This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Virginia Chance School5
Posted October 10, 2014
- a parent
We have been so happy at Chance School for the last 6 years! We came as parents of a 2 year old and thought we would re-evaluate before kindergarten. Wow, have we been impressed with the elementary program!! Such great strides in all areas of development! Social and emotional elements are moving forward right along with discoveries and greater depth of understanding of what our child is reading and tabulating. Not to mention we have a great time hanging out with our fellow parents. Chance is a wonderful school home for our whole family.
My daughter started at Chance when she was in pre-school and is now in the first grade. We plan on staying through the 5th grade! Chance provides a nurturing environment while encouraging kids to learn and explore. They teach to the "whole" child by incorporating a well rounded curriculum, developing self awareness, exploring the natural desire to learn and the importance of compassion. Chance encourages children to get outside and move (even when it's raining), to ask questions, to get excited about learning and the world around them. My daughter comes home confident, ready to tackle the world and looking forward to the next school day. It is my hope that by developing and encouraging the desire to learn, she will become a life long learner. Chance engages parents as well, making them feel welcome and empowered. They offer parenting classes that have taught me many parenting skills and given me more confidence as a Mom! Which in turn, makes my relationship with my daughter that much stronger! It is a truly wonderful school that is a great place to learn on so many different levels.
I was a stay at home mom who decided to return to work when both of my kids began preschool at Chance. We chose Chance because of the low student-teacher ratio and for their commitment to whole-child learning. Our kids need to be given challenging opportunities to learn and freedom to burn some energy throughout the day. Chance included some really cool initiatives like vestibular Minds in Motion training. It's easy to see the benefits of the recent Chance school revival, under new leadership, increased STEM curriculum, overall excitement and inspiration in the teachers and families. Spending time with the teachers, students, faculty and other parents has helped me see how unique Chance is. Because we've also taken the parent's course "Developing Capable People," our family has integrated the problem solving approach they teach in our own lives. It's helping us work together as a family. It's really nice that the teachers, staff and our family are all on the same page and utilizing the same approach. We're seeing that unified message coming back to us through the kids. It has simplified things for us.
Background: A former parent, since re-located. Based on local anecdote, I think The Chance School was a very different school a decade or two ago; I probably would have liked it better. There is an almost patriotic pride (for some) associated with the cache of going to a 'private' school here. By comparison, though, our local public school admin were more credentialed that the those at Chance. My understanding is that the new leadership at Chance has a Theological background, which would raise a 'red flag' for me in a secular school. In terms of academics, the math program is based on a spiral curriculum. The thought behind it, is that we will throw a bunch of early concepts at your child 'if they don't stick, we will revisit them later'. This approach to math, left my child dizzy & confused. I found that in a different school, using a mastery-based program (Singapore math), my child could slowly build upon concepts that they had solidly learned. I feel there are a lot of self-appointed 'experts' in early-childhood education here, but many lack the training or breadth of experience to really qualify them. That said, there are some excellent & dedicated teachers in the upper grades.
GREAT school! Each child is truely taught at thier own level and inspired to learn. Great teacher to parent communication. Lots of great activites and hands on learning. Any downside may be that there are many stay at home moms that participate (which is good) and if you work and cannot be there for everything you tend to feel left out. However the fact that parents are that involved is really good for the kids. Teachers and administration are super welcoming and great with kids. LOTS of outdoor activities and exploration.
Our children have attended Chance School. We were amazed with the promises of a sound education and disappointed with the delivery of a mediocre outcome. Chance has very little to offer in terms of extracurricular activities and stuggles to keep afloat. We at times get disinterested in the nickle and dime approach to other costs/fund raising. We've met great parents from all socio-economic background and found the community of parents/students to be exceptional. There are good teachers but you need to be in "the know" as to which class is best for your child and many parents aren't offered an option. The strongest aspect of chance is the involvement of families the weakest trait is the administration does not listen to the families. Don't let the charm overshadow what other schools can over comprehensively.
We were intrigued by the Chance School philosophy of educating the whole child. From a straight academic perspective, this school delivers. But I believe the whole child should include a nod to differences -- not only race, but socioeconomic differences. We are not paupers, but we strive to raise our child to understand that the world's resources are finite and not everyone lives so securely. The students in my daughter's class are privileged and have an air of entitlement with which we are wholly uncomfortable. After meeting their parents at various functions, we are less than surprised. Our daughter will be attending her reside public school next year, where I feel confident she will succeed and perhaps better develop as a whole person aware of the world around her.
What I really like about Chance is the way that my children learn by doing a wide variety of activities. Rather than lots of traditional desk work and passively receiving information, the teachers involve the kids to bring their studies alive. Fun, inquiry based learning is what you get. Also, we have enjoyed getting to know many of the families at school. We find them to be a diverse and interesting group.
After extensive research, many visits and tours of several schools, we chose Chance School for our child....and we made the right decision. The environment is so positive and 'loving', and what more could you ask for your child. The administrative staff and the teachers are supportive of the 'whole' child....and they are always eager to discuss your child's progress and any concern you may have. My child's teachers have been so enthusiastic and energetic!! The Chance 'Community' is made up of families who are seriously committed to the school and its philosophy and they are very close knit and supportive of every family, and particularly every child. Chance School is so unique....and the success of its alumni (as is also reflected in standardized testing on every level) speaks for itself. I would strongly recommend any interested families tour the school....your child will so happy you did.
As a professional educator with a Masters in Education, I have chosen this school for my children due to its commitment to its well thought out mission, focus on educating the whole child, and dedication of the faculty to embrace 'best practices' of developmental, experiential education. Children at Chance learn by doing, collaborate with their peers, and are challenged academically. The teachers are professionals and the school communicates well with the parents. After nine years as a parent at Chance, I highly recommend this school!