School Life

A Sense of Community

Chamber music brings us all together like one big family. The Crowden School has a strong tradition of building community through our many school events. Collectively we rally around students to enrich their experience, whether it is in a classroom, onstage, or off-campus. Students learn that the spirit of teamwork extends beyond their own peer groups and that everyone (including the audience) stands behind them and is invested in their growth and success.


Crowden students share a passion for learning and creating.

The Crowden School for fourth through eighth grade

Morning Meeting

Students and teachers gather for a fifteen minute meeting in the auditorium on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to share important news, reminders, and celebrations. We stay connected through frequent check-ins.


Teams at the Crowden School for grades 4 through 8

Students across grades are divided up into teams named after four well-known classical musicians: Marcel DuPre, Jascha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin, and William Primrose. Team-led activities occur during the school year, and culminate in all-school relays during Field Day in May.

Eighth Grade Leadership

Crowden School eighth graders take leadership roles

Under the supervision of a faculty member, the eighth grade class leads activities and raises funds to provide community service to the school.

Activities have included organizing a pizza lunch program, Halloween Carnival, bake sales, holiday treats, designing and distributing a year book, dances, and other industrious endeavors. Eighth graders take leadership positions in school teams, and during school events. The class purchases a meaningful gift for the school, as a token of their appreciation and to leave a “legacy” for the Crowden community.

Field Trips

Crowden School field trip to 826 Valencia for a creative writing workshop

Educational experiences outside of the classroom enrich subject curricula. Our students take frequent adventures!

Past field trip destinations have included: Berkeley Public Library, Marin Museum of the American Indian, Peralta Hacienda, Lawrence Hall of Science, Oakland Museum, Angel Island, Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Asian Art Museum, Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 826 Valencia, Phoebe Hearst Museum, Point Reyes, Mission Dolores, USS Hornet, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Ropes Course at Strawberry Canyon.

Thinking Globally | Acting Locally

Daily music practice causes an awareness of one’s own power to influence change, and leads to a greater empathy and curiosity about the world.

Crowden students created this artwork after an Oxfam Hunger Banquet

If every child in the world could go to a school like Crowden, there would be world peace in one generation! I know that sounds extreme, but that's not an exaggeration.

— Grandparent of a Crowden School student

Oxfam Hunger Banquet

Crowden School students study hunger at an Oxfam banquet

Each year students, faculty, and staff participate in an Oxfam Hunger Banquet and reflect upon the reality of global food insecurity. Teachers create activities to focus on the causes and current statistics around the globe before the event, and lead discussions afterward to reflect upon our experience and develop action plans.

Food Drive

As part of a science unit on nutrition, the sixth grade organizes and leads a school-wide food drive. In collaboration with the eighth grade, facts about global food insecurity are presented to the student body.

Taking Action

Crowden School students can vote to raise funds for local charities

Classes hold bake sales, organize read-a-thons, and collect donations for local and international charities.

Students have voted to support the following organizations in the past: One Warm Coat, Kiva Loan Program, Heifer International, The Berkeley Food and Housing Project.


In the true spirit of teamwork, all of our school events are driven by a strong volunteer effort. In addition to our Volunteer Coordinator, each grade has a designated Room Parent. Families work closely with teachers and administration to facilitate field trips, concert receptions, and school celebrations.
Parent volunteers are an essential support at the Crowden School

Welcome Back BBQ

The Crowden School Welcome Back BBQ

Each school year begins with our annual Welcome Back BBQ, a picnic where returning families reconnect after the summer and new families are welcomed into the fold. Room parents help newcomers navigate the world of concert attire, best dishes to bring to concert receptions, and carpools.

Holiday Party

The Crowden School's Holiday Party

Before departing for winter break, we hold an all-school potluck dinner, followed by an informal evening of music featuring some favorite Crowden musical traditions.

Appreciation Breakfast

Faculty and staff honor the contributions of our families each year by preparing a special breakfast buffet for them.

Student Concerts

A Crowden School student concert

Students perform for each other and for the community. Our potluck receptions following each concert allow us to connect with each other—to share food and friendship.


Graduation at the Crowden School

Our last hurrah of the year, music and academic faculty offer tributes to our eighth graders. All families are invited to watch them take to the stage one last time and wish them luck.

Sharing Music with Others

We believe that encouraging the love of music is one of the best gifts we can give our children. In turn, Crowden School students share their passion for music with others in the greater Bay Area community and across the globe.
A Crowden School student shows off a violin at Solano Stroll

Solano Stroll and Street Fairs

A Crowden School student Zookeeper shows a girl the violin

Here's our chance to show the greater community everything we love about Crowden! Our Traveling Instrument Petting Zoo features our own student ambassadors and offers curious passersby the chance to pick up and play a violin, cello, or bass—perhaps for the first time— inspiring others to discover the love of playing music.

Community Music Day

Community Music Day at Crowden

We open our doors and invite people in to experience what music education can mean for a child. Every room is filled with instruments and students lead our guests through the experience of playing an instrument. Concerts, a food court and marketplace, face-painting, and instrument-making also highlight this truly remarkable yearly event.


Crowden School performance for a Sophia Foundation fundraiser in Civic Center Oakland

Our student ensembles frequently provide music for civic events like the Berkeley Civic Center Art Exhibit or the North Berkeley Branch Library grand opening, and our groups often play at local retirement homes and nursery schools. Sharing the gift of music with others enriches the educational experience.

Biennial Music Tour

The Crowden School music tour to Sweden and Denmark

Beyond the educational excursions during the academic year, the seventh and eighth graders go on a musical tour every two years. Students treasure the Tour as a highlight of their time at Crowden. Each tour is jam-packed with public performances, musical exchanges with local young musicians, and educational explorations of the visited region's history and cultural landmarks.

Past tours have included: Chicago and Cleveland, Southwestern U.S., Washington D.C., New York City, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, England, Scotland, Italy, and New Zealand.

The Crowden School

A coeducational day school for grades 3–8, the Crowden School provides a distinguished education with chamber music at its core.