be happier. The teachers are amazing - highly qualified and experienced, warm and engaged. The approach - Reggio Emilia inspired and now orienting toward the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (La Scuola is SF's first candidate school!) is very progressive, interdisciplinary, project-based - but also fundamentally a sound education rooted in deep knowledge of pedagogical theory and child development. After all, how many schools in SF employ a full time pedagogista? The kids are learning all of the requisites (and they are woven together in compelling ways to keep the kids engaged and to bring reading, math and science to life) and they also enjoy great extracurriculars such as gardening and soccer. The "perks" such as a hot homemade lunch everyday are not bad either! I am confident that our son will thrive and that his education here will provide him with a 21st century education and will make him a true global citizen.
This is our first school/child care experience for our 2.5 year old son and (being new parents) we were very concerned about making sure that he would be well taken care of, feel safe and have fun in the environment. La Scuola has proven to be a wonderful home away from home for him and he now races in when we drop him off. The school is deeply committed to their philosophy and to the children - I personally love their genuine belief that children should be respected and paid attention to, which is illustrated through their Reggio Emilia approach. The preschool is wonderful and they are in the process of expanding to K-8 (yay!). We are thrilled to be part of the community!
Note: this review is for the pre-school La Scuola, formerly known as La Piccola Scuola Italiana (LPSI). I sent my older child to LPSI for 5 years, until he went off to Kindergarten. My younger child is in his third year at La Scuola now, so I have 8 years of combined experience as a parent at LPSI/La Scuola. The pre-school, in its new since 2010 location, is an incredible place for a young child to explore the world and develop his social skills in fun and happy environment. The Italian immersion for us has been particularly important and La Scuola deliver on that. A unique and great advantage of the school is he amazing food prepared by the on-site, full-time cooks. These kids are so lucky and they don't even know it! On top of that, I would also mention the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education and the integral part of the environment. If you visited the school you know what I am talking about. The teachers are very caring and I also trusted La Scuola to be a very safe place, striking the right balance between ensuring the safety of the kids and at the same time allowing them to explore the world around them.
i have a 3 year old boy who has attended La Scuola since he was a toddler (Spazio Gioco). I have found the teachers and staff to be incredibly caring and nurturing and they know the children-- their likes, dislikes, moods, needs. My son loves the food, the chef, the songs, the YARD, the garden and most of all, he loves learning. He is creative, social, curious and perfectly trilingual. What more could you ask for? ...A K-8 school that delivers the same goods-- and now they have one.
I have two children attending the Pre-K program at La Scuola, it is our third year in the program. Everything has been great. My children love their teachers and are learning Italian very well. The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching is great and my kids seem to do very well with it. All the teachers and staff are well educated, experienced, caring and attentive to the student's needs. There's a Italian cook on site that prepares snacks and lunches for the children. Their table manners learned at school have been a blessing at home. There is a great parent community to support the teachers, school and each other.
This is for the new K-8. This is our second year at the school. We feel very involved in what's happening day to day and long term. It's definitely a startup, and has teething troubles now and again, but the teachers and the principal are devoted to the kids. As someone else said, the K-8 isn't Reggio Emilia per-se although it's clearly inspired by the constructivist ideas from that school region. It is applying to be an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program school. Our kid is super happy there, and has grown tremendously.
In response to the one-star review below, I disagree with the reviewer's assessment of the Reggio Emilia practices at LPSI. My daughter has attended the school since 2010 ( the first year at the "new" space) and both my husband and I are delighted with her progress. The teachers send weekly "momenti della vita" newsletters with pictures of the children, written transcripts of conversations between the kids and an overview of what the children were interested in that week. At each parent-teacher conference I was presented with several pictures of my child, along with samples of their artwork and projects, and suggestions for playdates. I'm unsure if the previous reviewer's child attends the preschool or the K-8, but the cornerstone of the preschool IS it's Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum. By definition, Reggio Emilia education applies to preschool learning, so the elementary school is not Reggio Emila-inspired, but rather International Baccalaureate (IB), which promotes the same sort of explorative and creative learning as RE. Overall, we are immensely pleased with every facet of the school and are sending our daughter to the young K program in the fall. I highly recommend.