Prepare to be disillusioned. Project Learn School does not have a principal. It has an administrative committee that makes decisions about what issues to bring before the parent community for them to vote on. If this sounds cumbersome, time consuming and stressful, that is because it is! I chose PLS because I hoped for involvement in my children's school. However, this place just spins in circles with no leadership and no ability to make important decisions. Read your contract carefully. It is important to note that if the school makes a mistake on its budget (prepared by a parent) and runs out of money mid-year, they have the right to bill an extra tuition payment to each family to make up for the shortfall. They have done this in many recent years so be prepared to pay more than you think. The school environment is warm and friendly but many families have left in recent years due to concerns about academic quality. I agree with the child centered philosophy of the school, however, children still need academic preparation (i.e. cover the appropriate coursework) in order to be prepared to participate with their peers from other schools in high school.
This is a wonderful school, with dedicated, creative teachers and a strong curriculum. There are so many wonderful "extras" that compliment the educational program. Kids are encouraged to work independently, and learn for the sake of learning. I can't imagine sending my kids to any other school.
The art program at Project Learn is excellent. However, sadly, this is where the excellence ends. Although they advertise that the teachers are certified, the majority are not. Also, they brand themselves as a "humanistic" school. At one point, I believe they may have been, however this does not seem to be the case currently. Because of their Humanistic message however, they attract many children who are different learners. They involve the families, take their money, but fail to provide the proper education for these children. They are doing a great disservice to many children and their families, but without their revenue, the whole school would financially fail. As far as the cooperative aspect of this school, there is nothing cooperative about it. A few families dominate, resulting in the minority choosing the school's direction. This school lacks follow through, needed leadership, or resources to teach the majority of it's students. If you are to visit, please note, the physical appearance of this school greatly reflects the school itself, i.e. disorganized. I feel very sorry for the few decent teachers and families that remain. Buyer beware!
PL is the best out there! My daughter attended PL and it was a wonderful part of her educational journal. We loved this school so much that we still support the work that they do almost ten years later. BRAVO PL!!!
This is a wonderful school. I've watched my shy girl blossom into a confident and happy child who loves school, loves reading, and has made really strong friendships. The school provides the right environment for her to feel secure in her own abilities where she can "just be herself." I highly recommend this school to any parent who is looking for small classroom sizes (12 to 16 kids per class!), individual attention, great art, high standards, and a love of learning and teaching!
We have been part of the Project Learn (PL) community since 1997. I love the co-oping and governance structures - parents can get involved in their child's education in a deep and meaningful way, both by using their individual skills, and as part of the Town Meeting which makes all major decisions for the school. Both of our kids looked forward to going to school every day while at PL. Our oldest went to Central for high school, loved it, and graduated in the top 10, then got a scholarship to the Honors College at U. of Md. The staff and community at PL are wonderful, and the kids learn skills about taking responsibility for their own learning and looking out for themselves using social skills and creative problem solving.
Project Learn School is the best elementary independent school in the Philadelphia area because it teaches to the student not the test.
Children are whole people there. They develop their minds and their social selves there seamlessly. They graduate whole people, not just test scores.
Project Learn School makes learning a truly joyful endeavor. The teachers here really love the kids and love teaching. They work very hard to make learning a hands-on experience whenever possible. Kids get choices and in that way become responsible for their own education. Both of my kids love this school and are thriving. I love the community-- working together with other parents and teachers to make PLS a wonderful place for all of our kids.
We are so happy to have our daughter at Project Learn School. After searching far and wide for exactly the right environment - open, child-centered, non-competitive - when we walked into PLS we knew that this was it. PLS teaches kids to think and explore and our daughter loves to learn. She wants to come to school on the weekend! We have no doubt that she, like the majority of PLS grads, will go on to the high school and college of her choice and blossom into the thoughtful, compassionate leader she is meant to become.
Project Learn cannot seem to follow through. There are some good ideas and some very nice people but the quality and rigor of the actual curriculum is only mediocre. It is important for children to be in an environment that is friendly but with such a limited group of children and constant turnover of teachers, it's often difficult for everyone to have a place. The school loses many children each year because of this but does not want to accept responsibility. In addition, when students go on to high school, many of them struggle and find big gaps in what they are supposed to know. Project Learn is a lively place but lively does not make a great education.
Project Learn School, (the ONLY cooperative school in Philadelphia), is one of this city's hidden treasures! Our daughter has been at PLS for two years and we could not be happier with her education and personal growth. Learning cooperatively, and often in mixed age groups, is simply a gift to all of the students. She feels safe with all of the teachers there and in fact, wrote in her journal last year (in Kindergarten), that 'all the teachers love me here.' In what other school would an 8th grader befriend a kindergartner? Our daughter cried at the 8th grade graduation because she was losing one of her 'best friends.' We expect to be a part of this school community for many years to come!
My family has been a part of the Project Learn school community for over 9 years. It has been a great place for both my kids - each very different in learning styles and strengths. Yes it is a bit of a challenge to figure out how to work cooperatively with a range of parents, teachers and administrators - but it is a gift for my children to have the opportunity to see that making a learning community is an ongoing effort that is important to a diverse group of staff and parents. The teaching staff is on average excellent - though it takes a few years for new teachers to really understand the PL way. The small Jr. High is a very nice way for teens to have an extended family experience with their peers. Spend a morning visiting - you'll see!
Project Learn has missed the mark. It has some fabulous teachers and some with very little training or experience. Because enrollment has seriously declined in the past few years, my daughter has fewere and fewer friends in her group. The people are nice but the expectations for academics are low. There is also a high turnover of teachers.
This has been a fabulous school for my son. He knows everyone in the building and really feels like he's part of something special. He's proud of his school and is happy to go there every day. The teachers are very invested in their students -- not just their learning but also their social and emotional development, which is so important. As a family, we couldn't be happier with Project Learn.
One of the best aspects of PL School is the student diversity. Children from all backgrounds attend and get along well together. The teachers at the school are also really stellar and committed to each child. Showing this level of dedication to each child is made easier with the small teacher-student ratio. Overall, I've been really pleased with the school, teachers, children and parents.
Our family loves this school. It provides us with a wonderful, involved and conscientious community. My children have thrived because of the kind, nurturing and stimulating environment that the teachers, parents and other students provide. As a parent, I feel very fortunate to have found this school for every school pales in comparison.
Project Learn is the best place on earth. It is the only place I know where children come and learn and thirve and are treated with respect and care. It is a nurtuting community that provides an outstanding academic program while building confidence and independence. My son is in second grade and my daughter will start next year. I am so thankful that we have found such an amazing place for them to be educated.
Project Learn is the perfect school for my offbeat and introverted son, and a very good school for my gregarious daughter. My son encountered bullying at another private school and was failing. He's now reading above grade level and is doing well in all his subjects and is actively engaged in the process of learning. The excellent, dedicated teachers and warm, nurturing community of students, parents, and staff make school a place where he's not afraid to be himself. Because of the mingling of grade levels for certain group activities, my kindergarten-aged daughter has friends all over the school, including her favorite junior high kids. The older kids tend to mentor the younger ones, rather than lord it over them. The art program is truly exceptional, and literacy, history, math and science are strong. Weaknesses are music and gym, and the lack of a foreign language for the junior high students.
After an exhaustive search of area public and private schools, our family chose Project Learn for several reasons: It is diverse economically, racially, and culturally; progressive in its thematic and mixed age teaching; and because I felt my child's creativity and individuality would be honored and supported there. My child feels safe at Project Learn - she knows who the other teachers and children are, she feels comfortable in different rooms, and if there is a problem, it can be dealt with quickly and personally because of the size and values of the community. There are general and specific ways each member of the PL community is valued - mainly the participatory nature of Town Meetings, co-oping, and even student meetings to voice appreciations and discuss issues important to them. PL is a living, breathing democracy. Yes, the sometimes inefficient aspects of democracy, but most importantly the values and opportunities.
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