We started meditating every morning before school, and I found that it quieted the pools of my mind which on some days were already boiling over by the time I arrived. At Living Wisdom School, I learned that I can choose to be happy, and it led to another idea: that no one can make you unhappy, nor can you blame your unhappiness on other people, because it’s you who decide to be happy or not. — Rewa B., Oberlin College
I am a senior at U.C. Davis, graduating with honors this June in Genetics and minoring in French. I now have my own research project, studying the evolution of centromeric proteins, which I am hoping to have published in a scientific journal. I am also in the process of writing my honors thesis and will present it at the U.C. Undergraduate Research Conference in May.
I was originally interested in medical school, but am now applying to Genetics PhD programs such as the Marie Curie Institute in France. I attribute my love of learning and confidence in myself to my foundation in Living Wisdom School. I was taught that we really do have the autonomy to choose our own happiness, and I try to remind myself of this every day. However, it is curious how many students I see in college refusing to do this. — Hadley
The way I view people and the world around me has changed dramatically. When other people are teasing or making fun of somebody in a joking way, I can easily tell how that person is feeling about it, even more than just by seeing the look on their face. I can tell if they are not finding it funny or if they are actually hurt by it, even if they are acting as if they are fine. None of my friends understand when something like that is happening, and when I talk to them about it, they look confused and say that they had no idea, or that they didn’t mean for it to be hurting the person — and I believe them, but it just shows that for some reason I am more aware about other people and my surroundings than most of the kids my age. — William P.
In math at LWS, everyone gets to work at their own pace. The children who are ahead learn to help the children who are behind them, and no judgment is passed about where a child is in the math book. Everyone is very supportive of each other. Now in high school it seems natural to me to help others when they are behind me or need help.
LWS gave me the confidence to be able to handle the outside world. Because I had teachers who always believed in me, I learned to believe in myself. They pushed me to always do my best, and this increased my capacity to do well in school and in life. Basically my best got better. I don’t know what the exact statistic is, but most Americans’ number-one fear is public speaking. The way I see it, public speaking is not restricted to speeches in front of large groups of people. Raising your hand and asking a question in class is public speaking, and sadly, some children are afraid to do this. They are afraid they will look stupid or people will think they are dumb because they didn’t understand something. LWS taught me to get over the fear of public speaking when I was very young. Now I am much more comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people. — Genyana A.
During Freshman Orientation I observed that I noticed things other kids did not. I think I have a different level of awareness. I was also taken aback when teachers strongly encouraged freshmen not to be afraid of them. I thought, ‘Why would anyone be afraid of teachers?’ — Mara S., Georgetown University
I just received my acceptance to Stanford. Seriously, without LWS this never would have happened. — Peter A., Stanford University
I am writing to say thank you. You taught me many things in my two years at Living Wisdom, but the most important, by far, was how to use common sense. In the theater business (and frankly, in any business), there is always a delicate balance between doing what you’re told and acting instantly upon your own judgment. We memorize our lines and blocking, but if something goes wrong we have to ad lib — we have to think on our feet and act accordingly. I owe my ability to do these things almost entirely to you, and for that I am most grateful. — Rose F., San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco Opera Chorus, and Gilbert and Sullivan Lamplighters
Testimonials from Education Professionals
The work you do with the teens on a daily basis is so meaningful for them, helping them grow internally and learn who they are, especially during the turbulent adolescent years. — Physician, Palo Alto, California
If you could put what you are doing in the public schools, it would change the world. — School Superintendent at initial accreditation visit to Living Wisdom School
This school is the best-kept secret in Northern California. — WASC official at renewal visit
Education for Life…is an exalted call for change, based on deep insight into the potentials of every human being. It tells us how to nurture creativity, wisdom, and intuition in each child, and how to tap their unexplored capabilities. — Jay Casbon, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School for Professional Studies, Lewis & Clark College
I marvel at the spirit of Living Wisdom School. I embrace its visionary ideal, and I celebrate its remarkable accomplishments. I urge us all to spread the word on how special a place it really is. — Michael S. Katz, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, San Jose State University, Philosophy of Education, Past President of the North American Philosophy of Education Society
This is a wonderful school. — Keith Devlin, PhD, co-founder and Executive Director of Stanford University H-STAR Institute
Testimonials from the WASC Accreditation Committee,
The committee members offered the following observations following their visit to Living Wisdom High School of Palo Alto in the fall of 2021.
“LWHS has a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary faculty culture.” – Chris
“Some of your strengths are the use of personalized learning plans and the high degree of student feedback and how it is incorporated into informing instruction.” – Chris
“You offer your students great opportunities, especially on campus but also off campus. Some of the things students did off-campus really made a difference in their lives…. The opportunities (at LWHS) are tremendous…. Through creative mentoring and partnerships, the LWHS students were able to get involved in things they wouldn’t be able to experience in larger schools…. The (educational) ideas you have are working very well, and you can be quite happy and proud.” – Yanik, former public school superintendent
“The interdisciplinary work among the faculty was notable and impressive… There were lots of synergies in your work.” – Chris
“Students, parents, and alumni consistently noted and appreciated the value of the education they are receiving. They valued the feedback they are getting from the school and the teachers.” – Chris
“A strong sense of community, collaboration, and partnership is the first thing that we noticed, and it ran throughout as a thread in our experiences observing the school! It is clear that in this small and tightly knit community, everyone is dedicated and driven by the mission and vision of the school, as well as the powerful educational philosophy.” – Melissa
Testimonials from Parents
I highly recommend Living Wisdom High School that just opened last Fall. I am incredibly impressed by their academic team, personalized learning plan, blended approach, and focus on providing an education for life. We have only been there for a few months, but I am happy to answer questions about our experience and why we chose this school for our high schooler.
When my husband and I noticed that our once exceptionally bright, enthusiastic, and talented daughter was struggling (emotionally, socially, and academically) in our top-rated public school, we knew we had to pull out all the stops in order to help her.
We’d already tried a very disappointing local private school when she was younger. Thus, we knew that putting her in another typical private school is not the answer. What she needed was something truly extraordinary. Thankfully we found Living Wisdom School.
It’s been about five months since our daughter started Living Wisdom School, and honestly, we have never seen our daughter this joyous, appreciative, and happy with herself — and so motivated to learn and to give her best as a student.
I have also never seen such dedicated faculty: The teachers intimately get to know each and every student. They recognize the beauty and strength of each child, and they REALLY invest in each child. In another word, they give and give — and they don’t hold back.
The educational philosophy and approach of LWS are both highly intelligent and amazingly evolved. As a former UCLA psychological researcher and a psychotherapist, I notice that everything they do is meaningful, purposeful, thoughtful, conscious, love-centered, and extraordinary. Furthermore, the proof is in the pudding — our daughter is absolutely thriving in every way possible.
I am convinced that this remarkable school is the best-kept secret in the Silicon Valley, and we will forever be grateful to have found this priceless gift. I highly recommend LWS to all parents who want their kids to truly succeed in life, as measured by their level of joy and positive contribution to the world. It just doesn’t get better than this.
Our daughter is blossoming like never before! Thank you! — Anadi G., parent of a 9th grader
Our three daughters started at the Living Wisdom School five months ago. They were studying in a private French school in Berkeley for five years and the transition was worrying for us, especially for the older girls. We have only one word to express how we feel right now: gratitude.
The girls unequivocally declare that this is the best school ever. They love the time and attention the teachers and administration give to them and their particular needs and interests.
My oldest who was always afraid of math now says she needs no help from us when she does her homework. Our middle daughter, who barely read a book five months ago, now will not stop reading.
In a competitive place like Palo Alto, it was a priority to give our daughters an excellent education, but also to impart values about how to live and how to comport themselves. We wanted them to develop a love of learning as a lifelong process, and we wanted a stress-free, supportive environment.
I feel that this is happening every day at Living Wisdom School. I am looking forward to our daughters growing up into intelligent, articulate, and overall good citizens in a global world.
I’ve been an honorary aunt/grandmother to many Living Wisdom School children. Some of “my kids” are through college now, and it’s worth noting how many of the students credit their success in life now to what LWS gave them.
Education is so information oriented now — teaching to the test. It’s ironic when the world is changing so fast, that information is obsolete before the degree is earned. Success today is how quickly you can learn, how easily you can adapt, how creatively and joyfully you can respond. The emphasis on pure academics — to the detriment of creating well-rounded individuals — makes even academics difficult to achieve. Develop the whole person and learning comes effortlessly. That’s what happens at LWS. Cutting-edge research in education is looking more and more like Living Wisdom School.
As an education researcher, I see that the rest of my field is just now becoming aware of the pivotal role of self-regulation and executive function.
Living Wisdom School has a rich tradition of equipping students with content AND the tools to become self-directed learners. When you know HOW to learn, you can learn almost anything.
A natural question that some parents have is this: can children have a loving, joyful learning experience in school AND still be prepared for life?
The answer is yes. Last spring’s survey of LWS graduates showed that alums have an average grade point average of 3.85. Living Wisdom School graduates have gone to Stanford, many of the UC campuses, Cornell, University of Michigan, NYU, Georgetown, Oberlin, Bowdoin, London College (UK), University of Bremen, Germany, University of Washington, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and many more.
The school is a wonderful community, preparing students not only as learners but as happy, productive, fulfilled people.
Living Wisdom School provides a safe and nurturing setting to learn and grow both emotionally and academically. The academics are appropriately challenging while taking into consideration every child’s unique learning style. Not only has my son received an excellent education, he has grown personally by being part of a community that fosters kindness, collaboration, and joy in learning. He will graduate from Living Wisdom this year, well prepared for the years ahead and fondly remembering the time our family spent as part of this wonderful school.
We have had two children in LWS. To sum it up succinctly — it’s the type of school that we as parents always wanted to attend ourselves. Just on the surface level, the school has:
1) A very low student to teacher ratio
2) Highly customized instruction
3) A curriculum that simultaneously addresses core academic requirements and supports healthy emotional development
But beyond the surface the school is much more:
- The creative expression in the yearly play about a historical spiritual leader brings the school community together and consistently inspires audiences to pursue life with understanding and courage.
- A warm and inviting environment that accelerates a student’s self-growth and encourages individual expression
We could say a lot more, but it’s difficult to share in a short review. We encourage you to contact the school and speak to a parent. They can share more details.
Our son went to LWS after a really difficult year and a half at a local Palo Alto school. The difference in the quality of the teachers, the calming atmosphere, and the love and genuine caring shown by the teachers was instrumental in turning his life around. His comment on returning from his first day at LWS was, “I can be who I am, and don’t need to pretend to be someone else.”
Our son received an excellent education at LWS, was well prepared, and made an easy transition to a much larger school. What sets this school apart is its willingness to allow the students to learn at their own pace. In so doing, the school fosters a love of learning. This has made our son’s academic life joyful and given him an edge. We could not recommend Living Wisdom School more highly.
LWS is an incredible school. We are Palo Alto parents who have tried the local schools, and feel that this school is giving our two children an amazing education. The academics are excellent and we find that the life skills our children are learning are helping them grow into great young adults. Our children have gained confidence, are more focused, are better able to navigate through conflicts, are more emotionally mature, and just seem happy. The teachers are very dedicated, accessible, and are inspiring role models. LWS is the school I would have wanted to go to when I was a child.
This is a remarkable school. I truly believe it is the best gift we have given our sons in life. The academics were great; both sons are getting As at a rigorous high school now. Most impressive, though, is not the academics but the priority and emphasis the school places on teaching and training the children to get along well with others. The teachers’ dedication to this is truly inspiring. When I volunteered for lunch and other duties, I saw teachers do conflict resolutions between kids whenever there was any upset — even just unkind words. They taught the kids, even the youngest ones, to look each other in the eye, take turns telling their feelings, and listening. The kids learned true maturity, how to empathize with others, and how to include others in their play. This is true leadership training. Many schools offer living skills and leadership classes, but few take the time to apply them in the heat of conflict.
LWS has been truly transformative for my son. The small class size and level of dedication among the staff could not possibly be beaten anywhere.
This is a wonderful school. Students learn so much more than just the academics. They learn compassion, understanding, and finding joy in learning.
My two sons attended Living Wisdom School, and it was a wonderful experience for them. They learned to relate to other people of all ages, young and old, with compassion and empathy. The school was a vital part of their emotional development. Today one is at Cornell University, the other at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Sending them to LWS was one of the best things I could do for them.
We have a joyous, enthusiastic, and very sharp “firecracker” of a daughter in LWS. I already had a sense that this is an unusually thoughtful and emotionally intelligent school when I first met with the director and got a tour of the school years ago. Hence, we had a high expectation of the school’s curriculum and culture, teaching methodologies, and the staff when our daughter started school there. Amazingly, this school has managed to exceed our expectations in every level. — Tess N., Menlo Park, CA
I am a Palo Alto violin teacher who has had the privilege of teaching eight children in past years who have attended the Living Wisdom School. These students started with me in fourth grade and the last child is graduating from high school this June. These children, throughout the time I taught them, have been exceptional in their attitude, in their loving interactions with other students, and have achieved exceptional levels both in school and on the violin.
In the past, I attended the performances of my students at Living Wisdom, and I believe it has been LWS that has helped make all of these children so well-rounded, grounded, and relaxed. When children at Gunn and Sacred Heart are behaving in such self-destructive ways, the students from Living Wisdom are providing their friends with guidance and helping them to recognize their self-worth. — Denise C., Palo Alto, CA
My daughter scored 1500 out of 1600 on the SAT for Math and English. The SAT now has three parts, and out of a total of 2400, she scored 2150. She had a perfect score on the PSAT in Math. She has also been recommended for enrollment as a National Merit Scholar and has a four-point GPA.
She chided fellow students as they mocked their teacher who had his back to them. ‘That would never fly in my old school,’ she said. And they stopped. — Mother of an LWS graduate accepted at U.C. Berkeley
There are few things I can recommend without any reservation. Living Wisdom School is one of them. It is the best-kept secret in Palo Alto. I cannot say enough good things about this school, but let me name a few of the highlights that made us choose the school for our son.
- Size — The school is tiny. This allows a truly individualized approach where the teachers know every child and their needs in a deep way.
- Academics — The small size allows self-pacing. Our son is consistently 1-2 years ahead of grade level. At the same time, in areas where he needs help he gets intensive and dedicated support.
- Multiple-age classrooms — this arrangement groups younger kids with older peers that they can emulate. We love this about the school and it works VERY well.
- Emotional Learning — The school practices no religion. Most teachers live at the Ananda Community, but Ananda does not play a day-to-day role at the school. They teach a philosophy of kindness, love, and emotional honesty that is rare today. The children are taught yoga, meditation, and kindness. The teachers practice what they preach and live this approach in the classroom.
- Teachers — The teachers are dedicated to the children and the philosophy of the school. They know each child very well and form deep bonds with them.
If you want to raise an independent, kind, self-aware child – you owe it to yourself and your child to look at Living Wisdom. — Ben R., Palo Alto, CA
If you are considering a private school, I would highly recommend Living Wisdom School (LWS). We love so many things about the school, it’s hard to pick just a few to mention here:
- Their main philosophy is Education for Life. They want their children to love learning, and this is not just words!
- Each child can go at his/her own pace with learning. At the same time, the teachers are very careful. Their goal is to keep the children interested in the subjects, not to jump grades.
- The teacher/student ratio is excellent.
- The teachers are amazing.
- In most schools, only the most gifted students take the Math Olympiads and AMC 8. In contrast, at LWS all students take these challenging tests. Last year, my husband and I were at the graduation ceremony, where they were announcing the results: it turned out that the girl who got the best score in California was an LWS student (she achieved a perfect score of 100% — the only perfect score by a sixth-grader in the state). We were very impressed. — Lana S., Redwood City, CA