Our Campus and HistoryPark Day School was founded as a progressive K-6 school by teachers and parents in 1976, and opened with 28 students and four teachers. By 1982, the student body had grown to 90 students, and Park Day moved to the Temescal neighborhood of North Oakland. The school purchased a two-acre campus on 43rd Street in 1993. Today, our four-acre campus is often described as "glorious" and "a jewel." Mature trees, lush flower gardens, birds, squirrels, a chicken coop, vegetable gardens and quiet niches are enjoyed by all. Swings, climbing bars, sandy play areas, a large all-weather playing field, multiple climbing structures and a shaded gazebo combine to provide an exciting and varied outdoor area for all ages.
Park Day School recently celebrated "40 years of progressive education." The video below was produced for that celebration and offers glimpses of some of the unique aspects of our school's past, present and future.
With great appreciation for the time, talent and creativity of Producers Steven Schecter and Theo Schear. https://vimeo.com/224605134
Park Day HistoryInspired by enthusiastic teachers and parents, gardening projects have been incorporated into classroom programs, and students have become avid gardeners through our Learning Garden Program as well as through the time they spend exploring, playing and learning across our campus.There are three main classroom areas on our campus: the Palm building, MPR/Gramma's Attic, and the Magnolia building. The Palm Building holds our kindergarten through third-grade classrooms, our main office and some of our administrative offices. Like all of our buildings, it provides large, well-lit classrooms while reflecting the warmth of the Park Day community. The Palm Building underwent a significant seismic retrofit in 2012.The MPR/Gramma's Attic buildings hold our fourth-grade through sixth-grade classes. Classrooms with lofts for quiet reading, sitting areas for small group projects and high ceilings make this a wonderful place for students to grow and learn; to move from being young children to inquisitive, thoughtful kids. Sixth-graders main classrooms are at the end of this structure closest to the Magnolia, making it convenient for the sixth-graders to visit the nearby middle school building for some of their classes. This deliberate approach allows sixth-graders to be the "big kids" in our lower school and develop leadership skills before entering middle school. The MPR/Gramma's Attic buildings are the newest structures on campus, built in 1993.The Magnolia Building holds our seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms, two art rooms, the music room and our primary indoor meeting space that we call The Great Room. The Magnolia Building also holds administrative offices and our fully-equipped kitchen. The kitchen allows Park Day School to offer hot lunch as an alternative to kids bringing lunches every day. The Magnolia Building was renovated in 2009.Our outdoor space is much more than an extension of our classrooms; it is an integral part of our place for learning. From outdoor math or science classes, to PE, gardening, lunch and recess, the entire four-acre campus offers a multitude of spaces for learning, building, gardening, exploring, relaxing and playing.
Within the framework of a progressive education model, Park Day School teachers, in collaboration with the lower and middle school program directors, developed a thorough rubric of the scope and sequence of curriculum across our grades. This approach fueled our growth, and In 1996, after constructing a new classroom building and renovating another building, Park added a second class at each grade, and the K-6 enrollment grew to 225 students.
In 2010, our middle school moved from the Ridgeway Avenue campus and joined the lower school on our current four-acre campus configuration, growing our enrollment to just over 300 students. The renovated Magnolia Building became the new location for the middle school classrooms, the lunch program, administrative offices and the Great Room, our all-school meeting space.The growth we've experienced over our nearly 40 year history has not changed our mission, goals and practices. Children are the center of our program, our reason for being here–and every year, they help to define the best ways for everyone at Park Day School to offer a place where students think creatively, learn deeply, act compassionately and live fully.