Students enrolled 35
Hours 8:15 AM - 3:30 PM
School leader Joy Taylor
Transportation options Yes
Type no info
Before school no info
After school no info

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5920 Shoup Ave
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

School website
(818) 346-8355
(818) 346-8356
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Topanga Mountain School address.

5 stars
Based on 28 ratings

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think about this school

April 30, 2014
T.M.S offers an unique, inspiring education for adolescents that includes academic challenges and physical adventures where kids can learn about the environment, their roles in the world and most importantly, themselves! I am so grateful to the TMS staff because they invest themselves in each child enrolled. Truly a miracle in today's society!

- submitted by a parent
April 29, 2014
Topanga Mountain School is one of those special places where kids are respected and where they have the opportunity to discover and be who they are. The curriculum is interesting and appropriately challenging. The outdoor education program is amazing - hiking almost every week and three week-long camping trips where the kids are in charge of their own camping families. There are field trips almost every Friday to enhance what the kids are learning. Art, music and drama trimesters include all the kids in the creative process. The TMS experience has been amazing for my son and he will be so sad to leave when he graduates in June!

- submitted by a parent
April 29, 2014
My daughter has spent the last three years at Topanga Mountain School. There are 36 kids in the school overall. Instructors are super passionate about their subjects and work to connect and inspire each student. The school puts a lot of emphasis on spending time in nature and do weekly hikes, and field trips all while not missing an educational beat. There are three trimesters that are a focus of Art, Music, and Drama. Each culminates in an a show/performance that make you feel that anyone of these was worth the price of tuition (which by the way is very modest for an LA private school). The kids also learn social graces like dancing together, shopping together for camping food (they camp 3-4 times a year), and learn how to communicate their thoughts and feeling at council circle, and sit spots (where they journal). Kids have the option to work at a food bank, do aerial silks, Jiu Jitsu, learn the arts of being in a recording studio (recording or editing), automotive class, and/or pottery. I cannot sing the praises enough for Joy Taylor who is a legend among students and parents and will hold the torch for high morals, values, and community togetherness.

- submitted by a parent
April 29, 2014
Topanga Mountain School's most striking feature is that it's size, and very high teaching standards mean that its students are all getting a very high level of individual attention. It's wonderful to see how each new set of students come in to this unique enviroment, and are immediately given an insight in to what it means to be a part of an emotionally self-suporting, and self-nurturing community. The values that these kids are taught brings the virtues of respect into perfect focus. Respect of oneself and each other, respect of one's enviroment and respect for the school and it's curriculum. The fact that this is all driven by a strong sense of love means that it provides the perfect blue print for what it means to be a smart and inquisitive well adjusted adult.

- submitted by a parent
April 29, 2014
As a grandparent of an alumnus and a current student I have seen firsthand what an amazing educational experience my granddaughters have been blessed to have. The staff is nurturing and creative, the program is innovative and intellectually rigorous and the parent body is very involved. I would love for all my grandchildren to be able to have this experience.

- submitted by a community member
April 28, 2014
My son went there for middle school. He learned so much. Super head mistress Joy Taylor. The philosophy of passionate lifelong learners is present in every class. The integration of nature, nurture, earth awareness and camping. Was great for my son. He needed the attention and small class size. He was all the better for his experience there. An unusual school because use the run of the mill schools don't even come close to what TMS offers in life learning not just academics.

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2014
Topanga Mountain School is a wonderful environment of caring sharing parents, teachers, mentors and director. We love the flow of the week with days spent outdoors. In this high-tech time, getting back to nature is so essential for the maturing child's soul!

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2014
Topanga Mountain School is the perfect place for my child. They have small class rooms, focus on each child as an individual. They encourage each student to be independent, courageous, and curious about the world they live in. And they emphasize the outdoors!!! Camping trips without parents. Hikes on a weekly basis. These are activities that our child would never receive at a different school. We are very happy with TMS.

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2014
I have three children who have had the distinct good fortune of attending TMS. What has amazed me is how truly this school prepares children for high school. And not just academically, but socially. I've seen my children blossom in self- confidence that has shown itself both in their academic life as well as their social life. With that confidence, I've watched my oldest take on some very challenging situations with trust in herself, and growing from challenges instead of being hurt by them. Additionally, I've watched her love of learning continue to grow.And this is the best thing a child can learn - because then they can spend their whole lives excited about education.

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2014
We are thrilled for our son to be attending this amazing school. TMS is such a wonderful environment for learning not only academics but also important life skills. It's also great just for being comfortable and safe at this, quite more often than not, extremely awkward and sometimes very scary time of life. We can't think of a better place for oyr boy. Thank you EVERYONE at Topanga Mountain School! You truly rock our world!

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2014
Topanga Mountain School provides an incredible learning experience for my two daughters. The teachers are dynamic, creative, and develop relevant and challenging curriculum that engages the students. There is a wholistic focus on developing the whole person mentally, emotionally, and physically. The strong focus on the arts fosters creativity and balances the academic subjects. The outdoor education program is not just good for fitness, it also teaches life skills and team building. And most importantly my daughters love the school and are excited to go every day!

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2014
My daughter has been attending this school for two years and she absolutely loves every aspect of the school. She is advanced placement and the teachers tailor a curriculum for her. The class sizes are averaging about 10 kids. The teachers are truly enthusiastic inspired educators. The kids do a lot of outdoor education including aerial silks, car mechanics, go-kart building, ceramics, hiking, kayaking, outdoor science, camping. The arts program is unsurpassed including: music production, band, drama performance, choir, photography, fine art, drawing. It's incredible. And the Principal is a caring, personal, inspired leader that cares for the kids like they're her own. Seriously, this is the best middle school in Southern California. The kids are happy!

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2014
In short, my daughter woke up at 6am the day after spring break and couldn't wait to be taken to school.

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2014
Topanga mountain school,is everything you've always heard it was: a miraculous support system for delivering your child into young adult hood. I cried when I first went to the open house because I had never dared to believe there was a school as in line with my hopes and dreams. Three years later, I can honestly say that my daughter's experience there has been everything I hoped it would be. My deepest gratitude goes to Joy Taylor and her teamof inspired and inspiring staff for three years of awesome education and guidance.

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2014
Topanga Mountain School is an amazing alternative, small private middle school in the west San Fernando Valley. This school is a breath of fresh air where the education focuses on the whole child and prepares the students wonderfully for success post middle school. The entire faculty is passionate not only about their core subjects but also about each student and the larger school community. The faculty work very closely together to create an exciting and engaging integrated curriculum rather than rely on boring text books that usually don't have a lasting impact. This is a school where children can be who they are and not try to be someone they are not. The faculty really knows each student well and the learning groups are shifted from time to time in order to create the right balance between student needs and curricular needs. We have one daughter who has graduated and one currently there and we would never do middle school differently than TMS!

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2014
I read through the reviews posted by the other TMS parents and believe that all of the key points have been covered. I imagine that any prospective parents/students would be skeptical that a school can truly be so great. Those who have found their way into this small, dynamic, creative community of learning and living are truly a fortunate bunch. Thank you to Joy, Liz, Tressa, Sam, Andrew and Katie for all you do to build worlds of meaning for our children - and for us.

- submitted by a parent
April 22, 2014
Adolescence can be such a painful, awkward time in kids' lives, that our society has sequestered students in their own private hell for 3 years. TMS is the opposite of what middle school in America has become. The teachers are real people who care about the students and have time to get to know them. Academics take a back seat to a focus on adventure, philosophy, the arts and nature. Students learn a ton of real life skills, such as orienteering, map/compass reading, working in teams, self-expression, responsibility, family building, and joie de vivre. The school goes camping 4 times per year; they put on an art show/coffee house/drama production; they volunteer their time in the community; they hike, introspect, support one another, and practice all sorts of physical and mental exercises. There are traditional school subjects taught in a distinctly non-traditional manner, with very little homework. Despite this, I am happy to report that TMS graduates easily transition to public high school. The greatest recommendation, though, is that our son is excited to head off to middle school every day. How many people can say that?

- submitted by a parent
February 02, 2014
Topanga Mountain School provides a loving, unique environment where my daughter can safely explore who she is while being completely supported by her peers and school staff. The teachers are brilliant, engaged and passionate about what they're doing and the kids they are in community with. The director is heart-centered and constantly tuned in to the changing needs of each student and the group as a whole. Everything is done in consciousness. The academics are solid and in many cases my daughter is well ahead of her peers in mainstream schools. TMS is a well-rounded education, teaching independence, responsibility and healthy group dynamics. The kids go on to flourish in any type of high school because they have themselves, solidly. My daughter is absolutely thriving in this environment. If you are a parent who is very steeped in patriarchal models of learning, with rigid schedules and expectations, this school is not for you. If you want your child to love learning in a fun, loving, supportive environment, check it out.

- submitted by a parent
August 21, 2013
My son has flourished at TMS. While it's true that the curriculum is not as structured and narrowly defined as in a traditional school I have found it to be rich. My son has much less homework than his friends at other schools but he is academically on par with them. More importantly, my son loves to go to school. He loves his teachers. He is excited about what he is learning. He is an academic high achiever and TMS has provided plenty of academic challenge. The camping trips and out door eduction program are amazing. I love how my son has grown as a person in this environment and the values that have been nurtured. I am so happy we found TMS and I know my son will thrive wherever he ends up for high school.

- submitted by a parent
May 23, 2013
I agree with the most recent post. In regards to the "teaching" faculty, most teachers have no credentials or certifications, some have no official training in education. The school lacks organization and the director is prone to fits of frustration that students bear the brunt at times, as well as staff. With such a small and flexible environment, there is no excuse for this school to have the problems of a larger LAUSD school.

- submitted by a parent
February 08, 2013
Small school and class size yields a flexible curriculum. Furthermore a hands-on student faculty relationship makes for an intimate and nurturing environment. This school has a lot of potential to be great. Unfortunately much of it is unrealized. There are no books for Science, English Literature, History. Frequently I have no idea what my child is studying since there are few handouts and no books to refer to. The 3 day academic week only allows for 2 days of Science and 1 day of Spanish. Often my child has no homework at all. This is middle school I expect more homework than elementary not less. California Curriculum Standards are VERY loosely followed if at all. Some of the teachers do not have a teaching certificate/license and have NEVER taught in a formal classroom setting. As such they are not fully qualified to teach the assigned subjects. Technology is minimally utilized for anything but basic communication. Often notices are sent out at the last minute and organization is lacking. With all the wonderful aspects; camping, field trips, electives, great kids and caring parents, I want to love this school. Yet the lack of a strong curriculum makes this school disappointing.

- submitted by a parent
January 07, 2012
I can say enough about the quality and education of this school and how it has transformed the lives of my children and many who I have witness go thru this school. My two daughters are in the school and the oldest is graduating this year and is not looking forward to leaving. My youngest came into the school kicking and screaming but is for the first time in a long time smiling and loving to go to school. They teach what I feel we have lost in most schools, which is a respect and a getting to know ones self and the choices we make and why. The kids get to play, and honor and know themselves which translates them in honoring and a willingness to honor and get to know others. They give back to community and other endeavors as they go full circle with learning. I am always awed and honored by the kids in this school. They may go in as a ordinary kid but they come out transformed by the experience of this school. This is truly a community I will be apart of for a very long time and will be sad when both my girls are onto High school.. Wish there was a High School that cultivated this way of teaching.

- submitted by a parent
May 27, 2010
Our son will be graduating in one month and we will truly miss TMS. What a joy it has been to send our child to such a caring , loving enriched enviroment. The students who are lucky enough to have the TMS experience have a strong foundation on which to build their fututre education. We can't wait to come back with our younger son for more!

- submitted by a parent
January 22, 2009
TMS has given my daughter an education that I can't put a price on. The staff truly cares and they are dedicated to creating a nurturing creative environment with diversity and respect. My daughter has become a caring, thinking, creative supportive individual ready for her high school years.

- submitted by a parent
February 08, 2007
This program creates an environment of academic structure with interpersonal liberation. There is an emphasis on the oneself as one relates to their outer world. Such as weekly council where the students dictate the theme, go to a sit spot to meditate and then return to the group to share insights with one another. The students have a Friday field trip which includes on hands academic themes, exploration of nature and relating to one another and to society through social action programs. There are music and drama classes and performances by students and parents. There are sport and academic programs in and out of school. Parents are involved as much as they are able through passion days where the parent supports the staff in instructing one's personal 'passion,' i.e. Native Americans, my passion. Fundraising, like lunch and a monthly swap meet, Coffee-house Jazz Jam on Saturdays. Just watch your child evolve.

- submitted by a parent
February 02, 2007
It's the most wonderful school ever. I'd travel very far to get to it.The children become more and more who they really are - uninhibited findings and expression of self in a liberating structured environment - they learn so much as they get to unfold in the most beautiful manner -- do yourself and your child the favor of a lifetime and check it out - peace anna katarina

- submitted by a parent
February 01, 2007
Our youngest daughter is in her second year and she loves the school - learning the core academics is just the base. Time in nature, learning about communication, community, friendship & responsibility makes this a more complete middle school experience. This is all the more vital for her as she grows into adolescence. The parent community is committed. The volunteer spirit is what sustains the school. And the teaching is amazing... truly devoted and inspirational educators.

- submitted by a parent
January 31, 2007
Two of our children have been at the Topanga Mountain School 3 years now and we are overjoyed by the richness of this phenomenal middle school. A school that nurtures the mind, body, and spirit as this does is a rare gift and we are continually thrilled by the wonder our children hold for the world and their enthusiasm for learning more. Apart from the terrific academic caliber of classes and the wonderful faculty, even more important to us is that our daughter has learned to honor her individuality and truly celebrate others, while our son has cultivated a deep, honest and respectful communication with his classmates and teachers thru council far beyond how most adults are able to relate to one another. Upholding the core values of a compassionate, engaged, organic community and learning in a really fun way-- I wish they had classes for adults too! There is an alternative to expensive private schools and cookie cutter public schools. Topanga Mountain School is fantastic.

- submitted by a parent
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Topanga Mountain School
5920 Shoup Ave, Woodland Hills, CA  91367
(818) 346-8355
Last modified Topanga Mountain School is a Private school that serves grades 6-8
Topanga Mountain School Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 28 reviews.