This is something I see every day, intentionally taught and talked about at school. My daughter has come home and we have had family discussions and the school has regular meetings with parents to discuss how they are intentionally addressing issues such as this.
What attracted us to Giddens is their commitment to cultivating the love of learning and becoming a socially responsible part of the community.
We started our daughter, Maya, here in preschool when I could no longer keep up with her growth and curiosity at age 3, she is now in second grade. Each year my husband and I say, "Wow, we are so lucky, we have the best teacher!" In actuality, Giddens has done an amazing job finding and keeping the best teachers. We have loved them all, and have been amazed how well they know our daughter and how skilled they are in helping her navigate the struggles of childhood. I am so thankful that social and emotional growth are a priority here, as well as academics and have learned a lot from them that has significantly impacted my parenting.
We had an unfortunate experience when we transitioned to our public neighborhood school in kindergarten. After a long list of unfortunate events, our daughter started to pretend to be sick to get out of going to school. Thankfully Giddens had a spot for her and we were able to transition back, and lo and behold she couldn't wait to go to school again, each day.
This school is stock full of wonderful staff who really are experts in learning and development of the whole child. From the amazing teachers, specialist and administrative staff to the principle, everyone is on the same page and intentionally reaches out to each child and teaches sense of self, love, and how to be an important part of a community.
I'm a high-school teacher, and for years I've been intrigued and impressed by the students I met who graduated from Giddens. Its program truly prepares young people for the complex (and often confusing) modern world. Giddens is unique for its upbeat, connective, diverse atmosphere, student and parent body, teachers and staff. As a teacher, I know the results of any school's program must concrete and noticeable: at Giddens, our kids are growing intellectually, and more importantly, they are learning so much about how to communicate and empathize with each other, their peers, and adults. Even when things are difficult at home or at school, our kids have a way (and the vocabulary) to talk through things to help them consider solutions. As a result, we can talk with our kids about almost any subject-- joyful or painful. Finally, Giddens shows that childhood should be fun, warm, interactive . . . while preparing kids to be skillful in writing, observation, math, art, presenting, science, and so on. The teachers and administration are incredibly caring, skilled, and organized people. Mark my words: years from now people will be asking, "why don't all schools do it this way?"
My son has been at Giddens for 6 years and he has blossomed into a kind, compassionate, studious and confident individual. Giddens has been such a wonderful place for him to grow both emotionally and academically. It is so amazing to be at a school where the curriculum is so intentional and where the social justice and anti-bias approach is so palpable. The Giddens faculty is stellar; each teacher builds a classroom community in which each child thrives. The mixed age classrooms have been wonderful for my son; one year he looks up to his peers, and the next year he is a leader. He learns both humility and confidence in a powerful way. It has been a true privilege to be part of this school - and to see it grow and thrive.
Our two boys have attended Giddens for 4 years and we are really happy with the school. Since preschool, we've seen how much their emphasis on social and emotional development has helped them. Our kids are experts at conflict resolution, and bring the problem-solving skills they've learned in school home. Giddens has a strong commitment to social justice and equity, which has cultivated empathy and activism in our sons. Giddens really walks the walk: whereas other private schools show diversity only in their brochures, Giddens integrates social justice into the fabric of the school, with student-led charitable giving, weekly donations from the student garden to the food bank across the street, and a parent education series focused on talking with children about race. The academics are equally strong: our kids think of themselves as readers, writers, mathematicians, scientists. The teachers are incredible: they know our kids deeply, understand their interests and their challenges, and work with an individual focus on each child. Our children are well prepared for middle school, but even more importantly, they're prepared to solve problems and think critically about the world.
This is our family's 6th year at Giddens, and the school continues to amaze me. I have 2 children, both started at age 3. In my professional life, I work with parents and families, and spend a fair amount of time in area schools. What is happening at Giddens is pretty special. When students walk through Giddens doors, they are valued as much for what they give to each other as what they get from their teachers. Their individual interests & passions are used to help them discover a love of learning. They develop problem solving skills because they are given the time and space to do so. They are empathetic because empathy is modeled by those that teach them. And they are respectful of others because they have been respected. All of these wonderful things about Giddens School are what allow the school to have such strong academics and students so excited to learn. There is no place in this city I would rather have my children than at Giddens, as I know it is preparing them to thrive in our changing world.
Switched our child to public school and found out they were behind in math and reading. Really happy we made the switch. I was surprised to read about this academic "rigor" one parent mentioned as I am not the first former Gidden's parent that has taken their child out of this school only to find them behind and lacking basic skills. I feel as though most of these review that are 4 star are from the school or the board trying to justify the 18K per year tuition. This school has potential, as they all do, but for the price parents and children deserve a lot more than what they are getting for that price tag. My advice, save your money. It is not what people are trying to make it out to be.
My partner and I have been parents at Giddens for three years and we (and our daughter) absolutely love it. The community feel, academic rigor, and committment to social justice make it like no other independent and/or public school in Seattle. It's always been amazing to me to see how happy the children are, how dedicated the staff is and how involved the parents are. When our family was touring independent schools (and we toured several), we knew immediately that Giddens was the right place for our family and we have not been disappointed since! I highly recommend Giddens School!
I am going to be candid here and give a REAL review, Glidden s has amazing potential but just does not deliver. I have to agree with the other parent review that stated there is incongruence between the administration and the teachers. There are many different types of families that attend Gidden's but there really is no sense of community minus a couple of cliques and a VERY aggressive fund raising program. Also,there was a very disturbing incident with a neighbor, which you can read about online. After investing 34K (which we could have used for a down payment on a HOUSE!!) we are going public. We have talked to former Gidden's parents who felt their child was better off.