Renbrook School

The Preschool - 8 School in West Hartford Focuses on the Whole Child

Article by Lucinda Jamison

Photography by Chip Riegel and Barbara Doyle

Originally published in Glastonbury Lifestyle

A beacon in West Hartford, Renbrook School encompasses a 75-acre campus atop Avon Mountain featuring hiking trails, a pond, three playgrounds, separate basketball and gymnastics gyms, high and low ropes challenge courses, three pools, and an organic synthetic turf field. The private day school has a student-centric philosophy and is committed to bringing learning to life.

From preschool to Grade 8, students are inspired by an experiential, project-based education that fosters engagement, hands-on learning, and outdoor education.

Renbrook’s Head of School, Matt Sigrist, has a strong presence on campus and considers his role as the chief servant of the mission of the school. "I support our faculty and staff, provide them with the resources to thrive, and rally around this most important purpose—to light the fire of curiosity in our students."

Matt often cites the importance of community, relationships, and passion because they represent Renbrook's core tenets and mission of "bringing learning to life." Renbrook's mission is its "reason for being", and each day, Renbrook's faculty and staff animate those ideas to provide their students with profound learning experiences.

Founded in 1935 by several families seeking an alternative to traditional schools, Renbrook has maintained its child-centric approach to education with an emphasis on hands-on learning. ”We do our best work with an innovative and creative mindset," Matt says. 

Renbrook balances traditional educational pedagogy focused on core academic competencies while judiciously incorporating cutting-edge teaching strategies. 

"We’ve been here for 88 years and have a great track record, but we never rest on those laurels. We want to continue to develop foundational skills, but we always want to do it in new and inventive ways.”

In its mission, Renbrook commits itself to teaching its students to lead in a global and inclusive world. To accomplish this, Renbrook intentionally builds a community diverse in its racial, socio-economic, religious, and geographic makeup. Renbrook draws from 39 surrounding towns - as far north as Massachusetts and as far south as the Connecticut shore. "Our diversity is our strength," Matt says. 

Renbrook recognizes that tuition costs can be prohibitive to some families, so the school works diligently to provide access. Renbrook grants over $1.7 million in need-based financial aid and provides merit scholarships for talented students.

Renbrook's tuition covers just 75 percent of the cost of educating each student, and the school pays the remaining 25 percent of revenues from a variety of sources including: donations from current and past families, its endowment and revenues earned through auxiliary programs like the Summer Adventure Program, their 50-year-old summer camp.

 "We work hard developing these revenue streams to keep tuition costs down and ensure affordability for middle-class families," Sigrist says. 

Renbrook families recognize that building a learning foundation during a child’s early education years offers the highest return on education dollars and sets a course for agency, curiosity, and a lifelong love of learning.

”The relational piece is central to everything we do here, developing in our students a mindset of curiosity, confidence, and personal agency," Matt explains. Renbrook students gain the skills and dispositions of engaged life-long learners in a nurturing environment. It is truly a special place for students in the West Hartford community.

Renbrook School

2865 Albany Ave.
West Hartford



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