I do not feel that Kindergarten students should be doing any homework. My 3rd grader would love to do homework if it were projects that interest or other long form work that they don't have time to do in the classroom, but really all that comes home are more worksheets.
The school has difficulty getting teachers especially for the Japanese curriculum. There is turn over every year in the teachers, last year we lost two very strong teachers. I have spoken to teachers who feel downgraded by the administration and I am not surprised when they leave. My student in 3rd grade started out Kindergarten loving learning and is now not unhappy to go to school everyday. I teacher her to speak up for herself and to know that she is worthwhile even if she cannot do the work as quickly as other students . But I feel the school's focus on achievement is misguided and the students feel incredibly stressed. My kids are both showing anxiety each morning when they get up for school. This is not how anyone wants to start out the day.
McDonald has a lot of pros but many cons, too. The language immersion classes have instructional assistants and rotating interns, allowing for one teacher to sometimes focus 1:1 or take small groups aside for focused work. (Parents fundraise for this, which requires time & a lot of money. Sometimes the fundraising gets out of control with a competitive, disrespectful tone but that has improved in the years we've attended.) Some teachers have done a nice job respecting the needs of different paces and abilities, but it seems that this isn't a great school for kids on either end of the bell curve. Some aren't challenged enough and there's not enough resources to help them not be bored, others are far too challenged without the support they need. The leadership doesn't seem to handle requests for support or change well. Many families leave because of this. This is part of why the upper grades are significantly smaller classes than the lower grades. (Plus, you have to be fluent to attend after 1st grade.)
There is a huge difference between the Japanese and Spanish programs. If you're considering this school, I recommend interviewing parents on both sides, with kids in the upper grades, as well as lower. And try to find a few who've left the school, if possible. Lots of teacher turnover recently. It's changing a ton, so old reviews don't mean much.
WIthin the first two years, my children were speaking in the other language and frequently wanting to teach me words. They also grew tremendously in knowledge of other cultures and the world. This, and a pretty involved parent community, is by far the school's greatest strength. Many other aspects of education here are less impressive.
Teacher dependent. Some of the K teachers gave homework. Some first grade teachers, too. There's a tremendous difference between the Japanese and Spanish sides on this, as well. Parents can always refuse it, though.
Completely staff dependent with tremendous variability. Sadly, office staff often doesn't set the tone for compassion. I would love to see late parents and kids embraced with kindness and grace. Getting out the door, especially with younger children can be extremely difficult. Sometimes a kid just needs to go to the bathroom. "We're sorry you had a rough morning" would be so much more compassionate than a side eye. Parents and kids often feel judged for being late. Also, kids struggling to enter the building are often not allowed to vent their emotions and feel sad, but rather told they're fine. It's a bit of a "buck up" attitude. Lastly, some kids get punished with loss of recess or "specials" (like not getting to attend music class, which rarely happens anyways), depending on the teacher. There are many teachers and staff doing an excellent job with allowing kids to express emotions, who provide empathy in difficult situations, but parents here should be aware that it's not consistent and there are some staff who children find scary. (Rightfully so.)