Da Vinci Center for Gifted Children
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Da Vinci school in Alameda for our gifted child?
Hi, I'm happy to offer our experience with Da Vinci in Alameda!
We've had a positive ''transformative'' experience for our child who changed from an anxious, bored, dis-regulated, almost no friends kid whom we had to fight with daily to get them to even go to school (and lost many of those battles), to a happy, outgoing, social, albeit still spirited child who is happy to skip out the door to go see friends and learn in an environment that almost seems hand selected to their personal learning style.
That's because Da Vinci classes are a 5:1 ratio, mixed age class where the kids are put together based on level, interests, and social-emotional stage and they can cater to the asynchronicites of these amazing kids. Currently there are 5 groups of 5 kids and they are expanding to a 6th group next Fall for 30 total kids. They have core teachers that teach math, science, reading/writing as well as specialized teachers for Art, Music, Drama, Chinese. Additional after school classes are available such as Violin and more options coming next Fall. The school focus is project-based learning with plenty of social-emotional support and plenty of outdoor time (1 full hour at the local park after lunch in between morning and afternoon classes).
So what are the Cons? For us, my only concern would be what would happen if I needed to pull out our child before high school- since all the classes meet the kids at their level rather than by grade level, you aren't ''guaranteed'' that your child will meet core standards in all subjects at their grade level. So while they may be super advanced in Reading/Writing and be doing things at many grade spans above there, they may be lower in Math, etc. That's the very nature of asynchronicity in gifted children. So if you are about academics and meeting set ''standards'', this school would not be a good choice.
If you are more about teaching to the whole child and bringing the joy of learning back and meeting your child where they are, then this school is it. These kids become self-motivated learners. Also, Da Vinci leans more toward structure than un-structure, in my opinion, so for kids who don't do as well in a structured environment with set expectations, you may look into other more ''unschooling'' or homeschooling type options. I know some families who the school was not a good fit for and I also know very many thrilled parents- it really depends on your child's best learning style. A Da Vinci Parent
Hello! I would highly recommend Da Vinci Center for Gifted Children in Alameda. While a fairly new school, Da Vinci is a fabulous environment for gifted learners - highly collaborative, not competitive ... growth is 100% based on a student's abilities. The community is fabulous and the new school site amazing. With a 5 to 1 student teacher ratio (and that is truly 5 students in a class with one teacher), as well as true specialists teaching each subject ... it is a wonderful find (and not a drive to Marin or the Peninsula). The school also focused on the social and emotional growth of each student - and includes weekly classes in music, drama, computers and Mandarin. We have been thrilled with Da Vinci.