Head-Royce Summer Program

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Operated By: 
Head Royce School
School-Aged, Preteens
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Parent Reviews

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Archived Q&A and Reviews


Feb 2015

I am looking into Head Royce's Lower School Summer Program for this summer (for child entering 4th grade) and would be interested in hearing reviews/feedback from parents of children who have attended the program in the last 2 years or so. There are a few reviews posted already but they seem a little dated so I was hoping to see more recent feedback about the program, including the quality of the academic component. It would also be helpful to get a sense of whether most of the students who attend are Head Royce students or if there are a mix of students from other schools. (My child is not a Head Royce student.) Thanks in advance. Anon

We loved it! Our daughter was going into first grade and she absolutely loved it. I'm not sure if it's because of the structure or the fact she got to go there for three weeks (as opposed to just one or two), but she absolutely loved it. I will say that the dropoff situation was not very convenient, and they were *very* strict about her being in her seat by the time the bell rang at 8:30. For me, it was a hassle to park on Lincoln and then walk all the way down in the school to her classroom, but my daughter was 5 at the time, so perhaps it would be easier with an older kid who you could drop off at the front gate. The strictness of the bell schedule wasn't what I expected with a summer camp, but we got used to it. Overall loved it, if we weren't moving out of the area we'd do it again for sure. It was my daughter's favorite. Worth the $

My daughter attended HR summer camp the past two summers and liked it. We were happy overall, but I've decided not to send her again this year. She's entering the 4th grade. Personally I think the academics are quite weak but it depends on where you're coming from. My daughter attends a private, academically rigorous school so what they do in the academic portion of the day at HR camp is not challenging at all for her. Most of the kids that attend the camp do not attend HR during the school year. There is a big mix of kids from all over, including a significant portion from public schools. I think the reason they tend to water down the academics is to be sure they are able to accommodate kids from all academic experiences and backgrounds. The teachers seem really nice, as are the afternoon counselors. Overall it's a good, well run camp. Depends on what you're looking for

April 2011

Has anyone had any experience with the Head Royce summer program? It looks great for a summer academic theme camp, sort of balancing fun with work. My daughter is in need of some math work and she has a mild learning difference. Does anyone have any experience with the program to be able to tell me how rigorous this is? I don't want her to feel like a fish out of water, or put her in a program too hard to be of help to her. I am having difficulty finding a math camp for a 13 y/o believe it or not. Thanks for the input......

I have sent my two children to Head Royce summer program for the past three years. This past summer, particulary with the middle school program, I felt like it was a waste of our money. At the end of the 3 week program, we only received one evaluation for the 2 academic classes that my son took and it was not positive. What I found disturbing was that no one contacted us at all during the program to let us know that there were any problems. We don't know why we never got feedback from the other class and had to assume that the evaluation would not have been good. So we felt like they took our money, but were not accountable to us for any follow through. They also weren't very flexible with sports activities for our elementary student. One summer they made my 3rd grader swim 3 times a day for the whole session and refused to change it when I requested it the first week. My advice, spend your money on a nice vacation instead. Anon

On behalf of the Head-Royce Summer Program, I need to say that we are surprised and sorry that a parent has experienced our program as was described. The parent was right in that we do have an established and very active curriculum for K-5 Recreation Camp that does not allow for elementary students to enroll in middle school level sports or do other sports beyond our already active K-5 rotations. (I recall this parent's telephone request prior to the summer, so I am able to fill in details here.) To clarify the swim expectation, our Red Cross Swim lessons meet (only) once every day, a mandatory and wonderful part of the K-5 morning program. We are also lucky to be in a position to offer two other daily recreational swim opportunities for kids staying until 6, both of which are optional with on-land alternatives. Finally, we have a great track record of supporting all kids, especially those facing challenges, and we typically receive very positive feedback from Middle School parents to this end. In the unusual case that an evaluation report goes missing, parents just have to let us know, and we can then provide materials immediately. Thanks, Andrew von Mayrhauser, Summer Program Director at Head-Royce School.

Jan 2010

Re: Low-key half day camps for just-turned 6 yr-old?
Last summer I taught a half-day course for middle schoolers at the Head-Royce Summer Program, while my three lower school children (then 5,7, 9) attended the LS program. They LOVED the camp so much that they begged to go all day. They could swim, do science projects, play in the garden, read and craft stories, among other academic and playful activities. Most of all, they enjoyed making new friends from all over the Bay Area. Come check it out! Hilary

April 2007

Re: Summer Camp with daily swimming
Hey folks summer is upon us and if you are a busy working parent like me looking for a great summer program for your kids I have news for you! My son has been attending Head Royce Summer School going on his third summer. We love the program and while it costs a little more than some it is definately well worth the money. The program offers academics, creative courses, sports, and swimming. The combination keeps the kids interested and excited about attending. For me my greatest pleasure is knowing that my son is in a safe place, where the adults and youth couselors keep the best interest of the children at heart and behave in line with that philosophy. We are going back again this summer and are filled with excited anticipation. Hope to see you there. nk

I also recommend the Head Royce summer Camp program. Our daughter is attending for the third year this summer. The swim program is very good and kids that stay all day can swim 2x a day. They also have many different activities and an academic program in the morning (this is for the younger grades- I'm not familiar with the older grade schoolers). The academic program isn't terribly challenging (mostly review) but the teachers are engaged and really seem to enjoy the kids. Most of the teachers also teach grade school during the regular school year at various schools in the community. The long program (6 weeks) also allows your child to make friends and have a lot of time with them. Good luck finding a program - you have a lot to choose from in the Bay Area. - RK

March 2007

We have sent our oldest child to Head Royce for 3 summers and our youngest for 1 summer but will not be sending them again. In the past we have liked the program because they have a great swim hour every day, it is convenient, runs for 6 weeks and my son had creative teachers. The aftercare is expensive and only OK, but the sports choices are great. Last year both my kids had a bad experience. The 3rd grade class was not creative and the kids did worksheets all summer, not art or creative projects. When I suggested a more challenging math program because he could already do subtraction, the teacher said she didn't want him to forget it. My son's first grade class was frequently out of control and the kids were always in timeout and the creative activities were taken away as punishment. I talked to the teacher and things were better for a week. I tried to talk to the administrators and left 3 phone calls but didn't get a response. It is a very expensive program and my expectations were higher. My kids begged me not to send them again. AB S

Feb 2005

We were just made aware of the Head Royce Summer Enrichment Program. We haven't seen any postings about this program. We would appreciate hearing anything you may know about this program. Thank you. Carlo

My two daughters have attended the Head Royce Summer Program for a number of years. I like the program for several reasons. It lasts for 5-6 weeks, so it's nice to have your child at one place for this length of time! The program is very well run, with a combination of academics and sports. My kids are at a Montclair elementary school and didn't find the academics particularly challenging, but depending on the quality of the teaching, it gave them a bit of a head start on the upcoming school year. Some of the teachers are Head Royce teachers during the school year, and some are public and private school teachers from the surrounding area. In the lower grades, the kids swim every day, which is a great way for a child to learn to swim well. I didn't care for the head after-care teacher at all, but I understand she will not be there this year. The aftercare (12 noon onwards) is like most aftercares - not very exciting -- but if you add some sports classes, like tennis or softball, it works out very well. The child drop-off and pick-up system is a bit of a nightmare, but you get used to it. There is an orientation evening in early June for new parents. The program is not cheap, but we are been happy with it for the past 5 years. a camp worth doing

March 2003

I am looking for a camp with an academic component for my going into second grade daughter. She is bright, but a little on the young side, and needs some help with reading/writing skills. I'd prefer something that is not terribly competitive, still has some traditional camp stuff going on (swimming, sports and the like). I've looked on the website, and I see Head-Royce school has a program... Would that be too competitive for a child looking to refine first grade skills rather than get a headstart on second grade skills? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Worried Mom

I think you will find the Head Royce Summer Program is just what you are looking for! My daughter, who is in 3rd grade at Joaquin Miller Elementary in Montclair, has attended this camp for the last two years and will go again this summer.

She did not find the school work academically challenging; rather, it was a continuation of things she had learned that school year, which was just what we were looking for. Some of the teachers are on the HR staff and some are from other schools. My daughter had a HR teacher the first year and a teacher from the Pleasant Hill school district last year. Both teachers were good. There is plenty of opportunity to take extra activities such as tennis.

I really like the HR program because it is extremely well staffed and well organized. The facilities are very nice. The program is a little pricey: about $850 for the 6-week course from 8:30 to noon, but when you consider that they swim every day, it is reasonable, since we would have had to pay for separate swimming lessons last year. There is an after-care program for an extra cost, that is also well-run. They are very flexible about how much time you spend at the after care.

If you are concerned about how the program would suit your daughter, I would suggest calling the summer program office and leaving a detailed message. When I have had questions in the past, they have been very good about calling me back. Lastly, it would be a good idea to sign up for the program soon, since I understand the early grades fill up quickly. Good luck. Charlotte

Jan 2000

We went to Head Royce for the Algebra program. We didn't do it in-Lieu of, but it gave my son a huge amount of confidence when taking algebra in 8th Grade. It's only a 6 week program and the cost was pretty reasonable. Also, there is a bus from (64) from Berkeley Bart that takes them about 3 blocks away from the school. -- Elizabeth