Academics at Aurora and Berkwood Hedge?

Can anyone speak to how rigorous the academics are at Aurora and/or Berkwood Hedge (or offer comparisons between the two)? We 100% believe in the importance of social/emotional development and appreciate the small school atmosphere but want to make sure our bright child who is advanced in certain areas will be academically challenged in K and beyond. Thanks. 

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Our family had a wonderful experience at Berkwood Hedge — our bright kids were engaged, motivated, and loved their Berkwood Hedge days. It remains our family’s favorite school experience. Our kids were well prepared for the academically rigorous schools they attended afterwards (for instance, our oldest completed the calculus BC sequence and AP exam in 10th grade). Berkwood Hedge is a wonderful choice for academics, social-emotional learning, art, physical education, and life-long friendships.

Our family has been at Aurora for 8 years, and we have found Aurora to be excellent in its academics. My older daughter attended K through 5, and transitioned quite easily to an academically rigorous middle school. While Aurora has an amazing socio-emotional curriculum, we’ve found that that curriculum supports all the great academic work that they do, it doesn’t detract from it. For instance, the kids are taught to be aware of their emotions in a way that allows them to be more present for the learning. Also, they get trained in reflecting on what kind of a learner they are and learning to advocate for their learning needs. The head of school has always emphasized Aurora’s academic rigor, and I believe she’s right. They truly take teaching seriously there, with a wonderful faculty development program, and thoughtful self-reflection on their best practices. Also, the small size allows teachers to meet each student individually, pushing them on to the next challenge appropriate for them.

I have a third grader at Aurora as well as a sixth grader at Bentley who attended Aurora. My 6th grader was well prepared for the academic rigor of Bentley while also retaining his love of learning. My third grader has blossomed into a beautiful writer at Aurora. I feel confident in the academics at Aurora. 

The academics are similar at both Aurora and Berkwood Hedge. I'm not sure if there is clear alignment amongst the staff at Berkwood Hedge in terms of what programs are being used school wide, as there is at Aurora. Your child will be appropriately challenged at either school. I believe the social emotional curriculum however is stronger at Aurora. 

I can't compare the two schools as we haven't experienced both, but we have been tremendously happy with Berkwood Hedge over the past three years. Academics are excellent and our daughter (now in second grade) has experienced steady growth in every area. There is a strong focus on differentiation and project based learning. More importantly, from my point of view, our daughter loves going to school every day and has developed an incredibly positive and enthusiastic attitude toward learning. We attribute this to the fantastic teachers and the feeling of community and support that the school fosters. On that front, in addition to the social-emotional curriculum that is taught, the teachers, staff, and head of school are wonderful at modeling how to engage others with kindness and empathy. We could not hope for a better set of role models. Good luck with your decision!