Palm Beach Day Academy's history began in 1921 with the establishment of two schools, the Palm Beach School for Boys and the Palm Beach School for Girls. The boys' school was founded by Willard W. Ferguson from Burlington, Vermont, and Edward M. Shields of West Chester, Pennsylvania and was located at 437 Chilean Avenue. The girls' school was founded by Ada E. Davis of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She started the school in her home at 306 Cocoanut Row. The schools were originally limited to the elementary grades, but soon, each included a kindergarten and a high school.
Both schools had a short term, from December to March, which met the needs of winter residents. During the 1920's the term was lengthened to include November and all of March to accommodate longer staying residents. The students followed course outlines sent by their northern schools so that they were able to return to their homes in the spring and rejoin classmates there.
In 1930, a group of parents combined the two schools into one and called it Palm Beach Private School. In 1931, an Art Deco style building was constructed at 241 Seaview Avenue.
As more of Palm Beach Private School families became yearlong residents, the school extended its term from September to June, but continued to accommodate winter term students. As the student body grew, so did the facilities to include the Matthews Auditorium and Wean Library, and most recently the Halmos Activities Center and Smith Family Theater.
The school changed its name to Palm Beach Day School in 1966, but continued its tradition of excellent preparation for secondary school and beyond.
On Thursday, February 16, 2006, the Boards of Directors of Palm Beach Day School and The Academy of the Palm Beaches announced their decision to merge the two schools. The decision and the announcement followed more than a year of discussions that gave careful consideration to the many aspects involved in such a merger. In the end, both boards agreed that joining the two schools would result in a new institution that was greater than the sum of its parts
The Academy of the Palm Beaches, formerly the Children's House of the Palm Beaches, was founded by a group of dedicated parents in May of 1981. It was their desire to provide for their children the best possible foundation for life. The founders were Mr. and Mrs. H. Loy Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. Murray Goodman, Mr. and Mrs. Faxon Henderson, and Mr. and Mrs. John F. Koons, together with Barbara Durrer, Head of School.
The School opened on September 10, 1981, for children between the ages of two and six regardless of faith, race, or ethnic background. The school was originally located at 211 Trinity Place in West Palm Beach. The facilities were leased from Holy Trinity Church.
In 1994, following the acquisition of its own facilities, the Children's House expanded its mission to encompass not only a Pre-primary program (age 2) and a Primary program (ages 3-6), but also an Elementary program (grades 1-6). The change in the mission of the Children's House precipitated the name change, which took place in September 1995. Emphasizing its commitment to developing a quality elementary school, the Board of Trustees renamed the school The Academy of the Palm Beaches. It expanded further, to encompass the middle school years, through grade 8, in 2003-2004.
The merger of the two schools became official on July 1st of 2006 and the new two-campus school was officially named the Palm Beach Day Academy - a name that includes elements from both former names.
The Lower Campus is located on South Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach, 1.3 miles from the Upper Campus, and serves children from 2 years old through 3rd grade, while the Upper Campus serves children from 4th through 9th grade.