Prospect Sierra vs The Berkeley School for K

For our son we are leaning more toward TBS, but we like both schools. Community is a big deal to us and we wonder if PS is more conservative than what we are use to and enjoy in our Berkeley bubble. We love that TBS is closer than PS! We think PS focuses more on social justice, but I believe TBS has some focus there. Both schools seem great, but I would love to hear any more insights on these schools. What people do and don't like about both? Is there community at both? Are kids loving both schools? I love that PS has so many resources, but that is not the only reason we would go there. Thanks!

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I have two children at Prospect Sierra, one in the middle school and one at the elementary campus.  It is a progressive school (conservative does not come to mind) that emphasizes not only social justice, but also environmental responsibility, social emotional awareness,and intellectual engagement. 

Like you, I too value community and have found a wonderful one at PS. The parent community is active, welcoming, and supportive.  The room parents and parent association plan many activities as a way to promote community---there is something for everyone.  The school fosters community in many ways. For example, there's a buddy program that allows for mixed grade connections so my kindergartener has 3rd and 8th grade buddies. There are "families" that the kids will have throughout their elementary experience, lead by a staff member and comprised of all grades. My daughter has her kindergarten friends but also knows kids in the older grades. I would also say that she knows most of the staff on campus. It is wonderful to see how much fun she is having. 

Another emphasis is the social emotional learning curriculum, using the Toolbox Project tools and the RULER program's mood meter. Kids learn to use various tools to express their feelings and when integrated with the RULER tools, the kids learn to show respect, empathy and kindness towards each other. It was a proud moment when my son confided in me how he had a challenging interaction at school and before I could offer any advice, he said, "I've got this mom." Our family is having a great experience!

I was faced with the same decision last year and I choose TBS. You're right. They are both good schools and I know families that are happy at both. Like you, I felt that PS had a more "conservative" or formal feel. I choose TBS because it I thought it had a tight knitted community and more relaxed feeling yet was still academically rigorous. We're in our second half of Kindergarten and just love it. My son thinks "it's the best!" The Kindergarten teachers know their students both academically and socially. TBS does have a social justice component, but PS's may be bigger and have more programming because of the size of the school. I do like the community at TBS and it feels comfortable --- like it's easy to meet people. I agree PS does have good resources, but I wasn't sure that all that stuff was really necessary to achieve a happy well educated child. I don't have any specific negatives TBS yet, I'm sure there will be some as no school is perfect - go with your gut!

We are a very happy TBS family!  We looked at PS, BPC, and TBS, and they are all great schools with awesome teachers and emphasize both academics and social-emotional learning.  We eventually chose TBS simply because that's where my son was happiest at the end of the visit day - and I think his instinct was exactly right - he absolutely LOVES school.  He is so joyful about learning that I'm sure we made the right choice.  And I've been pleasantly surprised to say that it's been fairly easy to connect with the parent community at TBS.  I'm fairly introverted but there are so many different ways to get involved and connect with people, it's easy to feel at home quickly.  Also TBS' Director of Social-Emotional Learning, Kate Klaire, is amazing.  When our family went through a semi-serious crisis, she was there for us, and my son, in a way that goes absolutely above and beyond expectations.  Definitely happy with our choice of school!