Imagination Lab School

Quick Stats (2024)

  • Top Ranked CA School
  • Grades: Prekindergarten-8
  • Yearly Tuition: $32,000
  • Acceptance rate: 35%
  • Average class size: 12 students
  • Application Deadline: None / Rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

Top Rankings

Imagination Lab School ranks among the top 20% of private schools in California for:


School Overview

Religious Affiliation
Grades Offered
Grades Prekindergarten-8
Year Founded
Summer School Offered

Student Body

Total Students
Student Body Type
% Students of Color
State avg.: 51%

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers
6 teachers
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size
12 students
Classroom Dress Code

Tuition and Acceptance Rate

Admission Deadline
None / Rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost
Tuition Notes
Tuition at ILS includes early care, after care, school supplies & materials, snack, and daytime field trips/excursions.
% on Financial Aid
Acceptance Rate
National avg.: 85%

School Notes

The ILS Promise is to empower each learner to be their best self in four key domains:
  • Know themselves
  • Find their voice & know how to exercise it
  • Seek to understand multiple perspectives
  • Take meaningful action
We are a relationship-based community of student and adult learners. Social and emotional development is the foundation of all we do.Our approach is rooted in progressive education and constructivism, and our program is:
- Engagement-based
-Personalized & Innovative
- Globally-connected
- Real-world focused

Our mission is to ignite and nurture confidence, curiosity, and creativity.We are a highly engaged, reflective, courageous, and diverse community of student and adult learners. Together, we are committed to becoming our best selves intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically.

Our vision is to prepare students for a future that is impossible to know but not impossible to shape.We develop within each member of our community the mindset, toolset, and skillset needed to engage meaningfully and purposefully with the world around us. Together, we are committed to issues of social justice, equity, and sustainability.

Our teamis a collection of exceptional individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences.Teaching today involves more than simply disseminating knowledge. Our learning guides arecuratorsof experiences,coacheswho help students observe and reflect,facilitatorswhodevelop responsibility and agency,advocateswho celebrate and challenge each student, andteam playerswho engagewithother guides, students,families, and external partners.
Source: Verified school update

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Imagination Lab School cost?
Imagination Lab School's tuition is approximately $32,000 for private students.
What is the acceptance rate of Imagination Lab School?
The acceptance rate of Imagination Lab School is 35%, which is lower than the national average of 84%. Imagination Lab School's acceptance rate is ranked among the top private schools in California with low acceptance rates.
What is Imagination Lab School's ranking?
Imagination Lab School ranks among the top 20% of private schools in California for: Lowest average acceptance rates.
When is the application deadline for Imagination Lab School?
The application deadline for Imagination Lab School is rolling (applications are reviewed as they are received year-round).

School Reviews

  5.00 out of 5  (5 reviews)
I am delighted that you are reading this because that means you have stumbled upon ILS, (Imagination Lab). It has been quite the learning curve to be a new parent and a journey to figure out all the things that come along when you have your child in primary education. Choosing Daycare you can say was easy compared to choosing the foundation of your child's learning. With Covid, Preschool and Kindergarten were a wash - 1st grade in our local public school was truly horrible. The blanket treatment and stoic sentiment didn't help. I could see my son was not enjoying learning. My son cried every day and so did I after putting up a strong and convincing face. I couldn't do that again in 2nd grade. I did my research and found ILS. The school feels like a community, the location is perfect for the area and all the kids know each other and they treat and greet each other with the utmost delightfulness independent of grade. The staff is quick to provide feedback when need be and as a parent where everything worries me; I feel that ILS understands this and helps not just the kids, but the parents along this journey of schooling for our kids. The monthly coffee hours are great to meet other parents. The school events are inclusive, and thought-provoking (think reserve trick or treating), and the community comes together. In just one year (2nd grade), I see his joy and the confidence to create from his imagination. It's great to see him figure out things on his own, he isn't afraid to start a project and finds the resources. He understands composting and can't wait to be in 3rd grade where he gets to work on the vegetable garden. ILS works for our family because it allows my son to thrive in his learning and his community.
- Posted by
We want to write this review from the perspective of parents of a neurodivergent child. Our child had an ABA aid during preschool and we wanted to find an elementary school where we could continue this aid in an environment where both neurotypical and neurodivergent children would thrive together. ILS stood out as the best school in those regards, and, after a year and a half with them, it`s been an amazingly positive experience. 1. The teachers. We`re amazed at how much dedication and interest the teachers put into the children's formation. They got to know our child and what motivates her and offered a lot of support to understand our child's strengths and limitations. They were very supportive of the ABA program and created an inclusive space for our child to thrive on. 2. Commitment to inclusivity. The school director and teachers worked with the ABA team and us to develop the best plan for our child. The ABA team expressed their admiration for the deep knowledge of developmental needs and care the school teachers have shown. ILS is genuinely committed to ensuring an inclusive environment for all kids, and they do it because it's the principled thing to do. 3. Approach to learning and academics. A lot of schools in the area take a rigid approach to education, but we discovered that rigidity hindered imagination and creativity, and wasn't a good fit for our children. With ILS, we have seen an explosion in creativity and curiosity from our children. They take a holistic approach to learning where kids are able to connect concepts and apply them in all aspects of their life.4. Leadership and Management. We were very impressed with how well-prepared leadership was to deal with remote learning during the lockdown. Her experience during the first year as a remote learner was very positive and we didn't feel she was missing out on any activities. We switched to in-person mid-year earlier this year and it was incredibly smooth. The rapport and friendships she had developed online were evident from day one when she met her teachers and classmates in person. 5. Community Building. We as parents feel a part of the ILS community. We feel welcome in the school meetings and we're eager to contribute and help create experiences for our children. We've been very pleased with the care, dedication, and education the school is providing to our child, and we are enormously thankful for their support to make our child feel included and empowered to become a well-rounded person.
- Posted by
We've been with the ILS team since 2017 (AltSchool days) with a brief break in 2018 during the transition to ILS. For context, we have five children and have been at multiple schools in the area—private and public. We have been at some of the most gorgeous, most highly sought-after, gifted, diverse, homogenous, and privileged schools in Atherton, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto. Our kids are smart (as are most in the area!), but humble and down-to-earth. We wanted a school that reflected our values of high expectations while being supportive and loving. We have always valued diversity and as a graduate-level educator myself; I have a strong appreciation for pedagogy and the value of innovation in education.We have been at nearly eight schools between preschool to middle school in the immediate area. Not because we have been asked to leave, but because we have a high bar for character development alongside academic achievement, and Im not afraid to make a change when I see that there isn`t a good fit. We have always appreciated the strong partnership we have with Chris and the entire team at ILS. They build curious, resilient, and motivated lifelong learners. Learning guides (not teachers-there is a distinction!) are there to help our children grow, discover, and feel. We appreciate the emphasis on social-emotional learning (SEL)-a buzzword many schools use these days but don`t always employ (likewise with project-based learning (PBL)). We have always valued the efforts to build community through partnerships with local sources of enrichment-art, agriculture, robotics, chess, and financial empowerment. The curriculum offers dedicated English Language Arts, STEAM, Math, PE, and Mandarin. I love Painted Reflections-a time for students to reflect on a particular video or reading through artistic expression. Our children learn at their own pace, which means they may cover advanced topics in math, reading, and writing-which I know my kids appreciate.Disclosure: Im not a helicopter parent-I give my kids the autonomy to learn as their minds desire. We have a mix of learners (some very highly gifted and others who are average to above average) and I trust the team at ILS to help my kids set and achieve their goals. I have been extremely pleased with the caring individuals my children have become under the ILS team's tutelage.
- Posted by
My Daughter started in public school and in 3 years went from a happy fun-loving child to a depressed & anxious child that cried before and after school every day. She was going to be labeled ADD and put in a special program that may have worked. After 2 weeks of starting ILS, she starting laughing again, dancing and expressing herself in a joyous way. She is now ending her second year and is truly thriving. She absolutely LOVES going to school... she gets upset if she is not well because she does not want to miss school. She loves learning she loves herself again and is confident in all areas of her life now
- Posted by
My son is currently with ILS (Imagination Lab School) in the pre-K/K/1st class. Even though this is the first year of the school, most of the teachers are from AltSchool Palo Alto with many years of experiences. My son has been with AltSchool Palo Alto for his preK & K years. We have seen great results from those two years.The head of school Chris is one of the main reasons we decided to take this risk and join a "startup-school". Chris is truly an innovator on education and with 2 kids in K and 2nd grades himself, he knows what kids need and have the best interests in them in his heart.The things stands out for this school that might be different from other schools are the following.- Mixed age classrooms. Great for individualized learning if the teachers are good; allow kids to learn from and teach each other.- Weekly community outreach. Great for learning from real world.- Project based learning. Learn by doing and solving problems.- Social emotional learning. Learn to recognize one's own emotion and better collaborate with others.- Reader/writer/math workshops, learning exhibitions, goal setting conferences. Good structure to cultivate and evaluate learning.- Mandarin class and connect to ETU school. Good for kids to develop a global connection.It is may not be the school for every parents but it is definitely worth checking out if you find the ideas above appealing.
- Posted by

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Quick Stats (2024)

  • Top Ranked CA School
  • Grades: Prekindergarten-8
  • Yearly Tuition: $32,000
  • Acceptance rate: 35%
  • Average class size: 12 students
  • Application Deadline: None / Rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

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Did You Know?

The average private school tuition in Palo Alto, CA is $32,130 for elementary schools and $40,352 for high schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).

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