Readers' Pick

Green Acres

Sarah Schain knew her preschooler’s inability to sit still was going to be a problem once he started elementary school. So the Bethesda resident sent him to Green Acres, a progressive school in North Bethesda where the staff believes that keeping kids active helps them be successful learners. To that end, classrooms have sliding-glass doors leading outside, students change buildings for classes and younger kids spend at least two hours outdoors each day. Plus, the 15-acre campus includes five playgrounds, a creek and a turtle farm for the 320 students in preschool through eighth grade.

“For my son, the activeness helped him focus. It was the key to his success,” says Schain, who currently has two daughters in first and sixth grade there, as well as her son, now in seventh grade.

In addition to the emphasis on the outdoors, the school focuses on teaching kids to be “self-propelled learners,” says Head of School Neal Brown. That means they “spend less time complying and more time creating.”

That philosophy clearly resonates with Bethesda Magazine readers, who chose Green Acres as the “Best Private School (Grades K-8)” this year.

“We don’t see childhood as a race,” Brown says. “We’re much more focused on enrichment and challenges than acceleration.”

Tuition at the school is $31,450 a year for K-8.

11701 Danville Drive, North Bethesda, 301-881-4100,

Other Top Vote Getters: The Woods Academy, McLean