We are extremely pleased with the transition and progress our child has made from kindergarten at another school to first grade at Carden. His progress in reading has been remarkable. We looked at many other schools before deciding to attend Carden, and we know we made the right choice given the available alternatives in the 95124-95125 area. The curriculum is excellent, our son s teacher is intelligent and communicative, and school management is highly professional and responsive. The afterschool programs are fun, structured and supervised, as opposed to just a bucket of legos (although there s opportunity for that too). It s great to see the children doing good things with their time afterschool. If the foregoing assessment changes for any reason, I will repost on this website.
The school is good in some ways, but the math program (esp. at the middle school) has serious problems. Sixth grade students are forced into pre-algebra, whether they're ready for it or not, and the course didn't move logically. They jumped around and had different topics thrown at them at once and my child got very confused. The 7th grade students do algebra over the course of 2 years. This has caused real problems for my child, who didn't get a good grounding in the basics and we have to send her to a tutor. The approach is rigid in the extreme, to the point where homework problems must be redone even if the answer is correct because a student used a method not approved the teacher.
Since this school has moved to the Dent Ave campus with a new president in Fall 2012, it has become an incredible school with amazing academics. Their entire staff is now strong, caring, university-educated teachers with teaching credentials (some with masters degrees in childhood education). They have done a wonderful job listening to all the feedback and making changes - the graduating class got multiple offers to all the private high schools.
I totally disagree with the previous comment. Having experienced both the Californian public school system and Carden this year - Carden comes out way on top. Not only are the academics good, the teachers understand that not all children learn at the same level and can differentiate to the benefit of all the students. My daughter has come on leaps and bounds academically this year. As well as the academics Carden also focuses heavily on the arts, sports and languages. It is a very well rounded curriculum. The pastoral side is also strong and the students know exactly what is expected of them behaviour wise and are taught to be caring individuals. The only shame for me personally is the this type of good education can be found for free in the UK and Europe and possibly other states in America. However with the Californian public system being the way that it is I feel Carden is worth every penny.
My child attends the junior K program and I must say that I am disappointed in the very simple and non-challenging curriculum. I feel that if I moved my child to public school for Kindergarten, he would be behind his peers because of inadequate Kindergarten preparation. My child even complained that all they do is color, color, color. He is doing considerably less challenging and developmental work here, compared to where he was in preschool when he was three years old. I have to supplement alot at home just to keep him on pace with where he was when he entered Carden. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but for the quite pricy tuition, it is not a good value. On a positive note, the administration is great and very responsive.
The Carden Academy is fantastic in most ways: the teachers are great and respond to emails very quickly. The administration is very, very organized and you're never left guessing about something or feeling uninformed. They did an amazing job with the new campus. The after-school care is flexible and affordable, and the activities are a lot of fun. Most of the academics are outstanding. The only criticism I have is that the French instruction is terrible --- really awful, to the point of being a joke. The kids don't learn any French at all, and the class is really a waste of time as it's taught right now. This is really a shame. I would give the school 5 stars if not for French. After years of lessons, the older kids can't even put a sentence together! Other than the French, it's really an amazing school. The kids do lots of writing and read lots of wonderful books. The drama teacher is wonderful and the kids had a lot of fun with the Christmas show this year.
My child attends the Carden Jr. K program. My child loves the teacher and kids at school. Unfortunately, the academics are not there. All they do is color. The work that is sent home is all about coloring. There is no reading or site word learning that goes on. I would expect with the amount of tuition that is paid, we would be getting a higher quality of education. My child should start to add and subtract, learn the site words and start reading. Rather we pay all this tuition to have to supplement the work at home afterschool. I feel that there should be more than just coloring at the Jr. K level.
We fell in love with the idea of the Carden method and enrolled our son. While we had good relationships with our teachers, we began to discover some serious cracks in the system. Our biggest disappointment was finding that the teacher withheld lessons to some students based on their group at the teaching table, rather than using the group model to provide either additional support or more challenging tasks as the group level required. This meant by the end of they year, all of the children had not received the same base exposure to information. In our case, that meant that our son wasn't challenged to stretch and do more. He was allowed to just float along with his group. We're not even sure his teacher realized his level of reading fluency. Also, while "no homework until the middle of first grade" sounds heaven sent, it makes it very, very hard to get a handle on what your younger student is doing beyond coloring. The administration are nice people, but they lack a strategic plan you would expect to be in place after 30+ years in business. The school is not accredited and the teachers are not required to hold a credential beyond certification in the Carden Method.
My Son really loves this school. The carden method of teaching has really benefitted him for which we decided to send him there. They truly identify the individual capability of the kids in different arenas and challenge them accordingly to their fullest without pressure. The staff and teachers are very polite and helpful. The students and teachers are like a big Carden family.