I couldn't be happier having both of my children at La Scuola d'Itlalia, and we are not Italian. I am very impressed with the high level of their curriculum, the scope of the subjects taught and the teaching styles of their teachers. Every child is approached individually and received maximum attention. The classical European education starts in the lower grades. Starting in the 4th grade, children have monthly trips to the Metropolitan Museum and learn about art (in Italian!), then write essays (also in Italian) on what they have learned at the Museum and discuss in class. The academic level compares to higher grades in other schools and the upper grades study advanced college courses. The teachers and parents form a warm family-like community. This school is the best kept secret in New York!
As an american freshman i could say this school sucked. It had cliques of italians who were not welcoming. The facilities sucked but they were a couple of teachers who helped me become a better student.
It is understandable as to why parents have complaints such as lack of emotional development or focus on American subjects. It is modeled according to the European system. If your child can master multiple languages and, even more, multiple cultures, he or she will be able to adapt to different settings, whether it be college or the work level. This school will mold your child into a citizen of the world, not of the United States. There is a difference. My kids were born and bred at this school (10+ years). They are now in private, American universities, and excelling with minimal effort. They think in a global sense that can only further their success. I believe La Scuola played a key role in this, and will always be grateful. As far as the 'nurturing' or 'emotional' comments go, this school is the most nurturing school I've ever heard of. My children's teachers loved them, the environment is very personal and the teachers care for every one of their students. My daughter used to go to her professor's house on a Saturday to go over homework before an exam! This nurturing allows students to develop a confidence level that will only bring them ahead, and La Scuola is truly unique.
Wonderful warm school. The Italian teachers are excellent. My English speaking son was comfortable speaking Italian after a year or two at the school. The English teachers also do a great job. All of the children in my son's first grade class were reading ABOVE grade level in English AND Italian by the end of the year. The Math curriculum, done mostly in Italian, is similar to the word problem solving and mental math found in American curriculum. If you are an English speaking family considering this school, please know that your child will improve their Italian only if you support them. We took advantage of the Italian summer program and after school Italian tutoring.
The quality of the teaching is poor. especially in the areas of Italian as a second language and mathematics. You will be lucky if your child knows how to say more than spaghetti and gelato after a couple of years if you are not Italian yourself. Math is taught pretty much on a rote basis. It's hard to believe that this is the same country that gave birth to Montessori.The school is primarily oriented toward children of Italians who plan on going back to Italy and of course the Italians love the school. The teachers typically spend twice as long with the Italian parents as with the non-Italian parents at parent-teacher conferences. Few if any students beyond elementary school are non-Italian.
The comment below is most likely posted by a parent who has not had a child enrolled in the high school. Math and Science are the two subjects that are most focused on in the high school. After all, it is called 'Liceo Scientifico'; Physics, Science and Math come first. Then there is always Italian literature, Latin language, Latin literature, Italian language, English lit, Art history, World history, Philosophy, Economics and more. Not the typical 5 subjects most students have to take. A typical semester at La Scuola involves 12 subjects. Well-rounded is the first word that comes to mind.
La Scuola is very traditional in the sense that a day at school goes by just as if one were at school in Italy. The upper school is very small, but it has begun introducing new activities such as exchange programs. I believe the best experience will be done in the elementary; from pre-k through 5th grade the program is absolutely the best anddoes a good job of molding students into classy, smart and kind individuals. The middle school tries to introduce American subjects, but I've seen this leave students confused as to what they should be leaning toward. The high school has one of the best curriculums I have ever heard of (along with that of Lycee Francais) and although everything besides English is learned in the Italian language, this is the type of education that will bring you places.
The school has advantages if you were an Italian deplomat and wish to return to Italy following a limited stay in New York. The school has small classrooms, which can be an advantage as well as a hinderance. In terms of full rounded education, it leaves much to hope for. It lacks strong grounding in English, Math and Science. It holds to tradition to the extent of being backward, and does not pay any attention to social and emotional development of students.