This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Patchwork School5
Posted January 31, 2015
- a parent
My son has gone to Patchwork for several years, and he loves it. He is excited about learning, truly admires his teachers, and has made some great friends. He is encouraged to explore and expand his interests, and as a result, he is becoming a confident and self-motivated learner. I am confident that this is the ideal place for him. I would recommend Patchwork to anyone who is looking for a non-traditional educational environment.
My daughter (5) came to this school right after a big transition (moving states). The teachers at this school supported her through all the range of emotions that come with the territory of such a change. They focus so much on the emotional intelligence of the children through play, child-led learning, emotional coaching and guiding the children in collaborative problem-solving. This school is VERY unique and the philosophy is so progressive it is bound to have groundbreaking results with the generation that attend it. These kids will have so much self-esteem, strong problem solving skills, know how to work really well with others and learn how to be driven by their interests.
As parents, we have put lots of energy thinking of the education for our daughter and the tools she needs to succeed in life. Patchwork teaches the students how to work together to overcome conflict, encourages activities of interest, and integrates education into these activities. This will better prepare the students to be skillful, creative and loving adults that can readily cope and adapt to our changing world.
The facility itself IS dirty and rundown. The teachers are really kind people but the free choice approach ends up feeling lazy or like an excuse not to prepare things for the kids to explore. The kids are filthy when you pick them up-- which I understand they play hard and get dirty. Great. Help them clean up when it is time to go. They talked about responsibility as part of the philosophy but that part seems to have fallen off a cliff. Everything is very child driven which I like but would also like to see the school have some basic curriculum. If you don't plan to carry on with their elementary school program which I think most people don't there is no support for the transition to a traditional kindergarten. I think the kids don't get the kindergarten readiness stuff (really basic stuff like letters and numbers). They excel with social emotional support and communication. They are great at that. Older kids in the "elementary" program seem to be running wild, screaming and using inappropriate language. Pick-up time is crazy, the teachers seem dazed, greetings are inconsistent and safety doesn't seem to be on the radar. This place has potential but it needs some TLC.
I am so grateful that we found the Patchwork School. Patchwork is not just a school, it is a community. They care about the well being of the child as well as the family. Patchwork is child centered and each child has a voice. Each child is accepted for who they are, not for what they are expected to become. Patchwork is a place of healing.
I am a teacher and also a parent, and besides my own process, it's been an incredible journey to see my children grow into the wonderful people that they are, supported by amazing teachers and community. My son is enjoying the process of learning letters and writing at his own pace and under no pressure. I will always be grateful for this opportunity for my children and will always wonder my journey might have looked like if I'd had a chance to have a voice in it.
We love my daughter's teachers as people -- they're all very sweet -- but I have to agree with a lot of the criticisms here. Sort of wishing we hadn't enrolled. Bottom line: the school does not provide enough structure to keep the kids safe or successfully encourage appropriate behavior. The instructors' children exhibit the most aggressive and problematic behavior in the school (a red flag), and my child has started coming home with some troubling language and behavior on school days. I also back up the folks who talked about chaos; the place is filthy, my kid is soaking wet from playing with the hose (even in the winter months!), her feet are embedded with wood chips when she comes home from walking around barefoot outside, she might be covered in marker/paint so I can't plan on going anywhere with her after school, etc. This year has also required parents to provide (unprocessed gluten, grain, dairy free) snacks (that kids will eat?!) nine times per year and commit to a cleaning task once a trimester. Tuition is expensive and a lot of us work full-time, so this is an additional burden. I like a lot of the people, but I don't feel that the school is a good fit for us.
I am really disappointed with this school. Its chaotic, the children are often unsupervised, and my son comes home nearly every day with bruises or scratches. He is 5 and they allowed him ( or didn't supervise him) to skateboard without a helmet and he fell and hit his head on a fence. Often times the teachers don't know where the students are. On more than one occasion I had to look around the school for him...usually without his shoes or with muddy dirty clothes. Many of the children seem to have aggression issues, I have witnessed more bullying, name calling, and swearing by young kids in my limited time there, then I did during his entire 2 year preschool experience at another local school. The philosophy may sound appealing, but in practice and application, for the average student, I am not convinced it works. There are many better options in our community. I am assuming this is a school designed for children that didn't connect with other traditional education models. Lovely caring staff is the redeeming factor, just wish they had a stronger/ safer program.
After visiting several daycare/preschool centers when my son was a toddler, I went with Patchwork immediately after visiting, because my gut said so. I felt the most genuine love and affection came from teachers at Patchwork to the small kids and at that age it was most important to me that my son's caretakers be trustworthy and loving before I was concerned about academic anything. After 2 years we did move on for cost, location reasons mainly but I his new school I do see where the lack of structure and direction would potentially be hard as he is older and very bright. Overall I agree with comments about sometimes feeling unsafe and chaotic, but it is a great place for open play learning and some lovely teachers, and a strong community and parent support system.
This school is basically like daycare, but more chaotic. More than once, I went to pick my child up and they didn't know where she was. Half the teachers are good and the other half are terrible. I did NOT feel safe leaving my child here at all. Anyone could come in (if you got through one coded door) and pick up my child without anyone knowing. There is zero structure, which I thought would be good but it was NOT. So many parents had huge issues with this school but none of them have written reviews. Please, choose ANY other school than this, especially within our community, there are so many that are just insanly better than Patchwork.