Sponsor Spotlight: The Crowden School in Berkeley - 510 Families

Sponsor Spotlight: The Crowden School in Berkeley

This post is sponsored by The Crowden School in Berkeley, the only school in the entire country that uses chamber music (playing music together in small groups) as its educational model for third through eighth grades. But for its students, The Crowden School is a second home, where they can feel comfortable and thrive.

3 students play cello
Students begin every morning playing music together followed by a full academic school day | Photo: The Crowden School

For nearly 40 years, a small school in Berkeley has nurtured Bay Area children with a singular idea: when you put music at the center of academic learning, amazing things happen! So what does The Crowden School mean when they say that “music changes everything?”

Collaborative Learning + Daily Music = Kids Who Thrive

At The Crowden School, small class sizes and close student-teacher interactions allow for each student to be recognized and appreciated as a unique individual, and to develop confidence in themselves and their abilities. Crowden’s collaborative learning model prompts students to work well independently and within a group, encouraging individual leadership as well as teamwork.

2 students work on science
Students work together in academic classes, which emphasize hands-on, project-based learning

This educational approach cultivates an environment of empathy, trust, and respect among its students. Through the daily activity of playing music together in small ensembles, Crowden students learn how to listen closely and respectfully to one another. They learn the results and value of practice and perseverance, and how to be accountable to their teammates. Students then take these essential skills into the academic classrooms, where they engage in collaborative challenges that develop critical thinking, curiosity, self-confidence, and a lifelong love of learning.

Beginners Welcomed in Grades 3 to 8

Kids don’t need any musical experience to attend The Crowden School – they now accept beginners into all grades, 3–8. If your child is curious about the world or enjoys being part of a team, they will fit right in at Crowden. Students and teachers focus on supporting one another through all stages of their musical, academic, and personal growth. It’s a fantastic experience to attend a concert, and hear the entire student body cheer just as enthusiastically for the beginners as for the most experienced players!

students with violins string instruments
Joy in playing music together unlocks a love of all learning for Crowden students, who are known for their curiosity and intellectual independence.

What Crowden Parents Say

“Our family was drawn to Crowden because we wanted a small independent school with a low student-to-teacher ratio. We were sold on Crowden because of the unique opportunity that the students have to collaborate in a mutual endeavor that is both creative and constructive without being competitive. We (the caregivers) are not musicians ourselves, and our kids did not study music before attending Crowden. Our kids have learned everything they know about music from the faculty and community as a part of the Crowden curriculum. We have been elated to see our children grow into musicians as they have graduated from year to year in the school.” ~ Kendra, parent of one current student and one alum

“We chose Crowden because it is unique. Crowden teaches music as a core subject alongside a rigorous academic curriculum and we like the idea of starting every school day with music! This is our second year in Crowden and we are very happy with the choice we made. The class sizes are on the small side, so each student gets a lot of attention.” ~ Suman, parent of a current seventh-grade student

students hold hands and smile
The Crowden School experience fosters close friendships that transcend childhood and can last a lifetime.

See The Crowden School For Yourself

There is no substitute for seeing Crowden’s joyful students and expert faculty in action during the school day. Parents are encouraged to bring their kids to visit the school so that they can see for themselves what it is like to be a Crowden student!

Visit crowden.org/admissions to schedule your personalized tour, or drop by anytime during the school’s upcoming Open House on Friday, Nov. 11, 8:30 am-3:30 pm.

Wednesday Info Sessions for Prospective Crowden Parents

The school offers virtual info sessions for parents curious to learn how Crowden’s collaborative curriculum can benefit their child. Virtual info sessions are also a great way to meet school leadership and faculty, and to talk to current parents:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022: 6:30 to 7:30 pm
  • Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022: 6:30 to 7:30 pm
  • Wednesday, Jan. 11: 6:30 to 7:30 pm

Visit crowden.org/admissions to RSVP for an info session and receive the meeting link.

[All photos provided by The Crowden School and used with permission]

Thank you to The Crowden School for being a sponsor. Crowden also offers music lessons, classes, and ensembles for all ages and levels in the general community including their upcoming Winter Break Strings & Piano Camp. We thank them for sponsoring {510} Families. Learn more >


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