The Island School

Our mission is to educate each of our children; we nourish their innate curiosity, inspire a lifelong enthusiasm for learning, and foster respect and appreciation for themselves and others.
We provide a place where it is safe for children to risk, to learn, and to dream.
Our wish for the children who come to work with us is that they take away a quiet confidence in themselves and what they can accomplish.
A developmentally appropriate curriculum in all subject areas provides the most flexible framework for encouraging our students to develop lifelong skills as critical thinkers, self-motivated learners and independent decision makers.
While building a solid academic foundation, we seek creative approaches to educating our young students and search for innovative responses to meet the varied needs of our students.

School News

School Overview

School Membership(s)School Assoc.State or regional independent school association
NWAIS (Northwest Association of Independent Schools
Religious AffiliationNonsectarian
Grades OfferedGrades Kindergarten-5
Year Founded1977

Student Body

Total Students91 students
Student Body TypeCo-ed
% Students of Color
State avg.: 24%
Students by Grade The Island School Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers10 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio9:1
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size11 students
Classroom Dress CodeCasual

Finances and Admission

Admission DeadlineNone / Rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost$17,375
Tuition NotesKindergarten tuition $15,925
% on Financial Aid
Admissions DirectorJoan Henderson

School Notes

  • During COVID-19, we are offering two options at The Island School - in-person learning entirely outdoors every day, and at-home learning.
  • The Island School is an independent school for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Our mission is to educate each of our children; we nourish their innate curiosity, inspire a lifelong enthusiasm for learning, and foster respect and appreciation for themselves and others.
  • Spanish, art, music, dance and physical education are core parts of our educational program.
  • A developmentally appropriate curriculum in all subject areas encourages our students to develop lifelong skills as critical thinkers, self-motivated learners and independent decision makers. While building a solid academic foundation, we seek creative approaches to educating our young students and search for innovative responses to meet the varied needs of our students.
  • We offer half-day and full-day kindergarten.
  • Each grade has a classroom teacher and many have an assistant to support learning. Our faculty is comprised of seven classroom teachers, five specialists, three teaching assistants, three Extended Day teachers and an administrative and support staff of five.
  • At The Island School, students and families are welcomed and embraced as part of our diverse community. Thoughtful, interesting people are drawn to our school because they value the important role a caring community plays in the lives of children and families.
  • Our school is nestled among the trees on Bainbridge Island. The campus is designed for teaching children of this age, and includes spacious light-filled classrooms, an art studio, a library full of books, an indoor courtyard, a kitchen, a theater, a gym, and a playfield with surrounding woods. Our campus is a certified Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Students, parents and teachers are committed to reducing our environmental and carbon footprint. Together we have earned a Platinum certification (highest) from Washington Green Schools.
  • The Island School students come from Bainbridge Island and the greater North Kitsap area. Nearly 25% of our students come from the Kitsap Peninsula.
  • Over $2,500,000 has been awarded in financial aid to an average of 22% of our families over the course of our history.
  • Breakfast Club and Extended Day provide affordable supervision of children beginning at 7:30 a.m. before school and until 6:00 p.m. after school. (May not be offered during COVID-19 - call to inquire.)
  • The Island School is the only elementary school on Bainbridge Island and in all of Kitsap County accredited by the Northwest Association of Independent Schools.

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  • Bainbridge Island
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School Reviews

  5.00 out of 5  (8 reviews)
Both of my kids, now 14 and 17, attended The Island School for elementary school. My husband and I are both so grateful that they did. Watching my kids now as they navigate through their days in middle school and high school, I continually reflect with gratitude on the years we spent at The Island School and how their experiences there helped shape them into the kind, thoughtful, confident, creative people that they are. The Island School truly teaches to the whole child - academically, emotionally, physically, and socially. We knew this is what we were looking for in a school and we did extensive research into a variety of schools and schooling options. We could not be more pleased with all that The Island School offered. Our children loved school. The teachers and staff are exceptional - well trained and truly love kids and teaching. The hands-on project based approach, small class size, focus on character/ social-emotional learning, exceptional academics, art, music, school grounds, field trips, and more combined into a remarkable, magical experience for our kids and for us. We were all truly part of a loving, kind, and thoughtful school community that gave back in multiple ways to the larger community. Sometimes, it seems that people think you can't have this kind of magical school experience and academic excellence. As if, learning must be void of heart, fun, emotion, and all the things that make us unique and connected humans. I don't believe this. It is precisely all of these things that allow kids to learn fully and deeply, to learn how to learn, and to develop into lifelong learners. The Island School knows this and embodies this approach in everything does. My kids and our family continue to benefit from all we learned there.
- Posted by
Our daughter attended The Island School first through fifth grade and our son attended kindergarten through fifth grade. As a parent, The Island School was everything I dreamed of for our children. They had a strong academic and educational experience in developing skills in Math, English, History, Art and more. They also learned to love learning, to love school and to become creative, analytical and independent thinkers. Equally important, they were encouraged to be kind, thoughtful, collaborative and respectful individuals. The Island School actively and deliberately fosters an environment of inclusion and respect between all students in every grade and between grades. The teachers are there because they love to teach. The Island School curriculum is expansive and creative. Each year all students engage in a month-long "Cultural Study" in which they not only learn in depth about another country but also experience cooking, dance, music, art projects, language and architecture. The Cultural Studies culminate in a "closing ceremony" in which each grade, or sometimes all grades together, offers a performance, such as a dance, song, musical performance or story to the whole school and parent community. The Island School gave our children one of most life-enriching experiences of their lives.
- Posted by
I LOVE The Island School! Many of my core beliefs were seeded and nurtured as a student here. The Island School community (teachers, staff, students, families, alumni, Board of Trustees, campus) engenders the social/emotional skills that have become fundamental to the school's curriculum and a keystone of my own life. Due in large part to The Island School community I believe that I am a capable, creative, and kind human!
- Posted by
My son graduated from The Island School and my daughter is currently enrolled there, and both have had phenomenal experiences. Not only are they well-prepared academically but also they have learned to truly enjoy learning, and have developed inquisitive minds, compassionate character, and a more. The faculty and staff at The Island School, and the supportive community of parents, are committed to every single student and their growth and wellbeing. We're thrilled to have had the opportunity to be a part of The Island School.
- Posted by
We moved to Bainbridge Island in part to find a school that would encourage in my children self-resilience, kindness, and a love of learning. My older son was previously at a very high achieving school with great teachers, committed staff, and an exceptional PTA and parent community. But he hated it, and I saw his "light" began to dim. I was told by everyone that he was doing very well, but doing well and being well are not the same.It wasn`t that my son`s teachers and administrators weren`t exceptional. They were. It wasn`t bullying or social struggle. It was rules that only allowed 30 minutes for recess. It was art and science built on product over process. It was a class of 28 diverse small children and only one magnificent but human teacher. It was an inescapable structure that often pitted mandates against what was best for students.I am trained as a science researcher, and when I have a problem, I read. I read articles and research papers finding that homework had no discernible positive effect on achievement in low grades. I read perspectives and research about the importance of recess, the hazards of over-emphasizing reading and academics too early, and the criticality of small class size. I read about how many US schools are short-changing social and emotional learning. I read about schools in Finland, Norway, Japan, England, and South America, how they differ, and how the children`s happiness and performance differ as well. I considered homeschooling.And then we came to Bainbridge Island for spring break, and I heard about The Island School. I pored over the website, I asked our hosts questions, and a few months later we were filling out paperwork.We chose this school because it has two and sometimes three recesses a day, trees to climb, a pond to get muddy in, no homework, and small class sizes. We chose The Island School because they told me about their social-emotional curriculum before they mentioned math, and because there is no standardized testing. But mostly we chose it because my son flew across the country to spend a day at The Island School and wanted to go back. The kid who told me every day how much he hated school wanted to go back.I love that The Island School values research-driven strategies for educating the whole child, that its teachers and administrators are warm and dedicated, and that its students leave well-prepared. But mostly, I support The Island School because my son (and now his little brother) come home happy, fulfilled, engaged, and looking forward to returning. His joy has returned, and so has mine.
- Posted by
The Island School is a true gem with exceptional teachers and staff. Each student is treated as an individual, invested in, and taken care of - academically and socially/emotionally. The Island School is the elementary school I wish I went to and can't wait to send our little toddler there when his time comes!
- Posted by
I am a current parent and also an alumni of The Island School. As a student I remember caring, attentive teachers in a welcoming environment where curiosity and fun while learning was the norm. Nearly 30 years later I see my own child blossoming in this same amazing environment. When I hear "Mom, I love school; it feels like my second home", it made me so grateful for this phenomenal little school.
- Posted by
The Island School is a remarkable private school. We have two children currently enrolled and a preschooler that can't wait for her turn. The teachers know and love our kids and challenge them in meaningful ways every day. Our kids are mad when they are sick and can't go to school! It is a magical place.
- Posted by

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Did You Know?
The average private school tuition in Washington is $10,517 for elementary schools and $13,054 for high schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).
The average acceptance rate in Washington is 85% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).