We believe it is through learning that we truly come alive. Our motto at Sonoma Country Day School is, “Our search is for those moments and situations when we are most alive.” Children experience a rich program that presents challenge for all learners and inspires joy in intellectual discovery. At our foundation is an exceptional faculty who balance high expectations for students while deeply caring about them as young people. We take great pride in offering a safe, nurturing environment that promotes academic excellence, health and well-being, and personal integrity.
An ethic of care, respect, and responsibility pervades our community. At the center of our school culture is a Community Code that defines our interactions and informs our personal choices. Students take pleasure in the work of learning, and pride in personal contribution as well as accomplishment. Children and adults alike practice care and respect for themselves, others, our community, and the natural world in which we live. We seek to understand human differences and the complexity and interconnectedness of our world. Service is integral to our program and students connect their learning to improving our world. We cultivate balanced, healthy, ethical, civic-minded leaders for the future.
Every child is known and valued. Classes are structured to allow teachers to understand each student as a whole person. Cross-age learning experiences foster relationships between children of different ages and all teachers within our school. The parent-teacher partnership is a key element to our success. Public presentation of ideas honors students’ personal passions in learning. Monday Assembly is an opportunity to integrate all that is at the heart of SCDS. Students share their academic accomplishments, artistic performances, athletic awards, service learning experiences, and highlights of field trips, while practicing the critical skills of leadership, public speaking, and presentation of ideas.
No child is viewed as average. Teachers establish clear and challenging goals for learning, articulated in SCDS curriculum maps, and develop a comprehensive program that honors each student’s needs as well as each student’s capacity for learning. Teachers continually assess students relative to these goals, and adjust instruction so that students can learn as much as efficiently as possible. In any learning experience, the content taught is not the sole focus. The process a student follows and the ways in which a student expresses learning are equally meaningful. Students’ own voices are a valuable perspective in this approach. We foster self-reflection and self-advocacy, and older students lead their own conferences. Our teachers understand that their own learning and professional renewal enrich their classroom practice.
We teach students to think like entrepreneurs. Students learn to lead effectively and collaborate with others through authentic experiences in the classroom, in athletics and extracurricular activities, and in our outdoor programs. Faculty encourage students to take responsibility for their learning, engage in a wide array of academic, artistic, and physical endeavors, exercise their creativity, and view setbacks as opportunities to grow. Teachers model inquiry and teamwork through pedagogical decisions and curriculum integration. As they mature as learners, students develop persistence and self-direction, and are able to identify opportunities, innovate, think critically, and solve problems. Ultimately, students understand that original ideas have value and can create social as well as financial good.
SCDS builds on the long tradition of our nation’s finest independent progressive country day schools. All students engage in the breadth and depth of our program. The arts are not an elective; every student learns to play an instrument, read music, perform on stage, and work in a range of media. They study two languages in K-5 and concentrate in one in grades 6-8. Physical, social, and emotional well being are integrated throughout our learning. Leadership and service are expected of everyone. Our campus inspires students to enjoy learning in our library, computer and science labs, art, music, and dance studios, professional theater and kitchen, gym, playgrounds, sports fields, native plant corridors, and gardens. Outdoor education plays a pivotal role in learning, as do intramural and interscholastic athletics, and travel experiences for our older students.
We do not simply enroll a student; we enroll a family. The SCDS distinction involves parents as active partners in their children's education. Families' collaboration with our teachers, reinforcement of learning and development as a person at home, and full participation in the SCDS experience are critical to the success of every child and our school. Our original pledge as a school was “We will change your family’s dinner table conversation,” and that remains as true today as it was at our inception in 1983.