St. Paul’s, Park Day, or Berkwood Hedge?

Any insights on St. Paul’s, Park Day, or Berkwood Hedge? We live in North Oakland and I am currently looking at kindergarten options for my daughter. Would be super helpful to hear about your experience with any of these schools including their Covid protocols, academics, and socio-emotional learning. Thank you!

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Hi! My daughter is a kindergartener at Park Day this year. As promised, her love of learning has thrived. She comes home and teaches me about their science units, sings songs in Spanish, and makes math equations to solve – for fun. This weekend, she picked up Elephant and Piggy and read the whole book. Beyond the learning that is going on, I appreciate the community and its values. The birthday parties have been for the whole class – no exclusions - the parent education classes have engaged deeply on issues we care about. Communication is clear and frequent. The letters home from the teachers (filled with photos) are full of information/insight and ways to engage with my child. Additionally, both the after-school staff, and my daughter’s classroom teacher, have reached out to us when they have noticed her having a hard day. The adults care deeply. I have another perspective on Park Day as I am also a teacher at a Bay Area Independent High School. The students who attended Park retain that love of learning through high school: they are motivated by the learning, not the grade. My Park Day alumni students demonstrate exceptional social emotional intelligence – they have a growth mindset, share authentic appreciation of others unprompted, and understand that asking for help and self-advocacy is a strength. The Park Day kids are always involved in various identity and social justice work on camps. They are engaged citizens. Park Day kids don’t just write essays, they have real opinions to share. As teenagers they are kind, the ones I often match with visitors or partner with someone who is having a difficult time. My daughter is already looking forward to being a reading buddy, to doing the 3rd grade play, and to leading an assembly. At Park Day she is secure in who she is, and excited to share more of herself with others. -M's Mom

I don't have any insights about St Paul's or Park Day, but my daughter went to Berkwood Hedge earlier this year, and we lasted only 28 days before I pulled her and found a school where I knew she would be physically safe and in an environment where she was actually learning again (in her 1st few weeks of school, there was no phonics or reading aloud even though they were supposedly part of the curriculum, and after a year of Zoom school due to the pandemic, this was concerning as I was hoping she'd get back on track with reading and writing). 

To make a long story short, we wound up being the first family of five families in that one class who left shortly after the school year began. While *part* of the issue was the teacher's inability to manage the class (who I hear recently resigned, and will be replaced in a couple of weeks), the issues in my mind were more top-down; more of a systemic problem, where dysfunctional and potentially dangerous behaviors were normalized, and if your child confides in you about something terrifying and dangerous that happened to them (which thankfully my daughter did), the school's response was essentially (and I'm paraphrasing) "nobody saw it happen, so prove it."

My daughter ended up feeling worse after reporting something than she had to begin with, and her take away was that she should never "tattle" again if someone tries to hurt her. Not what I want for my daughter or anyone's child. I wasn't about to keep her there until there was physical evidence that I could photograph as proof. 

While I'm now out 5 months tuition for only 28 days of school (which seems criminal to me), I'm thankful that my daughter is now at another school where she is learning again, not afraid to come to school, and where the administration makes it clear what's acceptable and what's not.

Any family reading this who is considering Berkwood Hedge should feel free to reach out to me with follow-up questions. I'm happy to find time to chat by phone if it helps even just one other family make a more informed choice for their child(ren).

All the best with your school search, and be safe out there! 

We looked at St. Paul's and Park Day but ultimately chose Aurora. If Aurora isn't on your radar, I strongly recommend that you consider Aurora. Aurora draws families who also look at Park Day and Berkwood Hedge as it is among the leaders in socio-emotional learning.  Because Aurora is a smaller school, we felt more personalized attention given to our application and felt very welcome. St. Paul and Park Day are both friendly and welcoming places as well, but it's larger and I felt that we were one of too many applications and the application process felt a bit impersonal. Covid protocols are excellent and academics are engaging. Our child who is 1 - 2 grade level ahead finds academics interesting. They truly embrace the project-based learning. They have ample outdoor and play time incorporated into their learning. Park Day has an impressive campus and is also a lovely school but a bigger community. St. Paul's is very diverse and really embraces Oakland and its diversity. St. Paul, Park Day, Aurora, Berkwood Hedge, Redwood Day are all excellent schools with lots of extracurricular offerings and have a lot of similarities. 

Our kiddo started kindergarten at Park Day this year. Most importantly, our kid is excited to go every day. She is reading, writing and excited to tell us "math stories" and things she learned about science in Learning Garden. Socio-emotional learning is a huge focus, and I am so grateful for how our kid is learning to name and express her feelings and needs. We are inspired by the focus on DEI, which is age-appropriate but not candy-coated.   

The covid protocols are protective and reasonable -- they have outdoor classrooms the kids use for part of the day, provide twice weekly at-school PCR testing, and have a dedicated coordinator who is transparent about positive tests and is always available to answer questions about indirect exposures, explainable symptoms, etc.  When we came back after winter break, because of the surge in cases, the teachers sent home detailed login instructions for all the virtual classroom programs, and spent time showing the kids how to use the platforms, just in case we had to go virtual. We didn't (knock wood), but I so appreciated their preparation and attempt to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

I've been so impressed with the communication from teachers (not just the lead classroom teacher, but all the others in language, music, art, PE, etc), which is super clear and thoughtful. We have great insight into what is happening in the classroom. Especially important is that the administration....they just have their act together, is the best way to put it. They are energized in a way that seems impossible after 2 years of covid. They are mission-driven in making the school the best it can be, but are also professional and clear communicators.  They address issues proactively and respectfully.  They are nimble and they plan for contingencies. We have complete confidence in the head of school, Angela Taylor, who is both an engaging/warm presence on campus and also a thought leader in the independent schools community.  The community is welcoming and diverse.  The campus is spectacular.

I could go on and on (the afterschool program! The Innovation Workshop!  The hot lunch program!) but the takeaway is that we are thrilled with our decision to send our kid to Park Day.

Hi!  We have 2 kids at Park Day currently in K and 3 (so as a family we've been there for 4 years).  We also had considered Berkwood Hedge but felt the school was too small for what we wanted - both physically and number of students.  We did not consider St. Pauls.  Overall, we are very happy with Park Day.  With our older child, we have been there pre-COVID, Zoom school, back in person when most other schools were not, and now in not quiet post-COVID times.  We have felt incredibly safe with their COVID protocols.  I feel they have been innovative with what to do and also responsive to how hard on everyone its been emotionally.  They have such a large beautiful outdoor campus that they are able to utilize for COVID safety, but also just in general.  Socio-emotional learning has been key for us, I think with any choice it's about finding the right partnership.  I appreciate all the parent ed opportunities as well as how accessible teachers are to work with you and your kids.  Academics are what I would call average for private schools.  There is a lot of individualization and working in small groups that allows kids to learn in different ways.  Park Day recently got a new head of school that personally I hope will strengthen the academics.  We chose Park Day because of the social justice mission, the design-make-engage curriculum, social-emotional learning, the beautiful lush campus, logistics like hot lunch and before/ after care, as well as the size.   We stay because of all those things plus the community of people there.  No school is perfect, there are challenges of course, but the community keeps us going.  

Our child is a third grader at Park Day and has been there since Kindergarten.  He had a wonderful experience in Kindergarten, which did a nice job of making the transition from play-based learning to classroom based learning (with a good helping of both at the K level) as smooth as possible.  Both of the K teachers are wonderful and one of them has been at the school for many years.  Social emotional learning is a major focus at Park Day.  The education is very child focused, while not sacrificing emphasis on core educational topics, and includes things like conflict resolution practice, learning how to treat your friends and others with kindness and being a good member of the school and larger community.  This is a core emphasis of the school. The school really does live its mission to "prepare students to be informed, courageous, and compassionate people who shape a more equitable and sustainable world."

The school has done a great job through COVID. They are currently testing children twice a week and kids are still masked all the time. We've had very few COVID cases and none that have required significant shutdowns to the school. While everything doesn't quite feel normal, it feels reasonably close to that.  The main thing is that the school has remained open and safe and the kids are still getting a great education.

We've had two kindergartners at Park Day (one pre-Covid and one during). Our kids are now in 1st and 4th grade and the transition into kindergarten was a great experience for both. The year starts with projects on self-identity and a focus on sharing and getting to know others, which continues throughout the year where students work on a monthly self-portrait. They also jump right into investigating plants and animals found on and near campus (the grounds are famous for hosting many squirrels!) and this works in tandem with the gardening and science curriculum. Another family favorite was learning about watersheds and how waterways connect to the bay. And this year, a family donated a weather station so it's been really interesting to hear kids talk about how to read and check, not only temperatures and wind, but also air quality.

In terms of literacy, kindergartners keep journals and write daily short stories with a picture.  As our kids became stronger writers, they were encouraged to expand ideas, work on punctuation, form letters correctly, etc. At the end of the year, we were able to revisit their journals and see how they progressed as storytellers. Another favorite is the Innovation Workshop where kindergartners first learn about tool safety, then go off to build using saws, nails, hammers, wood, recycled materials, and more. Some days kids come home with huge sculptural masterpieces and other days I would find a simple wooden pull-toy in their backpack or deconstructed electronics reimagined into a new toy. 

While both my kids are quite different, they both needed a lot of support with the social-emotional aspects of school life. We've sought support for both kids to help them work on social anxiety and self-esteem, and have always found teachers and administration to be thoughtful and proactive in their approach. One of the parts of school that I've always been impressed with is how students across all grades greet each other and know each other by name, and not just by face. It's common to have a 7th or 8th grader pass by my 4th grader and say "hello" and ask how his soccer game was last weekend. The school helps to initiate these bonds early on, and even this first year of Kindergarten, with reading buddies.

In terms of Covid, the school has a consultant to help navigate changing data and guidelines set by the government. They also host Covid testing twice weekly on campus during the school day and results are posted through the student portal. The PDS campus is unique in that there is a great amount of outdoor space so kids are often seen taking advantage of this during class time. And as a helpful reminder to the younger students, they have redwood tree stumps to help them easily find their safely distanced spots. Classrooms are well thought out in terms of safety with doors and windows open, and air purifiers. Last year, students chose to work with different items for the day in dedicated bins and at the end of the day, these items were disinfected for others to use the next day. For example, building blocks, counting cubes, etc but I don't know the current specifics and if this has changed from last year.

I hope this was helpful and feel free to contact me directly with any other questions :)

Hi! Park Day family here. W have two kids at the school - one in lower school and one in middle school - and have been at the school for 8 years. First of all, our new Head of School, Angela Taylor is AMAZING. She began last school year in the midst of COVID and has knocked her beginning out of the park! Part of our enthusiasm for her has come from her leadership during the pandemic. Last year the students had minimal interruption to in-person, on-campus school, and this year there have been no interruptions to in person learning due to the pandemic. Students get tested twice weekly and community members are informed of those school wide results every week in addition to transparent updates (including the vaccination rates, etc.) about the state of covid at school. In addition, there is a bounty of outdoor space so if inside learning feels unsafe again, the school can quickly pivot to outside learning. That saved us last year!! The priority is keeping our kids in person on campus, but never at the expense of safety. 

The academics have also been strong, and I've noticed that they have turned up the academic dial appropriately this year for my 7th grader as they begin to prepare for high school. Angela has already noted areas of improvement in the academic program (through her observations and also a strategic planning process completed last year) and quickly put new programming in place to address these issues (for example, adding Fundations to the lower school literacy program). Overall, the academic program is engaging for students to dive in deeply at their developmental level with interesting and integrated projects. Our kids are becoming informed and engaged citizens though the social emotional support alongside the academic curriculum. Both of my kids are outspoken about injustices they see in the world, and have stood up for friends/classmates in day to day life when others are being unkind or inappropriate. Finally, both of my kids, who are so very different, are really seen by the adults at the school. They have formed strong relationships with their teachers, and when we talk to the staff and teachers, they always have specific feedback and anecdotes about our kids that show how well they are known and understood. I can't speak to St Paul's or Berkwood Hedge, but we have all been so happy with our experience at Park Day. I could go on and on, but it would be harder to find a warmer place for students to become lifelong learners. 

My son started 1st grade at Park Day this year, and my daughter will start K there in the fall. We love the school so much and feel lucky to be there. The teachers are wonderful, campus is beautiful, and the philosophy is so positive. My son has been struggling to catch up on reading and the way the teachers and learning specialist have rallied around him has been awesome. They are very focused on meeting him where he is and helping him, while maintaining his enthusiasm for learning and understanding the whole picture of what's going on with him. He's getting the help he needs but their priority is on him as an individual happy child. He is thriving in art, music, learning garden, science projects, etc. He comes home happy from school everyday and really feels at home there, couldn't ask for more than that.

The school takes a great approach on social justice issues, they're doing a great job teaching empathy and awareness. What sold us was meeting Angela, the head of school, at an admissions event. She is an awesome leader, and good leaders hire good people. She's very smart and clearly loves her job and school. In terms of Covid she has led us with very transparent communication at every step, sharing a lot of data and also some real talk that is much appreciated. We have had very low instances of cases, bi-weekly testing, and the community is highly vaccinated.

Good luck, and feel free to send me a message if you want to chat. 

My son transferred to Park Day School three years ago and it has been a fantastic experience for us. He is a very sensitive kid and was having a lot of trouble with self-esteem, focus and self regulation when he started. They have been extremely helpful in supporting his social-emotional needs and he has absolutely blossomed.

In terms of Covid protocols, I've been very impressed. Everyone is masked on campus and is required to fill out a questionnaire everyday and show the cleared screed to be admitted to school for the day. The kids are tested on site twice a week and the entire community is incredibly Covid conscious.

I have also been very happy with the academics at Park Day. I feel that my son is challenged without feeling that school is too hard. They are really focused on developing a love of learning, which I think is so important. I also appreciate that they teach from a diverse range of perspectives as well and teach for multiple learning styles.

I am very happy with our choice to join the Park Day community, it has been a great fit for my son. Good luck in your search!

We have children at St. Paul's and have had a wonderful experience overall. The pandemic year was bumpy, but this year school is back in the groove. SPES is on the more cautious side on the COVID front--during the current surge, they're requiring N95/KN95 masks indoors and out and PCR testing twice a week, and were slower to reopen in person last year than many independent schools in the area. For our family this is an asset, but it may or may not be for yours. We've been pleased with the rigor of the academic program, particularly in upper elementary, but it's the social-emotional curriculum, which is integrated across grade levels and between the school day and the afterschool program, that's one of the primary reasons we're there. (The other is the diversity of both the student body and the staff.) Berkwood Hedge and especially Park Day have the upper hand when it comes to the campus; SPES is an urban school with limited outdoor space, and relies on Lakeside Park and the surrounding areas to extend the classroom, which has both strengths and challenges. We chose St. Paul's in part because we liked that it was community-facing; we loved the Park Day campus, but it felt very removed from the city around it. A lot really comes down to what you're looking for in your child's school experience. Good luck with the decision!

Our daughter currently attends kindergarten at the Berkeley School, and we have had an excellent experience there. Their Covid protocols are really good, and both the academics & socio-emotional learning have been impressive. We love the kindergarten teacher & the student to teacher ratio is ideal. I highly recommend checking the Berkeley School out. 

We are very, very glad that we chose to send both of our kids to Park Day School. The faculty are top notch, the new head of school is truly visionary and has a keen sense of how to support staff, families, and students at all grades. As you probably know, there's an expansive campus which has come in handy for the pandemic as there is room for numerous outdoor classrooms and eating areas. The kids are currently tested twice/week and the protocols are clear for what happens when a positive case is identified. Masking is universal and enforced (as of this date). I have complete peace of mind with regard to covid. The kids are challenged and inspired by the curriculum--our younger had some trouble reading earlier in the year and it was identified to us and addressed quickly (with our partnership). There's a very strong emphasis on social justice. Also, so much to say about SEL at Park--the kids are supported in understanding their own identities, how important it is to respect each other for who we are. They learn to identify their emotions and to empathize with others around them. The school is in the early stages of implementing a strategic plan that has focused the school community on key areas of improvement. And the before/after school staff and programs are great. I hope that helps!

I can unequivocally say that Berkwood Hedge would not be a school that I would consider for my child. While there are excellent teachers in particular grades, there is a lack of structure, lack of clear behavioral expectations and responses, and lack of effective leadership in the wider school environment. Our child entered the Earth (2nd grade) class in Fall 2021, and very quickly was telling us about extreme teasing, physical harm, and a chaotic classroom environment. In our daughter’s previous Berkeley public school, there was nothing behaviorally like what she saw and experienced at Berkwood Hedge. She ended up feeling unsafe, overwhelmed by the social and behavioral problems, and didn’t feel able to seek adult help.

When parents approached the head of school, Love, with the issues, her response was filled with scapegoating and blaming others (including the teacher, parents, and even children’s accounts). Issues were handled in very inappropriate, haphazard and underhanded ways, that avoided actually addressing deeper cultural and leadership problems.

There are WAY too many details to go into, but out of the 16 families who began that year together, 6 have left. If any parents are considering sending their child to Berkwood Hedge, I am happy to discuss in detail everything we experienced. I suspect admissions will tell prospective parents that this year was an aberration, but I would welcome the opportunity to describe the depth and breadth of issues (and give you phone numbers of other parents who will do the same).

So, to answer your questions specifically, the socio-emotional learning was ineffective and our child’s class often could not get to academics due to the pervasive behavior problems. As far as Covid protocols, there was no testing at all when we were there (I think they started testing late-January 2022).

I don't have experience with the other schools, but I hope you find the right fit for your family. 

We have been part of the Park Day community for the past 7 years and have absolutely loved the school. Our third child will be starting Kindergarten at Park Day this upcoming school year and we couldn't be more excited to start all over again at the lower school! Park Day is truly a special place. The campus is magical, the teachers are incredible, and the community is inclusive in every way important. The Head of School is fantastic and overall, the school feels like it's in a very strong place. Park was a shining light for us during covid. While most other independent schools were only offering virtual learning, Park was a pioneer and welcomed their students back for in-person learning on their amazing campus.  Tents were set up all throughout campus - Park stood strong and did everything possible to keep in-person learning going strong. Park Day is truly a special place and I cannot recommend it highly enough, both for its rich academic programming and deep commitment to social-emotional learning.  

My daughter loves going to school every morning and comes home talking about all the different things she’s learning and exploring. She has felt supported to make a wide range of friends, both in her grade and throughout the school. The students delve into meaningful units of study that span months.  For example, in second grade the students are deep into poetry. They discuss, study, and recite poetry by Langston Hughes, Emma Lazarus, and Robert Frost among others, and also write and “publish” their own poems. This has been an immersive experience for my daughter and she is proud of what she’s accomplished. Children are playful and kind at the school, and staff and teachers are child-centered, nurturing, and good-humored.  In terms of Covid, the school tests twice a week on campus during the school day and my daughter says the test is by mouth and comfortable. They currently require masks. They may require Covid vaccines of students next year. All staff and teachers are vaccinated. My daughter is learning joyfully at Park Day and it’s a wonderful part of our lives.

I now have a fifth and seventh-grader at St. Paul's and we've been there since kindergarten. The school is a truly unique place that offers what I consider to be the most well-rounded education available in the region. It builds on what is potentially the most diverse community (by any measure - ethnicity, socio-economic status, LGBTQ+, belief system, family structure, etc.) of an independent school in the Bay Area and combines it with a social-emotional learning program created by its teachers to develop students that emerge as truly aware citizens of the world. Academics are rigorous, but class sizes are small enough that educators and staff to truly know each child and support them with legitimately individualized instruction. That said the school is not so small that it becomes "too small" as the kids progress into middle school (and the fact that it's K-8 means you won't have to go through THIS process for middle school! A huge benefit). There is no trade-off between diversity and academics. Indeed, diversity is the core of their academic program as they encourage students to understand their own identity, and those of their peers, and celebrate unique perspectives, traditions, and belief structures of all kinds.

As for COVID protocols, the school maintains an advisory council comprised of school administrators, parents, and representatives from the community and includes multiple physicians and an employee of the Alameda County Board of Health. Currently, they test students and staff twice a week and, according to a recent communication from the school, they performed over 29,000 tests over the last two years. Policies are thorough, regularly evaluated and updated as new conditions emerge, and always science-first and evidence-based. Also, last year the school performed significant upgrades to its HVAC system, along with many other measures that have allowed them to remain in-person, and provide after-school care, for most of last year, and all of the current year.

Please don't hesitate to reach out if have any more questions, I'm happy to answer whatever you need!

Best of luck in your decision making process,


My daughter started at Berkwood Hedge earlier this school year. Our family was excited to transition her there because of the promise of academic differentiation and their constructivist approach. We ended up pulling her out after five weeks for several reasons. Some of this was due to the teacher’s lack of instructional control that impacted her ability to teach the curriculum. When my daughter finally brought classwork home I was shocked how behind it was compared to the local public schools. She constantly complained that she was not learning anything and was bored. There was little socioemotional learning going on as well. Children were taught to fend for themselves and solve their own problems, which caused high incidents of bullying and some physical altercations. Although my daughter was not directly targeted it was stressful for her to hear constant name-calling and put-downs. As an educator and psychologist, I took her out because I felt Berkwood Hedge was not healthy for her well-being and the poor academics did not justify the high tuition. In addition, when we started there was zero Covid testing provided. Our family also felt little support from the head of school, which was disappointing because besides being a new family to their school community we were also one of the very few families of color in the entire class. My daughter is now thriving, engaged in learning, in a racially diverse classroom,  and is so much happier at her local public school. Good luck with your search and if any other parents have any questions about my experience at Berkwood Hedge please feel free to directly message me. 

We are a new family at Berkwood Hedge. I had heard of the challenges in the class the family who posted who left mentioned. I don't know enough about their experience, and it is heartbreaking that their child was in unsafe situations. 
Our family has been in a preschool where the administration handled a situation poorly and parents were shaken, and we have been the recipients of schools' handling things for our kids in ways that have shocked us. This was our experience in public school, and we have had to negotiate with the district due to harmful things done by a well-regarded school's principal. I say this to acknowledge that these experiences are real, and when one is trusting a place to care for their kids, it's distressing and scary. 

We are having a positive experience at Berkwood Hedge, thus far. We did not join at K, but the K teacher has been there a very long time and is lovely and warm and deeply invested in the kids and community. 
As our kids have adapted to the school, we've found the school's response to challenges mostly reasonable and supportive. There have been things we haven't loved or surprised us, however, after distressing experiences at a public school previously, we can see that our children are happy, learning, and have space to be themselves. Our sense is that the school is going through its own transitions (adding middle school grades), and it is figuring out how to be a multi-sited school, with a limited administration. That shouldn't be reflected in your kids' experiences, but my sense is this isn't permanent. 
Our approach to education is less formal than some -- not sure what you mean by 'academics,' especially in kindergarten? We love how immersive and creative the kids' days are. There is a lot of dance and music. Lunch and recess are very unstructured and the kids get to do dance parties and have some free range of the lower school campus. My older child gets a very integrated curriculum, something that felt lacking and flat at public schools. 
After considering a lot of schools last year, though highly limited since it was mostly on Zoom and even the assessments of kids were on Zoom, which was a horrible medium for getting to know our kids, (for the other schools you mentioned, not Berkwood Hedge), we think we've ended up at the right place for our less typical kids. We are in a place that feels expansive, and our kids with different challenges and temperaments are doing well. All the schools you mention will have strengths and cultures that may or may not tap into what you hope for for your kid. Berkwood Hedge is a small school, somewhat in transition as they expand to middle school (something not all parents are happy about but we are as the curriculum sounds great), and it is not perfect. One is entitled to want one's kid to be safe, thriving and joyful at the school they're at regardless of whether it's private or not! What has stood out for us at Berkwood Hedge, compared to the multiple public and preschools where we've had our kids, is that we have found ways to work with the school when things haven't landed. 
Good luck with your choice. I hope you don't ever find your kid in a place that is unsafe. It's good to remember you can always change schools. This doesn't have to be a perfect choice. Your kid will change, your expectations will, too. 

We looked at both Park Day and Berkwood Hedge and ended up at BH.  Berkwood just felt more comfortable and warm.  They go out of their way to make you feel welcome the parent community is the best we've seen.  They have community meetings every week so you feel in the know and the teachers are very responsive and always get back to us within a day or so.  The kindergarten is really special and our child never wants to leave.  

They just opened a middle school but we don't have experience there yet - Curious to see how that goes - Would highly recommend BH, COVID or not.  Great balance of academics, fun, social justice, and progressive curriculum.  Oh, and they have forest day in Tilden every week when the weather is nice.  

We actually left Berkwood Hedge a few years ago because we were fortunate enough to be offered a spot at Park Day. While we "liked" Berkwood Hedge we absolutely LOVE  Park Day. From our experience, the academics, socio-emotional learning, and school leadership are just so much stronger at Park Day. We also value the incredible diversity at Park Day which our family felt was lacking at Berkwood Hedge. The campus is magical with so many beautiful trees. My child is so much happier being surrounded by nature and having more room to roam. I could go on and on but overall we are so grateful to be part of the Park Day community. 

extracurricular offerings

I'm a Berkwood Hedge parent of both a 1st grader and a 4th grade student, and I also am a preschool teacher and director with over 20 years experience in the field.  When I found Berkwood Hedge, I immediately felt that this school was a continuation of the preschool program I have.  It has a warmth to it and a community that is so strong, and that is what has kept us here all of these years.  My children feel seen and loved by all the teachers and staff at the school, and so do I!  Hanan, the Kindergarten teacher, is someone who has been there forever and is the kind of teacher you dream about, and we have had a lovely experience with all of the teachers there.  

I specifically feel strongly about how they have handled the pandemic and am grateful for how they moved to be safe for in-person learning before most other schools were.  Their commitment to the children and the families was demonstrated in how they navigated all of the issues and basically built outdoor classrooms in order to have children back in school as soon as possible.  We were thrilled to have our children in person from Oct. 2020.  To me, it showed their dedication to the children's and families' needs that they worked so hard to welcome children back in person as soon as they could.

The Kindergarten program is full of fun and challenging activities and curriculum, held together by the strength of the teachers Hanan and Silver.  Their deep understanding of young children's learning as well as their social and emotional needs makes the transition from preschool to Kindergarten as easy as possible.  As a parent of a child who was deeply nervous about Kindergarten and not being 20 yards away from me at my preschool, I was so appreciative for the love and care they gave and still give to my children.  My children are thriving academically and emotionally, and Berkwood Hedge is a big part of why!

We are one of the multiple families that left Berkwood Hedge earlier this year. Based on our experience I can’t recommend Berkwood Hedge. We enrolled our daughter here because the school appeared very supportive and nurturing but after the first weeks, we realized we made a mistake. On the first day, our daughter alerted us of the multiple behavior issues occurring in the classroom. These behavior problems escalated and interfered with instruction. Reading, math, and writing were canceled/shortened because of behavioral issues. Communication was also poor. Several parents only knew issues occurring in the classroom because their children told them. During the first parent meeting, several parents were in tears. Our family made the decision to leave Berkwood Hedge right after the Back to School night.  It became apparent that the teacher and the head of school offered no clear guidance. Another huge factor was academics. We enrolled at Berkwood because of the promise of individualized learning but the academics my daughter was exposed to mirrored her first months of 1st grade and this was a 2nd-grade class. I think the curriculum was also an antecedent to behavioral issues. Berkwood says that it places the “highest priority of safety for all its students” -which our family felt was not accurate. Almost half of the class left because of these issues. I also do not think their Covid guidelines are clear. There was no testing the first few months our child was there. My daughter’s current school protocols are clear and we know how many of the staff and the students are vaccinated. I would not recommend Berkwood Hedge.