VCS's social studies-based curriculum means that each year has an overarching theme into which coursework seamlessly blends, and which allows students to actively develop their abilities by engaging the materials and their classmates in a focused way. The level of teamwork, organization and follow-through in my daughter's fifth-grade class is astounding, and --thanks to VCS-- her time-management skills are already impressive. The genuine diversity and inclusiveness of community at VCS creates a culture that benefits the character of each child in profound ways, and it's wonderful to watch my child gaining confidence, appreciation of others, and mastery of new skills with every passing year.
This school has a robust conversation and effective practices surrounding bullying. Emphasis is always placed on treating oneself and others with respect, and ensuring that the school is perceived as a safe space, but the school is committed to allowing kids to determine a certain amount of boundary-setting on their own.
While VCS is effective in integrating students of divergent temperaments and personalities, students with more profound challenges might be better supported at another school in the NYC area; one with curriculum more tailored to those students' developmental needs.
The leadership of this school represents an effective combination of long-time stewards, a board of involved parents in the mid-term, and a vibrant mix of new parents who take on various leadership positions from year to year. Feedback is always solicited, and there are ample opportunities to get involved at any level.
The homework is always geared to be just enough for the child to look forward to, and to feel good about accomplishing. Early years are focused on mastering basic skills, along with time managment, and the upper school gives ample room for homework to be about independent, critical thinking and creativity.
I am a current parent of two VCS children, and I came here to shout this out: My kids cannot wait for school to start. They miss their friends, they miss their teachers, and—get this—today they told me that they miss using their brains! Yes, my children are wonderful nerds who have found their happy place at VCS. The school embraces them, challenges them academically, and they are happy as clams during the school year. (And apparently less so when they’ve spent too much time closer to actual shellfish.) Note: Each of my brainy progeny came with a different learning style and disposition. And I can see how both styles are being met and stretched at VCS. Here’s a shout out to an awesome curriculum and amazing teachers!
Lastly: Choosing a K-8 school was the smartest thing I did for my children. The upper school students (6th through 8th graders) are truly remarkable individuals, showing a poise and confidence well beyond their years. They get to be the school leaders, and can focus on learning without the social pressures that HS kids bring to the mix. I know that when the time comes to graduate (too soon, too soon), my kids will be well prepared—academically and emotionally—to choose the right high school for themselves. What a gift!
Having a child in the younger grades at VCS, I can say that I support the guidelines VCS follows in not overloading them with too much homework at such a young age. Any homework they do give is very well thought out and truly supports and inspires further learning.