this school is a five star education and the best childhood a parent could wish for. the community is so close. i can't imagine hot having all of my children attend any other school. by far the best.
Orchard School is awesome! My son is thriving there. He is learning to "love to learn". The teachers are talented and care deeply about their students. All kids are valued for who they are as individuals. It is a family-like community where kids of all ages are friends with each other and help each other. There is a strong emphasis on leadership and personal responsibility.The natural setting is beautiful and allows the kids to explore nature while they learn.
We are thrilled with Orchard. We have 2 children - one in fourth grade, one in kindergarten. Orchard is a great school, allowing your child to work at his/her own pace, in a beyond incredible environment. One of the first things I noticed when visiting there was how friendly the kid were - they were inviting, interesting, real sweet children. Because the school is small, the kids play with all ages and there seems to be no exclusion whatsoever. I cannot say enough good things about this school - the setting, the warm teachers are devoted to the children, wonderful array of fun things for them to do. My kids can't wait to leave for school each day!
I love Orchard School because children are given ample time in nature and many opportunities for learning in different ways. My son learnt to read in third grade and now is devouring books at an alarming rate. All the students are honored for their own unique talents and being good at juggling is no better or worse than excelling in math, they are each accomplishments.
My son loves to go to school everyday! It's a small, loving community with earth-conscious individuals and teachers who genuinely care about our children and want to see them grow into themselves and be dynamic, bright, compassionate human beings. Surrounded by and within nature, our kids see the natural processes of the earth and experience it hands-on! We love Orchard School!
Orchard School's Mission is Threefold * To provide an educational experience in which a child's self esteem and intellectual curiosity remain intact * To offer a scholastic curriculum which is factually rich, skill building, environmentally and socially strong * To nurture responsibility, independence and empowerment in the academic process for success in life's future pursuits Orchard School's Vision The Orchard School takes pride in its experiential-based learning model, with an emphasis in environmental sciences and the performing arts. The integration of a strong academic core curriculum with applied learning teaching methods stimulates academic excellence in our students. The Orchard School is dedicated to providing the tools and resources to meet the individual needs of its students, whether they are specific learning difficulties or cultivating the potential of gifted children. Our goal is to create a "think-tank" environment, grounded in applied learning, where each child fully develops his or her own unique talents. These essential elements of our commitment to each student's self-esteem and education create a rare learning opportunity where "learning comes to life." To accomplish this, we have located the school in rural Aptos on a 14-acre historical landmark. Our farm, gardens, orchards, fields, woods and stream provide a magnificent hands-on learning environment, which supports both intellectual discovery and creative play. Music and art appreciation, social conscience and environmental awareness are emphasized in our program and its daily rhythms. A Day in the Life On a typical day at Orchard, one might witness children observing and recording the metamorphosis of a swallowtail butterfly, watching the birth of baby goats, releasing preying mantises in the garden for insect control, planting or harvesting a corn patch, preparing for a dramatic performance, composing music, walking on stilts, learning about fractions when making and eating waffles, panning for gold in the creek, or celebrating the winning of the Sentinel's stock market contest. The kindergartners are immersed in a structure of creation, care and curiosity. Our older students expand their studies into the larger community through ongoing field trips. Last year, they explored the Sierra Mountains in studies of trekking, mapping and the environment and visited the State Capitol, studying and role-playing its courtroom in the classroom. We share our "life-lab," with its diverse bio-niches, with the community through different outreach projects. An alliance with the SPCA to foster-care some of their farm animals has been initiated and children from other schools will be invited to participate in this program. The Orchard School is registering as a certified organic farm and will donate produce to in-need community groups. Although at the present time we serve a small number of children and their families, our vision embraces a much larger goal. We would like the community to experience our educational environment as a place in which outstanding academic knowledge is coupled with creating rich and colorful childhood memories, as students grow to become happy and successful lifelong learners. In sum, Orchard weaves together the magic of an extraordinary faculty, a majestic campus and a down-to-earth philosophy to nourish the growth of its children.
Best school I've ever seen, encourages creativity, non-violent communication, participation, interaction, nature, low student/teacher ratios, little emphasis on testing/marks/competition.
The amazing 14 acre campus with plenty of wild spaces, beautiful blend of freedom and structure, caring teachers who really honor and celebrate each child's greatness, small classes, amazing circus arts, gardening, drama and art programs!
First-rate teachers who are dedicated, tireless, and creative. The beautiful environment, including the garden, gives the kids plenty of room to explore and learn about the natural world. Kids learn at their own pace, and everyone is welcome and appreciated for who they are. Come and visit this school and you will be *amazed*. My son has been there for three years, and I'm still pinching myself that we found this wonderful school!
Orchard School of Aptos, California, a former apple orchard, has 14 acres of space for the children to run and play and learn. The classes are held in converted old barns and chicken coops. The science class has snakes, spiders, and lizards for the children to observe. Outdoors there is a garden, and a corral where the emus are kept, next to the corral for the lama, and goats. Chickens wander about, and somewhere is a pot belly pig. The children take at least one class of circus arts per week, with the ever amiable Rock, who teaches them to juggle, unicycle and use stilts, among other fun pass times. In the mornings the children gather for circle time where they recount stories of seeing dolphins to wiggly teeth. Manila the math teacher, teaches children to enjoy math, while learning at the same time, through games. Kendall, Jamie, and Jody keep the children interested in science and language arts, and humanities by interesting projects, games and art. The children get a break between classes...to get the jiggles out...making it easier to focus...when they get back to class. They run and play with a beautiful backdrop of an old farm, surrounded by woods.
Since the last reviews, there is a new Language Arts teacher and I have been very pleased and impressed with the curriculum. Your child will not be drilled, tested, or compared to other students, but that doesn't mean there are not high expectations. The teachers are committed to all the basic skills within a well-rounded education that incorporates science, nature, and the arts throughout every day! My daughter came to Orchard from public school hating math and hating the monotony of tests and reading groups - now she not only loves school, but she's taken off in reading on her own and loves math class! Math at Orchard is taught with lots of hands-on experiments and real-life learning examples. The math teacher plays classical music and serves tea, so the subject is relaxing and fun.
Orchard School is excellent in the arts, music and drama, good in Science, but very, very poor in language arts and math. The discipline is inconsistent if there at all. we are extrmemly frustrated with Orchards lack of structure and non-specific answers to our very specific questions. We will not be returning next year.
This is a sweet, sweet school. It is small, earthy, full of life and joy. Academics are not consistently strong, with Math and Science being commendable, while reading and writing have in the past lacked the spark that can motivate. However, there are many pluses, such as tremendous circus arts, drama, out-of-the-norm activities such as working with wool, organic gardening and cooking, and hands on exposure to lots and lots of animals, from reptiles to Emus. This is an unforgettable place. See it and make your personal assessment.
Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.
The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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