We adore Cold Spring. This is a school where kids are inspired to learn on so many different levels every day. The community of families at CSS is a strong one and I feel confident my children are learning how to be members of this community in addition to being challenged academically.
Respect for students is a foundational value of Cold Spring. School leadership demonstrates respect for students and families in all ways. Students lead weekly school/community meetings, serve as buddies for younger students, manage "pizza days", lead their own learning in many ways.
Our son and daughter have very different learning styles and strengths. Cold Spring School has nurtured both of them and met them where they are. This has fostered their inquisitiveness, curiosity and most importantly their love of leaning. Our daughter was very sad last year when she had to stay home one day with a fever. Our younger son cheers when he realizes that Monday has finally come again and he can go back to Cold Spring School. Additionally, on the weekends and during the evening their interactions are made even sweeter by the consistent social curriculum of Cold Spring School. On our family trips to local museums and on travels our kids are excited to relate what they see to what they have learned in school. We often comment on our good fortune in finding the Cold Spring School community.
Deep thinking. True engagement. Real joy. This is what we see with our child daily at school. He;s happy to go to school & never wants to miss a day. The two full-time teachers per classroom & mixed-grade model works incredibly well. Differentiation is just the norm so if your child has mastered a skill, the teachers continue to challenge him/her with new & more complex work (not busy work). They support your child if s/he needs more time to learn a skill. Kids stay w/ the same teachers for two years so my son's teachers know him incredibly well & they can work on long-term goals. Other parents, the teachers & the administrators are incredibly friendly & down-to-earth. Cold Spring is a private school but there is no feeling of elitism. It is warm & welcoming & they are very committed to financial aid. There are tons of working parents at Cold Spring & the school accommodates our schedules with no half days, a daily program until 5:30 & childcare coverage on vacation days. In fact-- do you know that the faculty meetings here are at night? The teachers stay at school at night so that the faculty meetings don't take away from kids' learning time. That's *true* commitment.
CSS is an incredible school and a great community for kids/parents/teachers/staff. The academic curriculum is excellent, but what really sets it apart is that it also has a social and personal/emotional development curriculum to match. In that way, kids are learning how to learn, to ask questions, to be part of a group, to be a leader and a collaborator- all of those intangible skills that will be crucial not just now but as adults. The classrooms and the school may give the impression of not being structured, but the beauty of it is that it is all quite thoughtfully and thoroughly planned out, and it works. The mixed age classrooms allow kids to either be in the younger crowd and reaching to emulate the bigger kids, or be in the older crowd and be an example and mentor to the younger ones. The teachers are wonderful at knowing when to guide, when to pull back, and how to help each particular student thrive. The new director has done an amazing job energizing the school and creating new opportunities for growth. I don't think there are words that can do justice to the wonderful work that goes on at Cold Spring- you really need to see/experience it. It is truly unique.
We currently have two children at CSS and have been impressed with the overall level of teaching and student engagement throughout the grades. The mixed age classroom has been wonderful for our two children who have late birthdays. They are neither the youngest nor oldest in their classrooms. And the mixed grades give students who are academically advanced in some areas to remain challenged and engaged because there are others like themselves in the room. More importantly, students learn to respect and care for each other regardless of anyone's abilities or interests. Each classroom has two teachers with a master teacher and associate teacher which allows teachers to work with the students one-on-one or in small groups when necessary. Most of the associate teachers could easily lead their own classrooms in other area schools but choose to come to CSS because of the innovative curriculum, engaged students, motivated colleagues, and supportive parent body.
Cold Spring is just fantastic. Kids get a wonderful, rich, challenging progressive education. It is a gem in New Haven. There is no other school like it in its ability to differentiate learning for its students. The approach is innovative, really having kids think through what it is they are learning. And they love it! Teachers are warm and caring, and really inspired by what they do, pushing kids to the next level. We are so grateful to have found this school for our child!
I have 3 children at Cold Spring School from preschool thru 4th grade and all 3 love school. CSS is in the truest sense a child-centered place of learning. It has a remarkable, rigorous and supportive academic and social curriculum, unlike any other I've seen or experienced. CSS nurtures the natural curiosity and sense of wonder of children. My kids think learning is fun and cool and that's because of CSS, its extraordinary teachers and its progressive approach to teaching and learning. (I think the CSS video which is accessible from the school's website gives a helpful and accurate overview of the school.) Financially I wish we had a comparable public alternative, but in my view, for these early years, CSS is absolutely worth the investment.