Each February, in an ongoing effort to sustain high standards in our work with children and families, we solicit feedback from our parents in the form of a comprehensive survey of each aspect of the classroom and specialist programs. Below are some quotations from the question "What do you value most about the classroom and specialist programs at Park Day School?"
Bridge K and Kindergarten:
What we value the most is the whole-child aspect teaching. Opportunities to speak out, listening in to others perspective without judgement. The reasoning skills that are taught in the bridge k class are priceless . . .
My child has been surrounded by caring, attentive, talented teachers and happy, engaged kids since the very beginning of the year. He is thriving! The curriculum is rich, the teaching priorities are spot on, and the whole school does a good job of living up to its values and philosophy.
Park Day teachers meet kids where they are, and then lovingly take them by the hand and guide them to new and different and wonderfully exciting places, where they can explore the world and their place in it! And make good friends along the way. Park Day is an oasis in a crazy world. That is what I love most.
While I do very much appreciate the values that Park Day is helping us instill in our child, I have to honestly say I just love how well Park Day runs - it is organized and fun and vibrant and I am impressed with the way each new child is made to feel a part of the whole school.
I value the way the students are encouraged to work together, respect one another, think about the impacts of their behavior on others, speak up for themselves, see their teacher as a support who they can feel comfortable coming to with problems. I value the performances - especially the school sings and major music performances. I value the friendliness and respectfulness of the staff.
Flexible in handling his special issues, the embracing sense of community we feel, and the fluid curriculum that allows him to learn at his own pace.
I value Park's thoughtful, experienced and intelligent teachers most of all.
Inspiring curiosity/inquiry. True to our expectations, our kids are learning to ask "why?" not memorize "what."
I most value that children are listened to and heard. No fear, need or question is left unaddressed. The time and love the staff puts in is unsurpassed. Thank you.
It's a wonderful environment, a great community, and a solid curriculum. My child seems to be thriving, albeit more in some subjects than others. That seems normal; the education he is experience is far from normal, in the most positive of ways.
I value most PDS' ideal of supporting every child, academically and as a member of the community, and in encouraging development of social consciousness. I value that these philosophies appear to extend to specialist curricula.
We so value the depth of heart and thought that you put into every element of a child's experience at Park Day School. Your dedication and wisdom give each of your kids-- and families -- a gift we will cherish for a lifetime.
We love the attention paid to students respecting each other and the special attention to making learning interesting and engaging.
The gentleness, the caring, the thoughtfulness, the way children are offered projects and information so compelling that they can't help but LOVE school. The time for play...the opportunity to learn in a relaxed environment where they know they are safe.
I value the rich, project-based approach to learning and the experienced and skilled teachers.
I appreciate PD's social and educational values, ethics and integrity. I appreciate that you use consensus as a process. . . . I believe that you work very hard to provide the wonderful school you have created. I feel VERY lucky that my child has been able to attend PD. Thank you all for your skill and dedication.
That Park is always looking at its practices and is committed to its mission statement and philosophy. It's good to be in a living school.
We value most: 1) the rich academic curriculum, and it's focus on developing independent and critical thinking, and a love of learning, as well as an engagement with issues of importance in the world; 2) the support and focus for all children's social and emotional development; 3) the sense of community which is of such benefit to the kids.
This school has such a high caliber of
teachers, such a strong philosophy and practice of social/emotional
development, community building, responsibility etc...I am really
impressed and very pleased with the entire experience and recommend the
school highly to anyone who will listen!
The ability of the teachers to understand this age and see
individual needs and provide a variety of learning situations that
cause the kids to come alive and take responsibility. This builds their
knowledge of what they can do so they can be active in creating their
lives. In essence, it gives them a set of quality tools they know how to
The expertise and the stamina of the staff, the fact that my child
is on the radar, that you all know so well what you're up to but you
keep asking questions and getting better.
Park's strength is its explicit and coherent concern for social justice and developing a caring school community.
We value that the staff and teachers embody the school's philosophies: great listeners, enthusiastic, inspiring, gentle, warm and kind, interesting and empowering. That's really special and makes for a beautiful community.
The close relationship the staff has with my daughter. This is an important time in her life, and time when she is very open to outside impressions. I'm glad that she has more than my "voice of reason" inside of her head.
I mainly appreciate the connections and relationships the kids at the middle school can have with each other and with their teachers; they have the opportunity to develop a sense of self and identity because they are members of a community that is small enough to see them and value them.
Accessibility and genuine concern from staff and teachers. Overall, the commitment and heart that is shown from all the teachers and staff is unparalleled. We treasure PDS.
Terrific awareness of adolescent psychology. Responsive to parents' concerns. Great personal attention to each student. Respect for each student (even when they don't give it back). Good math and science and drama programs. GREAT Spanish incentive (the trip to Mexico) and support for that part of the curriculum.
He has great friends and feels safe. This is important to me.
A specialist teacher sought us out to discuss my child's progress in her class, which was nice.
The arts. When I see what older children create, I know it means they are getting a really strong, well thought-out foundation.
My child loves art, the discussions and work. She feels confident and proud of her work. I think her teacher offers a wonderful blend of teaching and allowing.
Drama is great, encourages my daughter, and I have seen huge gains in her acting ability.
The consistent practice of reading and writing (and speaking) is really helping my child come along with his understanding of Spanish. I thought the demonstration lesson they did - teaching a recipe to the rest of the class - was a fun challenge.
My child loves her Spanish class. Out of the blue she'll tell me what words mean in Spanish. I love it!
Each year, for staff appreciation day, parents write a heartfelt letter to the staff. Here's one example:
Dear Teachers and Staff of Park Day School,
At the 30th anniversary we asked parents and students to describe their experience at Park Day School in one word. We were told: tolerant, loving, safe, caring, nurturing, oasis, community, excellent, perfect, awesome, fun, and lastly our personal favorite….
How well these describe the experiences our children have in your presence at Park Day School. Each day, as they arrive at school you welcome them with smiles and hugs in response to their joyous voices echoing across the campus yelling “school time”. Each afternoon, when they return to us, they are brimming with new ideas and experiences. In between, you show them in a hundred different ways how much you value them as individual people and why they should value one another. You show them with your creative lessons, your silly jokes, and the serious discussions you initiate with them. You have given them information, taught them the skills they need to use it, and encouraged them to find more on their own. You have let our middle schoolers march in Herman Plaza and experience their own political voice. Our teenagers have learned to feel deep trust in their advisory groups and have learned to explore themselves on a deeper level. You have taught them to be kind to each other, to take care of their school, and to serve their community. Most importantly, they have learned from you that school is a place where good things happen.
We know that each one of you chooses to be at Park Day because you dare to believe in its mission. You have the courage to embrace progressive education that fosters a foundation of creativity and community minded activism in our children; the vision, skill and energy to build one school out of two; the foresight to acquire Matilda Brown knowing the great deal of fundraising that lies ahead; the joy to celebrate and sing; the commitment to C.A.R.E.; the authenticity to live what you teach, the stamina for consensus; the willingness to reflect; and the wisdom to change based upon your reflections.
For all of these things, we are deeply grateful. We are grateful for your hard work, your thoughtfulness, and for the love and respect you show our children. Thank you, for all you do to make Park Day School the amazing place it is.
With deep appreciation, The parents of Park Day School