The Child's Primary School
A San Diego private independent school offering a premier academic program for students in kindergarten, elementary school, and middle school (up to 8th grade). At TCPS, students experience a creative and dynamic academic environment that promotes individual success and a love for learning within a close-knit private school community.
Our small class sizes (12 students max in Kinder - 2nd grade; 16 students max in 3rd - 8th grades), dedicated teachers (90% have advanced degrees), and creative academic program make TCPS the best small San Diego private school.
- Grades: Kindergarten-8
- Students: 105 students
- Yearly Tuition: $19,000
- Acceptance rate: 80%
- Average class size: 12 students
- Application Deadline: Feb. 1 / Aug. 1 / rolling
School Membership(s)School Assoc.
Student Body Type
% Students of Color
State avg.: 48%
Students by Grade
Academics and Faculty
Total Classroom Teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size
List of Courses Offered
Matriculation DataMatric. Data
Classroom Dress Code
Tuition and Acceptance Rate
Feb. 1 / Aug. 1 / rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost
$13,500 for K-2nd, $17,500 3rd-5th; $19,700 for 6-8
% on Financial Aid
Average Financial Aid Grant
National avg.: 85%
Total ExtracurricularsTotal Extra-curric.
Chess, Drama, Spanish Language Classes
Club or Organization:
Engineering and Robotics, Science Exploration
Arts and Music Programs:
Art, Art Classes, Music Memory
Recreational Athletic Programs:
Club or Organization:
Engineering and Robotics, Science Exploration
Arts and Music Programs:
Art, Art Classes, Music Memory
Recreational Athletic Programs:
- The Child's Primary School offers a consistent curriculum, beginning with the kindergarten program and culminating in eighth-grade graduation. This success-oriented program was designed to be supportive and challenging, and to focus on teaching the student how to learn so the students can continue to learn effectively beyond TCPS.
- Students feel safe to take risks in an atmosphere that nurtures their self-esteem and teaches responsibility for their own actions. Inherent in our program is a celebration of the wonders of life and the excitement of learning. In-depth learning is encouraged, allowing for an exploration of both the abstract (theoretical) and concrete (hands-on) aspects of a subject. In addition to the acquisition of excellent academic skills, The Child's Primary School promotes the learning of life skills (such as communication and problem solving) and developing positive interpersonal relationships amongst the students and the staff.We believe that a family should have a role in a child's school. Therefore, we welcome our students' whole family and consider them an important addition to the school.
- We guide each and every decision - whether it be in regard to curriculum, fundraising, or admission policy - by our basic values and philosophy... the child is primary.
- Sign up for a tour today at: http://tcps.org/the-childs-primary-school-admissions/schedule-tour/ and we'll be in touch within 48 hours to get you scheduled.
Profile last updated: 10/04/2020
This is my daughter's second year at TCPS. I cannot emphasize enough how incredible this school is. It is a community that cares about the whole child—getting to know them, how they learn, what sparks their enthusiasm, where they need extra attention. From the principal (who-side note—personally came to our home mid-pandemic to bring us a new laptop after our dog literally ate our laptop), to the teachers and even the board of directors, every adult involved with this school is there because they care about these kids, and because they excel as educators and contributors to the kids' well-being. That is my short review. Read on only if you want more background.I enrolled my daughter as a 6th grader, and we are now in 7th grade. While we had an overall great elementary school experience in a wonderful local public school, during the 5th grade I noticed my daughter's enthusiasm for school evaporating... she had always been a pretty enthusiastic learner, and I never previously had trouble motivating her to go to school in the mornings, or to do her homework. After ruling out any social or bullying issues, I was baffled as to why she seemed to suddenly not care about school. Bottom line: she was bored. She was in a sea of 36 kids for one teacher who was just spread too thin. And the thought of her in a huge public middle school suddenly started to feel like a bad idea. I didn't want her moving from 36-kid class to 36-kid class, where I wouldn't be able to quickly reach teachers, or quickly be reached by them in the event of any issues. But private school had never really entered my mind... to start, it wasn't a financially realistic option for me as a single parent/single income household, and on top of that, I personally went to public school K-12 and had a great education, continuing on to college and law school both with great scholarships to great schools... So private education never felt like a necessary thing to me. But all of a sudden, I felt like I had to consider it. TCPS won me over for a few reasons. First, I liked the idea of keeping my middle school with a K-8 group, rather than a 6-12th group. It felt more quaint and offered a better transition to start navigating these crazy pre-teen years. I liked keeping her as an "older student" rather than sending her in with high schoolers already.Second, the warmth of the administrative staff, including Principal Donny Kim, was a huge draw. From my daughter's first tour there, he made an incredible effort to connect with her, and to learn about her. Many private schools spend the bulk of time talking to the parents; TCPS spent time talking directly to my child. (side note: another school that did an incredible job of this was Bishop's, which also completely won us over). I felt there was a genuine desire to understand who my kid is, how she learns. And the bonus for us was that this approach really helped my kid become open to attending a private school (she had been reluctant to get separated from her friends). Third thing that sealed the deal for us was sitting in on classes. I sat in on an incredible Language Arts 6th grade class, and a History class. What I saw were small (tiny) groups of kids that behaved more like cousins than classmates — all were interacting, participating, and engaged. The teachers knew each well, intimately even—such as knowing each of their pets' names, & who had which siblings in what grades. It was just obvious that this was a close community.Our experience has been incredible. Academically, it is top notch. The teachers are creative and their enthusiasm and expertise keeps lessons fresh & engaging, enabling them to move fast through challenging subject matter because they keep the kids' interest. They were incredibly quick to adapt to the super-challenging remote-learning requirements last Spring, and equally efficient at finding ways to get back to safe on-campus learning as soon as it was allowed. Every teacher takes the time to meet with me and has been wonderfully responsive. I'd gush forever about this school!
Our daughter has been at this school since Kindergarten, and she is now in 5th grade. Every single year has been great for us! This school shines...with its small class sizes and tight-knit community feel. The staff truly feel like family to us, and our daughter is thriving, both educationally and socially. She feels safe and accepted at this school. She has been exposed to a well-rounded curriculum, including a robust science program. She also takes spanish, music, and art. Overall, this school has been amazing! We are so thankful it goes up to 8th grade so that we don't have to worry about which middle school to put her in. The middle school program is stellar and we feel confident that it will be the right fit for our daughter next year.
We are so thankful to have found TCPS. It is a place that is making my kids' lives better. I have four kids, grades 2-8, and the fact that they are all at the same enriching, wonderful place in amazing. As a family we are all very happy. The kids are thriving in the small classes, and each of them has teachers that support, develop, and care about them. I know my kids are learning, safe, and enjoying their education.
This little school of ours stands as a bright and shiny beacon during these uncertain times. Under the guidance of TCPS faculty, our children continue to develop the strong critical thinking and social skills not only to survive but also to thrive in these challenging times. With each passing day, we see our children continue to grow as independent thinkers and global citizens. On the day schools around San Diego closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, TCPS students including our own came home with school-issued chrome books, regular books, rulers and other materials - ready to continue learning. The following week, the teachers confidently and competently jumped into the new brave world of remote learning. Teachers adeptly and quickly set forth a daily schedule that not only promoted stability for the children but also was of great assistance and relief for those of our parents crushed with Telework demands. At the direction of the head of school staff members individually called our parents several times for wellness checks and to obtain feedback about the remote learning process. The teachers ensured our children remained involved and engaged. When children including our own needed additional assistance with learning, teachers had a one-on-one session with them. The smaller class size also helped the children maintain their strong social bonds with their teachers and friends from different classes. In this time of turmoil, there is much to wonder and worry about what the future will bring. And yet, TCPS continues to show only empathy and compassion with our families. Thanks to TCPS, we remain optimistic about our children's future.
TCPS is the best school in San Diego! My son has been attending TCPS since 5th grade. He has blossomed under the guidance of the wonderful teachers. Due to the small class sizes, the teachers really know my son, how to motivate him, encourage him and challenge him. A few things that TCPS excels at: collaborative and integrative projects, explicitly teaching how to do reports, essays, and long-term projects, and executive functioning skills. My son is extremely organized with his school and homework. He graduates this week from eighth grade and we feel confident that he is well prepared for the ninth grade at Francis Parker. Best of all, he loves school!
You don`t come across a school like TCPS too often! Our daughter is in 5th grade and couldn`t be in a better environment academically or socially. Due to the small class sizes, if a child either excels or struggles with a lesson, he or she can be challenged or helped. Also due to the small class sizes and innovative teaching methods, the teachers have time to teach in a variety of different ways. Bullying is nonexistent...TCPS is like a big family. Kindergarten - 8th grade. You will see graduates from TCPS flourishing at all the top ranked high schools in San Diego. Gem of a school!
Our son started Kindergarten this year at TCPS. I wholly agree with the reviews posted here that describe a school that fosters community, instills confidence, and inspires learning. The teachers and the staff are what makes this school special. They are incredibly warm, nurturing and very attentive to each child's unique personality. I asked my son why he likes his school and here is a short list: "I like eating lunch and playing outside with big kids who are really nice; I liked baking gingerbread cookies with my teacher; The school librarian saved a book I like for me." Here is a short list we like the school: Our son started reading books and can't put them down, our son has taught me how to program code on a computer, he is excited to tell me about the "invertebrates" that live in tide pools. He knows all the teachers and staff in the school and likes to quiz me on their names. :) This school is a gem!
Our daughter`s pre-school teacher`s son attended TCPS K-8. Her pre-school teacher was adamant about the risk of our daughter`s creativity and intellect going "under-nurtured" in the public school system that she would be bored and grow to dislike school very early on. TCPS has provided excellence in education, nurturing her creative resources through each teacher`s individual interaction with each student (class sizes of no more than 14 students), without "common core". She is close to all her classmates (under 10 students in Kindergarten). She is learning "real-life" application of academic concepts not memorizing, but leaning "how" to apply what she is learning. TCPS teachers make learning "fun" and rewarding in a loving, yet firm learning environment. Our daughter has been able to see the fruits of her efforts and actually understands how much she has grown personally and with confidence that comes from accountability and achieving goals! She looks forward to school every day with enthusiasm as she is very close to her classmates and also close to friends she has made in grades 1-8 through daily interaction and cross-grade mentoring programs. Fast forward today 1st grade. To my daughter, school is fantastic because she has all her friends from last year and has made new friends. The school has only 95 students and cross-grade interaction is encouraged. She has PE, Spanish, chorus and art is incorporated and encouraged throughout her daily learning assignments. She is having even more fun this year and when I come to pick her up, she wants to stay and play with her friends. The class sizes are so small that we have also become close with not only the parents of her classmates, but also with many parents of children in other grades. This year they are also learning to code (program) a robotic mouse through a maze. It is high-level programming, but they are actually providing instruction sets to get the mice to a desired location on a board. They are learning "logic" and how to apply it 1st grade. Wow! My daughter, my wife and I LOVE THIS SCHOOL! Words cannot describe how positively this school, the teachers and Sherry the founder have impacted our lives. We are so grateful!
This is my son's fifth year at The Child's Primary School and he is so happy there. He has great friends as well as an atmosphere of family, since the entire small school works together frequently, so everyone knows everyone else, in all grades K-8, as well as all of the staff. The most important thing to me is that the teachers treat all students with respect and are never punitive, choosing and modeling "talking it out" instead. The academics and how they are presented keep my son engaged and confident in his abilities. We are so happy to have moved here from public school, halfway through kindergarten.
Choosing a school for your little one is a daunting task, especially when you have a child who is shy and tentative. We toured several public and charter school options, and didn't get a "good feeling" from any of them. We heard about TCPS through a friend whose child attends the school, and highly recommended we check it out. Let's just say that the tour immediately produced that "GOOD FEELING". Small sized classes of kids were enthusiastically engaged with their teachers, and each other. I didn't notice a single child staring off into space, quiet and reserved, not participating, or not being paid attention TO by the teacher. In the hallways, I saw middle schoolers saying hi to kindergarteners, whose faces lit up with excitement at being "friends" with a big kid (reinforcing that positive self esteem that's so important to young children!). And our conversation with the kindergarten teacher made it very obvious that she cared deeply for her students and their learning process and development. We applied for admission immediately.His kindergarten year could not have been more amazing. I watched him learn by doing, instead of just rote/memorizing/worksheets. I believe the future of education hinges on a much more project-based style of learning, incorporating STEAM along the way. And TCPS understands that, and does an incredible job of teaching core ideas through group project work. They learn by doing, together and one-on-one with their teachers. He got SO much individual attention from his teachers, that it was almost as if they were private tutors. He had a separate music teacher, PE teacher, and Spanish teacher. Every teacher and child in the school knows his name. He is friends with kids in every grade 1st through 8th, I didn't hear of a single incident of bullying. He felt safe at and excited to be at school every day. He was still a little shy at drop off, but I noticed that every day it got a little easier for him. The feedback and information we got from his teacher made me feel like we knew exactly what he was working on, what his current progress was, and what his goals were, as well as how he was doing in working towards reaching those goals. Not to mention what we could do to help and support him.That was last year. Now he's in 1st grade, and I already see the fruits of his first year at TCPS. He is reading on his own, and enjoying it! He has a designated science teacher now too, and LOVES doing experiments in their own science lab. His math skills are impressive, and I can see that he loves mathematical challenges. Every student at the school has a tablet for technology education, and they're learning coding! He has so many friends cross grades and is always saying hi to kids and teachers, and now HE is proud that he gets to befriend kindergarteners and be a good buddy to younger children. And the shift in his confidence is nothing short of amazing. No more shyness at drop off, or worry about talking to other kids or teachers, or being alone at school for the day. The trust and confidence that this school helped him build over the past year and a half is something I can never be grateful enough for. I attribute that entirely to TCPS' focus on community, which encourages everyone to work together, and their small class sizes, which allow the teachers to spend an incredible amount of time one-on-one with each student.I am so excited to see how much my son will continue to benefit from this atmosphere of positivity and community and STEAM/project learning in the upcoming years. We are so proud to be a part of this school and I cannot recommend it more enthusiastically. Truly.
My son and daughter, who have very different academic interests, found TCPS to be engaging, fun, enriching, and challenging. There has not been a single day they didn't want to go to school at TCPS. Not only have they acquired the academic skills for future academic success, but TCPS has helped them to think critically and creatively and also helped develop their social and emotional skills for a fulfilling, rewarding life. We are so thankful for TCPS and its intimate environment, and we believe in the school's mission! As an extra bonus, we discovered that the private SD high schools (Bishops, Francis Parker, Country Day) know about and highly regard students coming from TCPS.
After extensively researching all of our public, charter, and private school options, we toured TCPS and were immediately drawn to the school because of it's "tight knit community" feel and it's small class sizes. We saw each child getting one on one attention, and knew that is what we wanted for our daughter. We did not want her to "fly under the radar" in a large public school, but instead wanted her to be around teachers that personally knew her as an individual, rather than just another kindergartner. Hands-on learning was also very important to us. TCPS has been everything we have hoped it would be! She loves going to school every day, and feels safe and happy. The educational experience she is getting is uniquely personalized while being fun at the same time and is far superior, in our opinion, to anything she would be getting at other schools. And no other school can even come close to having the community feel that we feel at TCPS. Every teacher on campus knows our daughter by name, and it's so rewarding to watch her interact with the older kids as well as her own classmates. As kindergarten parents we are very impressed that one school can offer everything we had hoped for for our daughter, and more. We look forward to many more rewarding years at TCPS!
TCPS is a great school. The academics are strong, but that isn't why we send our kids here. It's the small, community feel, the social emotional curriculum, and the caring atmosphere. Our kids are getting a top notch education, but they don't feel stressed. Because the school is small, the kids have a lot of opportunity to mingle with kids across ages, and they literally do know all the kids in the school in every grade. They also know all the teachers. The school fosters a real sense of community and family, and teaches kids not just how to be good students, but how to be good people. Most important of all the kids love it. When people ask my kids what they love most about their school they say, without hesitation: EVERYTHING!!!
TCPS is THE school we were looking for. My son is thriving there. We have been with them for 3 years now. And my daughter will be going to K next year at TCPS. We could not ask for anything more in a school. They have a great philosophy and they are what they say they are. The teachers are awesome, loving and caring. One on one attention is great due to small class size of 12 students per class. My son does not want to leave school when I go to pick him up. After school daycare is great too. Very creative activities in after school daycare for the kids to be busy. Best part about TCPS is that - My son is excited to go to school every single day!!!!!
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