I have both a Chance graduate and a current student and this environment has nurtured a love of learning in both. The combination of small class sizes and excellent teacher quality means my children have been encouraged to discover, question, master, and play. I appreciate the openness the faculty and staff have to new ideas, while remaining firmly grounded in the educational philosophies of Virginia Chance. We have looked at many other schools in the city --- private, parochial, and public --- and this is the one that meets my children's intellectual, social, physical, and emotional needs year after year.
I have two children in elementary grades at Virginia Chance School and couldn't be happier! As I read some of the posts from a few years ago here, I realize that a site like this doesn't capture updated facts, so please get the facts in addition to the opinions offered here. First, the academics are excellent. Our children are learning a ton! We love that Chance children are treated with dignity and respect. With two certified teachers per classroom, the teaching quality is excellent, AND the teachers have the ability to continue teaching if one of them needs to work to the side with a few students on social or emotional development. Our children are treated as assets to be nurtured, not as problems to be solved. They are rarely directed, but rather invited to make their own (safe) choices. My children are taught how to think and allowed to think for themselves. Their natural curiosity is fanned as they are invited to explore the subjects they study. We are also thrilled with the variety of enrichment offerings, everything from sports to music, science, engineering, environmental and art. We love Virginia Chance School!!!
We have 2 children at Chance School who both started at age 2 and will continue through 5th grade. We find the environment warm, engaging and dynamic. The learning philosophy teaches kids to embrace their natural curiosity and use it as a catalyst for asking questions and solving problems.
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.