No rating

GreatSchools Rating

Ps1 Pluralistic School

Private | K-6 | 225 students


Be sure to visit

Take along one of
our checklists:


Living in Santa Monica

Situated in an inner city neighborhood. The median home value is $665,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,580.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
Based on 4 ratings
Based on 2 ratings
Based on 2 ratings
No new ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

Rate this school

Click on stars to rate
Please select a star rating for this school.
    Helpful reviews answer questions:
  • What do you think others should know?
  • What do you like?
  • How could your school improve?
    Review Guidelines
    GreatSchools won’t post reviews that contain:
  • Inappropriate language
  • Allegations of criminal conduct
  • Names of students, teachers or staff
1200 characters remaining
Please read and accept our Terms of Use to join GreatSchools.
Please indicate your relationship to the school.
Registration is required to post your anonymous review
We will not display your name, photo or email address with your review.
Your email address will never be published or shared.
Indicates a required field

26 reviews of this school

Sort by:
Show reviews by:
Posted March 24, 2014

A great school that encourages a love of learning! The school also does teach conflict resolution skills. And makes kids feel good about being themselves. I highly recommend this school!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 24, 2014

We LOVE PS1! Our family has been part of the community for many, many years and we couldn't be happier. The teachers and staff are the most caring and thoughtful people my son will ever encounter. We are very lucky to be a part of such a wonderful place that teaches the love of learning and honors every child for the learner they are.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 10, 2014

This school does not have an anti-bullying policy. They will not notify the parents of the bully -- especially if they are major donors. There is a lot of social exclusion, screaming, hitting, etc. When a child is bullied they blame the victim. Academics? Forget about it. Your child will lag in math without extreme supplementation. Concepts are important, but without fluency, there is no balance. The principal is a megalomaniac, who is uninviting. A school psych has been hired, so that he doesn't have to deal with parents. You've been warned. The writing program is great, though.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 28, 2014

A fabulous education of the whole child that leads to confident, internally-motivated learners. We have one graduate (now THRIVING in private middle school) and one third-grader still enrolled. This is a school for people who believe in progressive education and who aren't hysterical "helicopter parents" who want to see constant test scores and grades. If you're the type who wants your child to be constantly singled out for how wonderful s/he is, this is NOT the school for you--every child is respected as an outstanding, (individual!) human being in this environment. Great parents, committed faculty and staff, handsome physical space.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 23, 2013

This school has earned the nickname Public screaming #1 - their "philosophy" does not mandate any monitoring of the screamers on the playground much to the chagrin of their neighbors there. No abatement of the screamers has caused neighbors to respond with some desperate antics including playback recordings of the screamers during recess hours & outbursts from neighbors aimed at the children. A lawsuit is in the works. What was billed as a "meditation area" has turned into a free for all for aggressive screaming kids, during school hours, after school programs, & holiday "camps". The owner of the school is making $$ at $25,000 plus per kid, is in expansion mode yet is befuddled as to how to reign in unruly kids & create a space for peaceful co-existance with his neighbors. Sound proofing options have been shunned as has the philosophy that loud noises are not polite & can disturb others. PS1 has made no move to create a space that serves the neighborhood ; as a mother of an educator there is a shocking lack of ethics and brains in this regard which is not in the least bit normal protocol in education. It certainly would make me wonder where else this school drops the ball.

Posted January 5, 2013

It's so much more than just a pretty face! Yes, PS1 has a gorgeous new building. Yes, their yard is home to the oldest, most beautiful oak tree in Santa Monica. Yes, the people who work there are fantastic and lovely. But what's inside is really the best part. At the heart of it all is a 40 year tradition of joy, founded by its visionary director who is still there! Can you imagine a school kids actually WANT to go to? That parents WANT to be a part of? We've been there for 2 years and we never thought we could love our kids scholl so much. But PS1 is the real deal - a truly happy place. PS1 students exude Confidence, Competence and Connection - examples of those 3 "C"s can be seen everywhere on campus. The teachers are fresh and inspired, even those who have been there for 40 years. Too many schools snuff out children's natural love of learning by the time they finish Kindergarten. PS1 does the opposite. Here, students are empowered to follow their passion and encouraged to take risks. And the most important thing they learn is to LOVE LEARNING. What could be better?
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 13, 2012

PS1 is not just an excellent school, it is really a community of unpretentious, intelligent, caring, generous people. We have made a beautiful life for ourselves here with so many new friendships for our kids and for ourselves. And it all starts from the top down. The headmaster is invested in every aspect of the school. And when it comes to elementary school learning, there isn't anyone with more enthusiasm and experience. I know that everyone says their kids love their school, but honestly, the kids at PS1 feel so much ownership over the school and their education that its hard to believe other children really have this sort of experience. The teachers are superb and adept at individualized learning making the dual grade classrooms really flourish. With two teachers in every classroom there is time for everyone. The education is basically top notch, and the kids go onto some of the best schools in the city. Confidence, competence, and connection are the three elements they aim for. And in our experience, our child is developing all three and becoming the kind of person we hoped she would be. Thank you, PS1.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 12, 2012

Our child has been attending PS1 for 2 years. We have watched our child be challenged and concurrently supported and appreciated by every member of PS1's staff. It is an amazing community of dynamic, down-to-earth, and thoughtful people. PS1 cares about honoring and educating the whole child, and does so in a way that is genuine, authentic, and creative. We are thrilled to be a part of it. In our view PS1 honors pluralism by recognizing uniqueness in every child, nurturing talents and learning styles, and challenging everyone in the PS1 community to give back; to do and be more.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 21, 2010

My daughter has been attending PS#1 for three years now. What we love about this school is that our daughter loves to go to school and she even requests to stay in the aftercare program. She has also met many amazing friends. Even when there are problems, they are quickly addressed, and the quality of the teaching and curriculum is excellent. We also really love the balance of learning, playing games, the arts, P.E. and recess. We are also extremely grateful for the support of the school during a crisis. The teachers, staff and parents really let us feel supported during that difficult time.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 10, 2010

It has been 3 years since my daughter first started at PS#1. Upon her first visit to the school (after many visits to others), this was 'hands down' her choice! I am forever grateful that my daughter knew instinctively, what had taken me 2 years & 28 school tours later to come to the same conclusion. I started the private school search 2 years prior to enrollment. The difference between traditional vs. progressive, etc was knew to me. I soon learned that my pre-concieved idea of a progressive school to mean 'new age' was wrong when it came to PS#1 after hearing the headmaster the first time. His belief of 'not how smart the child is, but HOW the child is SMART' made a profound impact on me. I thought I wanted what I had, for my child, but instead, I got exactly what 'we' (child & family)needed in PS#1!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 7, 2010

We're just finishing our fifth year at PS#1 and couldn't be happier. Our daughter who entered the school with a ton of self esteem just seems to have more and more. In fact when you look at the older kids, you can't tell which ones are the shy ones. And our son who has a very different personality from our daughter is learning and flourishing. Our feeling when we started was who they are as a person is more important than what they learn. There's plenty of time to be academic later on if that's who they are. As it turns out PS#1 is considerably more academic than we thought. The kids don't sit in rows and take tests day in and day out. But they are learning an immense amount, without the pressure of grades or unnecessary homework. PS#1 allows kids to be kids.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 25, 2010

I agree the school is overhyped and not the right place for all kids. It is good for kids who need to build up self-esteem or have self-confidence issues. They say kids will learn through play and so far in my two years, I have not seen this. There isn t much learning going on, at least not academically. They do a lot of extracurricular activities, plays, art, music, PE. They have more days off and half days than most schools. There are a group of parents who do influence the school greatly. It is not as inclusive as they make it seem and the preferred method of communication is by email. Heavy parent involvement and volunteering is mandatory and they do a lot of fundraising. Also they raise tuition every year even in the toughest economic times. The principal is outstanding and the staff is great but teachers are just ok.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 24, 2010

My son loves PS#1. He is in his second year there, and is eager to go to school and eager to learn. We chose the school because of its emphasis on social and emotional development and the attention that teachers and the administration pay to each individual student. In our time there, we also learned that the teachers are excellent and the curriculum is very strong. Through hands on projects and group work, our son is constructing his own knowledge. We see his eagerness to learn when he comes home and wants to read and do more math problems, as well as continue to play out what he started in school. The school has a warm and welcoming community. Older children are kind to and protective toward younger children in a way that is truly impressive, and likewise more experienced parents are welcoming to new families. There is a high level of parent involvement, with many programs run by parents and new projects starting all the time. My son has gained confidence in his abilities through encouragement to be a leader, public speaking and class performances, physical education taught four times per week, and excellent after school care. Children are allowed to be children. The school is lovely. My husband and I are both physicians; we place a lot of value in our childrens' education, and we feel grateful that our son and his brother will experience their early education in a place as special as PS#1.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 21, 2009

My child is a graduate and went onto one of top private secondary schools in LA (Harvard-Westlake), 99% of graduating class got into their first choice and most received acceptance from a few schools! PS#1 gives its students what they need to matriculate and succeed in any secondary school while not burning them out with a bunch of boring rote memorization and busy work. Many schools talk the talk of diversity and creativity, few implement it, PS#1 does. Evident in its staff, student body and teaching methods. My child still loves school and learning while consistently receiving A's! PS#1 is a sweet and gentle place that allows children to be children, perfect for any family that does not want their child a carbon copy of the next behind a desk all day like a tight wound package!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 18, 2009

We are entering our second year after transferring from public school. Very happy with the teachers, programs, facilities and individual teaching. Teachers really know their students academic ability as well as social, emotional levels. All 3 are addressed during a childs education. Parents are very involved and feels like a community. We are thrilled to be at PS#1!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 14, 2009

This school is great if you are looking for a school that emphasizes on each individual kid's potentials and talents rather than working on test scores. They teach the kids how to enjoy learning. Kids learn to be leaders and at the same time respect all the member of their community and care about them. Teachers are great and friendly and the principal is the best. My son has been in the school for three years. He always feels like being at home and enjoys every single moments of the school. I have a hard time in the afternoons to take him home. Parents are very involved in running the school which is one the things I love about the school. If you live in Santa Monica or west LA, you don't want to loose the chance to be part of this great academic family!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 23, 2009

Don't believe the hype - the school is good but not great. It's the first year for my child and he does love it - but more because of its summer camp like feeling than anything else. There are a group of parents who practically run the school and the environment feels very exclusionary. It's not an open school and there is no discipline or consequences for things like bullying. The principal is great, some of the staff very personable, but the teachers have not impressed me at all. They keep you at arms-length and keep communication limited to emails! Not sure how long we will continue here.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 5, 2007

I have 1 child still attending and 1 that recently graduated. The school has many fantastic teachers and creative special assignments; the school community is warm and down to earth; parents are creative and highly involved. Science and math instruction are less strong than social sciences and language arts. Art, music, and foreign language are not priorities. Not strong on curbing disruptive students. Your child will definitely graduate as an accomplished public speaker- every class performs in front of the student body, multiple times each year.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 30, 2006

This is a small elementary school that has traditionally had a lot of parental involvement, although the trend seems to be less so. The pupils are generally in two-grade classes of about 26 students, with two full-time teachers. This gives the school a lot of flexibility in how they treat each student.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 30, 2006

Nurturing staff, horrible music program. If you want a small, intimate school and are not particulary academically oriented, check it out.
—Submitted by a parent

Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

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.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 74% 26%
Two or more races 15% 3%
Hispanic 4% 52%
Black 2% 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Oops! We currently do not have any teacher information for this school. We rely on the state Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and in some cases school administrators such as registrars and principals for this data.

What makes a great teacher? Study after study shows the single most important factor determining the quality of the education a child receives is the quality of his teacher. Here are some characteristics to look for »

Let your school shine!

School leaders: Help your school shine on GreatSchools
by verifying community responses, adding program highlights
and more! Get started »

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab
School leaders can update this information here.

Let your school shine!

School leaders: Help your school shine on GreatSchools
by verifying community responses, adding program highlights
and more! Get started »

School basics

School Leader's name
  • Mr. Joel Pelcyger
  • Coed
  • Nonsectarian
  • CAIS
  • NAIS
Fax number
  • (310) 395-1093


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
School leaders can update this information here.



TIP: Don't forget to ask about documents required for enrollment, such as your child's birth certificate, proof of address, or a record of immunizations.

Apply now
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

1225 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Website: Click here
Phone: (310) 394-1313


Compare this school
to nearby schools

Compare schools »


Add this school to compare

Nearby schools

Step By Step
Santa Monica, CA

Santa Monica Montessori
Santa Monica, CA

Light House School
Santa Monica, CA