Why Park Day School?Families choose Park Day School for our enduring respect for children as thinkers and explorers, curious scientists and mathematicians, imaginative writers and artists, and as makers of change in the interest of equality and justice: children who posses important ideas and theories about their world. Families also choose Park Day School because our students love learning and are exceptionally well prepared for life in the 21st century.
Families often choose Park Day School because our hands-on, discovery-based, progressive approach inspires
a passion for learning. Families also choose Park Day because for nearly 40 years we've worked to create a place
where students think creatively, learn deeply and develop compassion for others and their world. They also choose
to send their children here because our program prepares students with a strong academic and social-emotional
foundation on which to build their ongoing education and their lives.We invite you to set up a time to come and explore our campus, begin a conversation, and visit our classrooms to
see some of the amazing work our students and teachers do. We believe that this is the best way for you to get
a feel for our approach, and understand our commitment to creating an exceptional place for learning every day.
When you do, we hope you share the excitement within all of our classrooms. Here are a few examples of the types
of projects that you'll see whenever you come by...
In one of our first grade projects, students collect snails from our learning garden and bring them into the classroom to feed and care for them. Their work culminates in the "snail olympics." The children work together to create a range of "events" to understand the snails' perception and preferences for light and dark, different foods and surfaces, and their adhesive power. There is even a gentle test to see if they're afraid of heights! Throughout this project, the children's excitement and compassion are a great measure for their engagement, as well as their developing understanding of the scientific process.
In a representative 5th grade project, students used "design thinking", an iterative ideation and testing process to understand targeted specifications for wind turbine efficiency, then used rounds of rapid prototyping and testing to develop the most efficient wind turbine possible. As in many such challenges throughout the year, students exercised their 21st century skills of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and adaptability, as well as traditional geometry, engineering, data analysis and presentation.
For many years, one of the most loved parts of our 2nd grade program has been the biographies project. During February and March, each child selects a person of color or a woman to get to know through research. This work culminates with a day of performance, when each student goes to the front of the class to portray the historical figure they've researched. Dr. Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mohammed Ali, Gabby Douglas, Barbara Jordan and Jackie Robinson are just a few of the people whose lives have been chronicled on the second floor of the Palm Building.
An example of a middle school design challenge has small groups of students start with a geographic survey of an Oakland neighborhood. The groups used surveying techniques to measure, calculate and record elevation and grade data. This data was then used as input to the students' creation of detailed topographical maps of the various neighborhoods in the area. In this work, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity enabled deeper and more meaningful understanding of core standard topics including ratio, proportion, scale and angle–as the students applied the concepts that undergird calculus in this 3D mapping work.