15 Reasons to Choose PDS
Every curricular decision at PDS begins with a simple question, “How do boys learn best?” We know boys learn best in an environment that is catered to them. Because all boys do not learn at the same rate, they need a curriculum that is customized to meet their needs. Customizing instruction at PDS means that we design learning environments that continually adapt and adjust to the needs of the each learner. With nine learning specialists or learning coaches on staff, each boy is able to journey on a path that is influenced by his particular skills, abilities, and learning preferences.
PDS is designed to be a safe space for boys to take risks and try new things. We are intentional about creating learning experiences which push students to wrestle with questions, manage ambiguity, and adapt to change. With recognition that a student’s path of learning will reflect a cycle of successes and stumbling blocks, our boys are encouraged to bounce back from frustrating experiences and take advantage of these setbacks as opportunities to deepen understanding. In these challenging moments, our students display resilience and demonstrate their learning in flexible ways.
Critical and Creative Thinking
Our academic program builds each year to provide students with a comprehensive, challenging, and boy-centered education. With emphasis placed on the development of strong critical and creative thinking skills, our boys will be effective communicators, collaborators, and problem-solvers.
Across all subject areas, PDS boys are asked to participate in thinking routines and make their thinking visible by using oral and written language to describe their own thoughts and the thoughts of others. Boys work together to research, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize their ideas. PDS students will know how to think and how to apply knowledge - vital skills that they can use now and in the future.
STEAM in the Classroom
At Presbyterian Day School, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) isn’t a separate class the boys attend once a week, it’s integrated into the classroom. Whether designing 3-D atomic models in Science Lab or exploring how locks work, PDS boys are active participants in the learning process.
At our annual Maker Faire, our thinkers and tinkerers show off projects they’ve created and built at home. You’ll find everything from stop-motion Lego movies to homemade hoverboards.
In addition to all the in-classroom STEAM, we hold special two-day STEAM-focused events annually. This year, it was all about exploring the designs and theories of Leonardo da Vinci. In the past, boys used the EDGE Design Thinking to research and design a whole putt-putt golf course in the gym!
Small Group Learning
At PDS every boy is known, nurtured and loved and we begin by building relationships. In the book, Reaching Boys Teaching Boys, Strategies That Work and Why, Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley state that “boys are relational learners” and we know this to be true when working with young boys. How better to build an academic plan than through being in a relationship?
Teachers take time to get to know each boy and identify educational needs. Much of the teaching is done in instructional groups. This enables teachers to offer additional support when needed as well as challenge the more mature learner through small group instruction. Groupings are fluid to meet the ever-changing learning needs of boys. We know boys learn best through hands on activities and experiential learning. Small group instruction is a perfect fit for this.
We believe that boys should be intentionally taught about authentic manhood and have a biblical framework for making wise and edifying choices during their teenage years and beyond. That’s why every 5th- and 6th-grade boy meets regularly with one of our male mentors.
Mentors work through “The 7 Virtues of Manhood,” our book that walks our 5th-grade boys through the virtues, helping them apply the virtues to their own lives and “Flight Plan,” our book that gives our 6th-grade boys a vision for authentic manhood, preparing them to make wise choices as they enter their teenage years.
These mentors also serve as advocates for their group of boys throughout the week. Many times these mentors are spending more time during the week with these boys than their parents. It is comforting to them to know that they have a godly man setting the example and looking after their son on a regular basis.
Service learning is vital part of our community, combining community service with learning objectives. As we “develop boys in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man,” service learning helps our boys gain insight into challenges faced by others and the satisfaction of knowing they have helped in some way.
In addition to connecting with our mission, service learning connects with the Seven Virtues of our Building Boys Making Men program. As a “Servant Leader,” we teach our students to use leadership skills to serve others and as a “Pacesetter” they learn to make a positive impact on their community.
Technology | Coding | Robotics
At PDS, technology is seamlessly integrated into the classroom to support and enhance student learning. With technology, students are given a choice in how they demonstrate and apply their knowledge.
We also believe it is important to prepare our students for a future workplace (one that most likely requires problem solving, project design, and exceptional communication skills). For this reason, boys in the elementary division participate in a coding class as well as robotics. Boys learn the programming concepts of sequencing, loops, conditionals, functions and variables. Most importantly, boys see themselves as creators and designers of interactive stories, games, animations, and simulations. The highly engaging robotics class asks the boys to build a robot from a Lego set and program it to complete various tasks. It doesn’t take long for the boys to realize that even the simplest task requires the integration of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
Art and Music for Every Boy
At PDS, we believe in the importance of art and music for every boy.
The visual arts curriculum exposes students to elements of art (color, line, and shape) and principles of design (pattern, movement, and proportion) in artworks and the surrounding environment. PDS boys develop essential knowledge and skills which empower them to apply their learning and create their own masterpieces.
Early Childhood students begin to develop an appreciation for music as an art form in their Music and Movement class. They explore ways to move their bodies in response to sounds and rhythm. They also learn ways to focus their attention and demonstrate self control in response to verbal cues which is a very important task for success in school!
Making Thinking Visible/Design Thinking
At PDS, we have a deep desire for our boys to become capable contributors to the world’s needs. Using our customized design thinking framework, PDS boys become need-finders and collaborate together to create products, services, experiences, or systems that fit the end-users needs. We call our framework EDGE and use each letter to guide the design process.
Explore the Problem
Grow Your Ideas
Developmentally Appropriate Practice in the Classroom
Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) is a research-based approach to teaching focused on how young children develop and learn best. DAP is designed to promote optimal learning and development in preschool age children and beyond. This is the approach that we take at PDS. It helps build foundational skills through play-based learning and exploration of the world around them. These skills are an important predictor for future learning and academic success.
Safety and Security
With preparedness comes peace of mind.
PDS boys are protected by a team of four security professionals who receive ongoing crisis and tactical training with local police.
Boys need to move.
Boys can’t always sit still. Boys move. A lot. We’re experts at directing that energy. Many of our classrooms have standing desks, bungee chairs for bouncing, and write-on walls and desks for scribbling out ideas. Experience (and science) tells us that when boys aren’t focused on sitting still, they concentrate on what’s really important – learning.
And any extra energy? That gets burned off in one of two gyms. Our Lifetime Fitness Center is outfitted with a rock-climbing wall, high ropes course, and virtual X-Bikes. Oh, and there are two playgrounds (plus a turf field). In first through sixth grades, boys have PE class daily. In the early childhood division, boys have PE multiple times a week.
We wrote the book on character development.
After not finding a character education program for boys, we created one! We call it Building Boys, Making Men.
At PDS, we believe that boys should be intentionally taught about authentic manhood and have a biblical framework for making wise and edifying choices during their teenage years and beyond.
That’s why we have spent over twenty years developing Building Boys, Making Men—a character education program that teaches every boy at PDS what it really means to be a man.
Two Certified Teachers in Every Early Childhood Classroom
In grades YK-SK, PDS is committed to having two certified early childhood teachers in each classroom. This allows for a curriculum that can be customized for each boy through small group learning. Various learning styles can be addressed to meet the needs of all learners as well as deepen the connection between each boy and his teachers.
We know boys. No one knows them better.
After over 70 years of teaching boys, here’s what we know: they can’t always sit still. They delight in getting their hands dirty. And their minds sometimes wander. (That’s okay.) At Presbyterian Day School, we know how to teach boys, reach them, and channel their energies in positive and productive ways.