Celebrate every child.  Challenge every learner.

CHARLOTTESVILLE DAY SCHOOL is committed to enhancing the lives of children and families in the community. CDS students discover the joy of learning and demonstrate a positive attitude towards lifelong intellectual, moral, and social growth. Children at CDS develop the self-confidence, imagination, and skills to live fulfilling lives and to realize their individual potential. CDS provides a supportive educational environment that fosters respect for others, develops well-rounded interests, rewards sportsmanship, and cultivates interpersonal skills.

We believe:

  • All children can learn, succeed, and excel.
  • An extraordinary teacher can inspire every child.
  • The best educational practices are grounded in research and experience.
  • A school must embrace the varied learning styles of its students.
  • A school should promote a healthy lifestyle and wellness of mind and body.
  • Childhood music education fosters self-confidence and achievement across traditional academic subjects.
  • Physical education is an opportunity to teach self-control and sportsmanship.
  • Fine arts education benefits the whole child.
  • Children learn by discovering and doing.
  • Children learn best when they are happy.
  • A supportive environment promotes positive self-image.
  • Relationships should be nurtured.
  • A team approach best meets the needs of our students.
  • Respect for all people should be modeled.
  • A diverse community of learners enriches the educational environment.

Philosophy of Education

Children learn naturally. When a subject is relevant and students have ownership in the learning process, they acquire skills and knowledge at an incredible pace. Our school’s environment – its surroundings, facilities, and the attitudes of its teachers, leaders, students, and parents – ensures that each student has a bedrock of safety and security. In this safe, secure environment, students are invited to take creative risks in their own education.

Children at CDS are given repeated opportunities to learn content knowledge in authentic ways, through projects, experiments, performances, interactions with peers, and other real life experiences. This gives the learner a purpose, provides meaning and context, develops connections, and deepens student thinking.

Teachers act as facilitators and coaches to this learning process by scaffolding material for each learner: asking questions, offering suggestions, and adding more complex materials or ideas to continually push learners to grow. Our teachers are experts in their subject areas, but even more importantly, they know each student’s personality, skill level, and role in the classroom. With that knowledge, they motivate students by providing an individualized instructional program.

We work as a team towards this common purpose. Our leaders recognize and capitalize on the individual differences of our members. We welcome and embrace a diversity of learning styles and cultures. The ultimate goal at CDS is to create a positive environment, provide quality instruction, and nurture children to develop their self-esteem, thinking skills, and independence.

Welcome to CDS!

CDS administrators lead the faculty by promoting positive peer collaboration, using a Harvard Business School model to create a “Learning Zone” across the spectrum from administrative offices down through two-year-old classrooms. CDS is a place where each employee and each student is supported yet challenged to succeed in meeting demanding goals. We believe that for America, Virginia, and Charlottesville to thrive, this ethos of collaborative excellence must, again, be a ubiquitous part of the younger generations’ culture.

With more than just rhetoric, CDS fully embraces the centuries-old known benefits of music, art, and physical education for children. For example, in the music program, CDS students not only learn songs, they develop their knowledge of rhythm patterns, recognize musical genres and even read and write music at an early age. We believe these activities give heart to the children’s learning and rather than perceiving them as extra-curricular, we see them as instrumental in the students’ success. CDS was honored to be an invited presenter at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Annual Conference; the topic of CDS’s well-received presentation was Fostering Self Confidence and Academic Achievement through Music Education.


Notable Achievements

During the winter of 2009, CDS’s Upper Elementary class presented their own legislative initiative in the Virginia General Assembly. With the help of their teachers, the kids proposed a statewide Youth Fitness Day. They succeeded and now the kids, and legislature, are proud to spread the word about the benefits of the CDS fitness program. For the benefit of the Charlottesville community, CDS has put theory into practice. The school is more than a building – it is a place of passion, joy, learning and love where students thrive, include one another and are open and eager to learn. That said, these intangibles are only possible with the support of those who can create the structures where the teachers and children may thrive.

In the summer of 2011, the CDS community worked together to move the school campus to Downtown Charlottesville. We are now proudly located in three great buildings at 316 and 320 Tenth Street NE and 1010 Little High Street in the Martha Jefferson neighborhood.


CDS Meets Important Needs In the Charlottesville Community

CDS has distributed an excess of $225,000 in financial aid each year. This effort is now supplemented by the CDS Angel Fund which provides full scholarships for young students thanks to the support of generous donors. In addition to critical support from individuals, CDS has received significant support from Charlottesville’s Perry Foundation and the Bama Works Fund.