Walden Center and School

★★★★☆
  • 2446 McKinley Ave

    Berkeley, CA 94703

    Map & Directions
  • 510-841-7248

Education

Education
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4.0 6
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My child attended this school for a number of years. It has since been a long road working with remedial education experts, tutors and time-intensive sessions at summer school. This schools focus on the "whole child" and it does have a great arts program; but buyer-beware it will come at a cost of your children receiving any sort of academic preparation. This school prides itself for having been around for decades, and it is apparent that the curriculum and school calendar have not been updated in several decades.

For some children this may be an excellent fit; However, if you are at all concerned about academics, your child will be better served elsewhere.

2
★★☆☆☆

My child attended this school for a number of years. It has since been a long road working with remedial education experts, tutors and time-intensive sessions at summer school. This schools focus on the "whole child" and it does have a great arts program; but buyer-beware it will come at a cost of your children receiving any sort of academic preparation. This school prides itself for having been around for decades, and it is apparent that the curriculum and school calendar have not been updated in several decades.

For some children this may be an excellent fit; However, if you are at all concerned about academics, your child will be better served elsewhere.

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Both of my children have received a superb education at Walden. The oldest, now a middle schooler, was well prepared, academically and socially, to excel in the "real world." The learning skills and confidence he gained at Walden enabled him quickly to understand and meet the expectations of his middle school teachers. The child-centered, arts-based teaching at Walden supported rather than squashed his joy in learning. I highly recommend this school.

5
★★★★★

Both of my children have received a superb education at Walden. The oldest, now a middle schooler, was well prepared, academically and socially, to excel in the "real world." The learning skills and confidence he gained at Walden enabled him quickly to understand and meet the expectations of his middle school teachers. The child-centered, arts-based teaching at Walden supported rather than squashed his joy in learning. I highly recommend this school.

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Our two older daughters graduated from Walden and our youngest started this year. Not only did our two older girls love going to school, they were well prepared to go on to private middle school, and the oldest is at Berkeley High School taking several challenging classes. Our little one is thrilled to be there. When our friends asked her how she liked her new school last week, she replied "I love my school!"

Academics at Walden are taught using learning strands. The teachers weave the subjects together so kids are learning topics in depth- ie. they might study the rain forest and bring that subject into math and language arts, as well as science. The hands-on science at Walden, especially in the ''middle group'' is stimulating and really gets kids thinking as scientists- ''what happens if?'' and ''why did that happen?''

Walden helped our girls develop creativity in problem solving and critical thinking skills that serve them well and have prepared them to meet the mundane exercise of taking standardized test with ease. Concerned that taking standardized , the night before my daughter's PSAT, I counseled her to get to bed early and make sure she had time to eat a good breakfast. My daughter's response: "Mommy, those tests are so easy! They give you the answer right there, you don't even need to come up with it yourself!"

The music, art and drama programs are first rate- I don't think many other schools' programs come close to what the kids at Walden get in terms of the arts. It is a delight to watch kids sing and dance with joy and exuberance, all the way through the sixth grade.

A few other positives- there is true diversity at Walden- economic, racial, LGBT. The community is small and most families form strong friendship bonds over the years. There is very low teacher turnover- many teachers have been at Walden for 10-20+ years! And yes, it's private, but the cost is among the lowest in the Bay Area. I would strongly recommend checking out this gem of a school.

5
★★★★★

Our two older daughters graduated from Walden and our youngest started this year. Not only did our two older girls love going to school, they were well prepared to go on to private middle school, and the oldest is at Berkeley High School taking several challenging classes. Our little one is thrilled to be there. When our friends asked her how she liked her new school last week, she replied "I love my school!"

Academics at Walden are taught using learning strands. The teachers weave the subjects together so kids are learning topics in depth- ie. they might study the rain forest and bring that subject into math and language arts, as well as science. The hands-on science at Walden, especially in the ''middle group'' is stimulating and really gets kids thinking as scientists- ''what happens if?'' and ''why did that happen?''

Walden helped our girls develop creativity in problem solving and critical thinking skills that serve them well and have prepared them to meet the mundane exercise of taking standardized test with ease. Concerned that taking standardized , the night before my daughter's PSAT, I counseled her to get to bed early and make sure she had time to eat a good breakfast. My daughter's response: "Mommy, those tests are so easy! They give you the answer right there, you don't even need to come up with it yourself!"

The music, art and drama programs are first rate- I don't think many other schools' programs come close to what the kids at Walden get in terms of the arts. It is a delight to watch kids sing and dance with joy and exuberance, all the way through the sixth grade.

A few other positives- there is true diversity at Walden- economic, racial, LGBT. The community is small and most families form strong friendship bonds over the years. There is very low teacher turnover- many teachers have been at Walden for 10-20+ years! And yes, it's private, but the cost is among the lowest in the Bay Area. I would strongly recommend checking out this gem of a school.

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I am a parent at Walden - my son is in the 4th grade - and being at Walden, I feel like my son gets to have his cake and eat it too! The approach to teaching and the program at Walden allow children to learn everything they need to learn within a context that is rich in creativity and the arts and that also takes into account the individual learning styles of each student. The small class size at every level lets the teachers really get to know the children. They are able to tailor the program to provide extra support and extra challenge where indicated.
The teachers do value sufficient playtime for children and to that end they have built a 30 min am recess and a 60 min lunch recess in to the daily schedule. During class time the children work hard and the expectations are high.
As a parent, I have never felt the absence of a director to be a negative thing. The teachers are extremely invested in the success of the school and one does need to be comfortable with bringing any concerns or questions to the attention of one of the staff. But once you let someone know your issue, I have always found them to be very responsive.
I feel very lucky to have found Walden!

5
★★★★★

I am a parent at Walden - my son is in the 4th grade - and being at Walden, I feel like my son gets to have his cake and eat it too! The approach to teaching and the program at Walden allow children to learn everything they need to learn within a context that is rich in creativity and the arts and that also takes into account the individual learning styles of each student. The small class size at every level lets the teachers really get to know the children. They are able to tailor the program to provide extra support and extra challenge where indicated.
The teachers do value sufficient playtime for children and to that end they have built a 30 min am recess and a 60 min lunch recess in to the daily schedule. During class time the children work hard and the expectations are high.
As a parent, I have never felt the absence of a director to be a negative thing. The teachers are extremely invested in the success of the school and one does need to be comfortable with bringing any concerns or questions to the attention of one of the staff. But once you let someone know your issue, I have always found them to be very responsive.
I feel very lucky to have found Walden!

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1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

.

Our daughter has been at Walden Center and School since Kindergarten and is now in the 5th grade. She loves it and we love it. She is learning all of the basics well, plus she is developing a capacity for critical thinking, superb self-confidence, empathy, and the ability to entertain complex ideas. She is also receiving a rich and varied arts education.

Play is a fundamental biological mechanism for learning in all mammals, including us. A Walden education takes advantage of that biological fact and makes learning joyful and fun. So, yes, there is plenty of play.

Walden graduates get on very well in the world socially, academically, and professionally. Harvard, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Chicago to name a few have educated Walden grads.

Leadership is shared at Walden; it does not rest in a single person. This model allows for the highly individualized education that Walden students receive, and teaches everyone in the Walden community how to have a voice and how to listen.

I couldn't recommend this school more highly.

5
★★★★★

Our daughter has been at Walden Center and School since Kindergarten and is now in the 5th grade. She loves it and we love it. She is learning all of the basics well, plus she is developing a capacity for critical thinking, superb self-confidence, empathy, and the ability to entertain complex ideas. She is also receiving a rich and varied arts education.

Play is a fundamental biological mechanism for learning in all mammals, including us. A Walden education takes advantage of that biological fact and makes learning joyful and fun. So, yes, there is plenty of play.

Walden graduates get on very well in the world socially, academically, and professionally. Harvard, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Chicago to name a few have educated Walden grads.

Leadership is shared at Walden; it does not rest in a single person. This model allows for the highly individualized education that Walden students receive, and teaches everyone in the Walden community how to have a voice and how to listen.

I couldn't recommend this school more highly.

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1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

.

Walden Center is an example of too much of a good thing. Child centered, creative, and experiential are all excellent approaches to learning. However, this "school" is really just a place where children play all day. They learn many things, but they don't seem to learn enough to survive in the real world. After Walden, they encounter a world of grades, tests, and expectations they never had to meet there. The teachers run the school so there is no real leadership and nobody is truly in charge. With proper leadership and a bit more structure, this would be a fabulous place.

2
★★☆☆☆

Walden Center is an example of too much of a good thing. Child centered, creative, and experiential are all excellent approaches to learning. However, this "school" is really just a place where children play all day. They learn many things, but they don't seem to learn enough to survive in the real world. After Walden, they encounter a world of grades, tests, and expectations they never had to meet there. The teachers run the school so there is no real leadership and nobody is truly in charge. With proper leadership and a bit more structure, this would be a fabulous place.

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1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

 

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