Tilden School

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    Does anyone have any feedback on Tilden School?



    We have two kids at Tilden. We transitioned from a West Seattle Public School when they were in 1st and 3rd grades because of class sizes, never-ending standardized testing, and not seeing eye to eye with the school about what the goals were for our kids. Tilden has been fantastic. The teachers really know our kids and know when they are struggling or shining and share that with us so we can help or praise as appropriate. Tilden is really teaching the kids how to plan their time and how to map out a project. They are very good about not allowing cliques or meanness between the children. It is a safe environment where my kids feel they can take risks. My kids’ only complaint at the outset was the lack of a real schoolyard.



    We have 2 kids at Tilden. Scoured the city evaluating private school options – so many fantastic choices. Couldn’t be happier landing at Tilden. An amazing education, great parent community, wonderful teachers, engaging curriculum. Learning pace is appropriate to grade, and yet specifically matched to the level of your child (the small environment certainly enables this). In many ways, the school is very classical in its approach to education (a very solid foundation in core reading/writing/math) – in others, very progressive (your kids will be able to keyboard by Grade 3 and have his/her own Google account at school). They also teach time management and personal accountability to students throughout their K-5 progression. This school isn’t about being the most fancy or elite, its about the successful education and development of your child so that s/he is a confident, humane and capable young person. And…it goes by waaaayyyy too fast!



    Amazing school, we’re so lucky to be part of it. We started at public school in Kindergarten and it was just ‘OK’ we weren’t over impressed. The class sizes were almost double what you find at Tilden and there was only one teacher, where Tilden typically has a teacher and an aide making the student teacher ratio about 8:1 vs. 26:1 at the public schools. Since switching to Tilden our son has excelled and we couldn’t be happier. As previously mentioned the lack of a real play area is a downfall, but they make the most of it even walking to Hiawatha weekly for extended PE time. Tilden is well worth the investment!



    If Tilden is an option for you, do it. It’s the best value in private school education in Seattle. You won’t regret it.



    I went there, I loved it, and was well prepared for my extensive further education and a life of loving learning.

    I feel like they do a lovely job of meeting kids’ needs at a variety of levels. They aren’t prepared for EVERY POSSIBLE kind of need, but they approach each child as an individual while keeping them together with their peers In small classes.

    I followed my Tilden education with public middle and high school (and post-graduate college), and the transition was only as difficult as the transition from elementary to middle school always is.


    (Yes, I’m the Alice who writes and posts on WSB abot what’s up in thee sky.)



    We have 2 kids at Tilden and will soon send our third. The process of watching our children flourish at Tilden has been such a blessing. Whitney, the Head of School, has always had a very clear vision, and the children that graduate from Tilden are compassionate, committed, capable students and citizens. They advocate for themselves in the classroom, and they know how to be good friends and neighbors.

    There are amazing specialists for art, music, science, math, Spanish, computers–the list goes on. My children are learning Art History and Seattle History as well as grammar, cursive(!), geography, writing, keyboarding, coding, analyzing texts, and what to do when faced with a bully. The small class size definitely contributes to a more individualized approach, whether your child is really excelling or struggling in an area.

    I don’t feel the lack of “playground equipment” is a detriment. The children are always running around playing all sorts of imagination games (this has come in really handy on camping trips with other kids who sometimes seem to be at a loss if there are no slides or swings around), and I have never once heard my kids complain that they wished they had structures to play on.

    As much as I love Tilden, I also recognize that it’s not a good fit for all families, so I would encourage you to call and get more information and visit and talk with the staff and see for yourself. And if you have a current K and are looking for next year, do it NOW! First grade at Tilden is pure magic!



    Oh, typos! Wish I could go back and fix those. :)



    Odekaire – Thank you for your kind words. My mom is the first grade teacher at Tilden and it means a lot to her and our family to hear that type of feedback.

    sfab1234 – As the son of a long tenured Tilden teacher I can tell you the school operates much like a form of extended family. The other teachers have seen me grow over the years as my family has seen with theirs, and former students and parents often keep in touch. I have a cousin working there now as well. It’s just that kind of place. Your kids will remember the time and people there fondly and will receive the education and preparation they need. There really is no better place, especially 1st grade ;)



    Tilden is an amazing school on every level. Our daughter went K through 5th and we have one in 1st and another in 4th grade. We couldn’t be happier with the academics but really truly the focus on developing well rounded, socially adept graduates is the main benefit.

    To address one concern we had when we first looked at the school and one I’ve heard from prospects is the apparent lack of playground facilities. This is a misnomer. The school undersell how they use the play facility directly next door at Dakota Place and also that the large parking lot is emptied during school hours, gated, and used extremely effectively as a ball court for numerous games and life lessons.


    We had both our daughter’s attend Tilden, going back 14 years. The school is exactly the type of environment any parent would hope for, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with both our daughter’s success at Tilden. Parents are included, informed and made to feel part of the school. The twice a day walk down their long main hallway, to get your child, is something you’ll grow to enjoy more each day. The staff and the teachers are everything you could ask for in a school.



    Bconnell, your mom is the most wonderful person and an amazing teacher! My daughter is in middle school now and she has such great memories of 1st grade!



    Alice; what a lovely surprise to learn that you also attended Tilden



    Tilden School? One of my favorite topics! Truly one of the best kept secrets in West Seattle, hands down. 2 of 3 of my children attended through 5th grade, the 3rd, we moved into a “gifted program” in a well-respected eastside district. Big mistake – I truly believe she would have been much better off both socially and academically, flourishing in Tilden’s small nurtering environment, where there is structure, respect, accountability, proper-and-kind discipline, and, most importantly MUCH love. Every child is treasured for their strengths and gets individual help for areas they need to improve. The teachers are truly amazing, each with their own style and obvious love of teaching. The academics are very strong, a solid, well-rounded education is what your child will leave with, ready to tackle middle school head-on. Not only will they be academically ready to move on but they will also leave with a good respect for others. Many life lessons are learned and discussed on the Tilden playground. Kids will learn how to be respectful, how to stand up for themselves, how to take care of others and best of all – how to be a positive member in a bigger group – very important in life! Oh, and did I mention that the kids also have lots of fun while learning? One need only mention Virgil and his science class, Super E, Jan’s 4th grade play, PE, the first grade butterfly release or Teddy Bear Picnic, the 5th grade play or Islandwood, Art History (with field trips!), Caroline’s Spanish games or Freeze Dancing and Letterland in Kindergarten to hear shouts of “Oh, I love that!” from students. The playground itself is not an issue for the kids, the games they devise with simple equipment are amazing. Use of Dakota Place Park is nice for those seeking a patch of grass to play on and its upcoming expansion will only enhance this space more for those that go across – many choose the blacktop for endless rounds of four-square. Children are bored only if they “choose” to be. Invitations from others are many and often and even the most stubborn “bored” child will give in to repeated invitations from classmates to join games. The community itself is amazing, the kindest people you will ever know. There are many friendships that develop in the hallway, always a smiling face or a friendly hello. The opportunities for community involvement, from the Halloween Carnival to Field Day, concerts to curriculum night will be highlights not only in your child’s life but yours too! Some of my closest friends were gained in that building, and I treasure them. I could go on forever of course, but with all that said, the proof is in the pudding. My kids have flourished and are well rounded, happy and confident. They can tackle anything and a big part of that, I know, is because I chose to send them to Tilden. I think if you ask around and seek out Tilden families you will find many stories like this. If you have an opportunity to send your child here, I would say DO IT! You won’t be sorry, my oldest will be graduating from West Point this spring and it was Tilden that gave her the foundation to be able to get to where she is today!



    Do they have before/after program? If not this school is not meant for working parents?



    Tilden parents have been very resourceful over the years and those who truly felt this were the right school, and put forth the effort to make it happen, have been able to make it work. I can’t imagine Tilden is the only school out there without childcare and to say it is not for working parents is unfair.

    In my years there I had seen all kinds of childcare “plans”; nannies, nanny shares, one nanny for the morning, another for the afternoon, shared pickups by families, carpools to various locations, Childcare programs with transportation (at least 4 programs that I recall), family members or neighbors willing to help, and teenage babysitters to walk the children home. A few families have the luxury of a parent at home or one who works from home but I believe this is in the minority. The majority of the parents I knew worked. I think the Tilden community is strong and helpful, child swaps were also common.

    I realize this sounds overwhelming when embarking on finding a school for your child but there are many, many options in most cases, sometimes you just have to hunt for the best option for your schedule and know that the elementary school years will fly by. What you will remember and be thankful for is the education they got . Any work to get it will have been well worth the effort!



    Tilden just announced they will be starting an after school program for the 2015/16 school year.



    Lovely school!
    Donna Moore, MSW

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