IN 1960, WHILE TEACHING In a public school, Challenger School founder and CEO Barbara Baker became alarmed that her first grade students had received no academics in kindergarten, wasting the best years for establishing a foundation for learning. Barbara decided to leave the comfort of the public schools and started her own preschool where she could teach phonics to children before they went to public school. “I figured that if they learned phonics in preschool, no one could take that away from them.”
In Barbara’s first class, there were only six paying students. Two years later the tiny preschool had grown to 100 half-day preschool students with 100 students waiting for admission. Today, Challenger School educates more than 10,000 students annually.
Challenger School teaches students early on that they are responsible for their own learning and for their successes. Challenger’s emphasis on independent reasoning skills–so rarely practiced in today’s world–results in their students’ extraordinary academic performance.
POISE AND CONFIDENCE
Challenger students regularly speak and perform before their peers, teachers, and parents from preschool on. Challenger graduates often point to these experiences as the basis for success in college and the workplace.
On national standardized tests, Challenger K-8 students consistently average well above the 90th percentile. This means that Challenger’s average student outperforms nine out of ten students who take that test.
Challenger School offers preschool through eighth grade and operates a total of 27 campuses in five western states.
Our mission is to prepare children to become self-reliant, productive individuals; to teach them to think, speak, and write with clarity, precision, and independence; to lead them to recognize and value their individuality and unalienable rights; and to inspire them to embrace challenge and find joy and self-worth through achievement.
Located in a beautiful Palo Alto neighborhood in the heart of the Silicon Valley and close to the peninsula for South Bay commuters, Challenger’s Middlefield is a secure, full-service PS–8 private school campus. We’re proud of our park-like campus setting, quality teachers with many years at Challenger, state-of-the-art playground, low student/teacher ratio, sense of community, and student diversity.
Our exceptional preschool programs lay the foundation for our students’ future learning. Challenger preschoolers enjoy an effective mix of music, reading, math, art, drama, social relating time, science, and physical activities that aim to improve small and large motor skills. Your child will be provided a strong foundation academically and socially. With several preschool programs available year round, we have one that will fit your family’s schedule.
Challenger’s fun-filled kindergarten program engages students and develops their ability to stay on task in order to optimize their success. We’ve perfected the balance between play and learning so well that our kindergartners can’t tell the difference—it’s a seamless environment of learning and fun.
Challenger’s elementary students are taught to think critically. We inspire students to be independent, responsible individuals. With an engaging, value-based curriculum, Challenger prepares elementary students not only for higher education, but also for successful lives.