• Act Compassionately
    “While on our first tour, a kindergartener was sitting on top of the big slide trying to muster her courage. Oblivious, two 6th-graders were feverishly chasing each other around the slide. They charged up the steps, but when they reached the platform at the top, they froze. The two boys gently got on their knees and talked quietly with her. She looked up, smiled and slid down. The boys cheered, then rose to their feet and resumed their game. That’s why we came to Park Day.”
                                                                                                                                   – Jef Loyola, PDS Parent
  • In the first days of school, Park Day School kindergarten teachers teach their classes to look for a friend that looks sad or homesick and ask them to play. First graders know that if they see a problem, to work with their friends or a teacher to fix it. Throughout the school, Park Day School students learn the value and importance of empathy and compassion. Here are a few of the projects and programs that exemplify this focus on helping to build character and compassion.
    Social Justice Initiative
    Park Day has seen advancing social justice within the school and across the larger community as a part of our core mission since opening in 1976. In 2012, we extended our efforts when the board of trustees passed a resolution to further our efforts by committing to an action plan to improve our policies and procedures, our programming for students and our parent education opportunities specifically as they relate to race and social justice.  
  • Day of Sharing
    Every November at Park Day School, just before our Thanksgiving holiday, we have a special and very meaningful tradition. We believe it is important to connect our students to the community beyond our school and to the humanitarian organizations that meet the needs of people in our community. One of the ways we do this is through our “Day of Sharing.” On this day, students do not bring a lunch to school. Instead, the school prepares a meal that we share together as an entire school community. We prepare a simple, nutritious lunch, varying the menu each year to expose the students to a variety of staple foods in cultures around the world. Students are encouraged to bring a small contribution to represent the cost of a typical lunch that their family would normally provide, and to donate that to an organization that the students select as a class group after research and discussion.
    Pride Day 
    Park Day has celebrated Pride Day on campus for almost a decade. Age-appropriate in-class presentations an all-school assembly sharing the contributions of famous LGBTQ people throughout history, discussions and workshops on how to be good allies, and rainbow treats to close out the day, are all features of this celebration of inclusion.
    Park Day School has a long history of collaboration with and support for the Mosaic Project. The Mosaic Project's mission is to build inclusion and an effective learning communities by bringing students together from diverse socio-economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds to give them experiences and skills in creating a peaceful, inclusive community. Students participate in a week long experience that includes lessons, activities and experiences to build trust and inclusion and skills in peacekeeping and conflict resolution. Students in the fourth grade attend the week long Mosaic Outdoor School in Sonoma county. This unforgettable experience includes interactive theater, games, discussions, role-play, simulations and original songs. Many of our students return as youth leaders in later years.
    Children's Without Borders Magazine
     The Children Without Borders Magazine project is a volunteer student-produced annual publication and collaboration between students from Park Day School and the Friends School in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestine. The project features interviews between the students focused on traditions, holidays, hobbies, recipes, favorite things, sports, and friendships. The practice of sharing their own stories produced complex, detailed and moving personal descriptions of all of the children involved.
    The Children Without Borders Magazine project was started by two Park Day students during the 2001-2002 school year. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, they noticed increased anti-Arab prejudice in the media and in the country. The founding students saw themselves as peacemakers and wanted  to establish a friendship with the students at the Ramallah Friends School. With the support of their parents and staff, they initiated several events including a Walk for Acceptance and the magazine project. The project creates an alternative understanding of Arab people and culture in a world dominated by negative and over-simplified depictions in the media. As the connections between the students have grown each year, friendly relationships have also been established between the adults sponsoring each end of the exchange, and the schools have become friends.  
    School-Wide Book Drive 
    Each year our second graders organize and lead an all-school book drive. We collect between 2,500 - 3,000 quality children's books and donate them to a local public school. Through this process, students learn about the connection between literacy and access to books. Our book donations are used to start new school libraries, support family literacy programs, stock individual classroom libraries and provide free books for students to take home.