This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Patchwork School5
Posted February 04, 2015
- a parent
We love Patchwork! The teachers are caring, patient and really want to know my kids. The students learn how to handle "real life" situations through critical thinking of the whole group. Rules are explained logically, never just because an adult said so. My son has wonderful interpersonal and emotional skills thanks to Patchwork, and these are areas usually ignored by traditional schools.
I am grateful to have found Patchwork School. I appreciate how they create a learning environment that is conducive to stages in our children's brain development. The sense of community and the support in parenting is excellent. My child enjoys each day they go to Patchwork and has an enriching experience with a lot of joy to report back to us. The only thing that is tough is that they require us to provide 9 snacks a year as well as contribute time to clean. This can be tough on any busy family, and to an extent, feels unreasonable considering the cost to attend.
Patchwork is amazing. You simply will never find a group of teachers more dedicated, interested and in tune with your child. We have been elsewhere and toured dozens of schools and we never experienced the quality that we do at Patchwork.
Dropping your kid off at Patchwork feels like dropping them at a long-time friend's house. There's a strong sense of community, the kids love it, and the teachers love the kids like family. It may not be for everyone though - if you don't want your kid coming home dirty and tired, think about a more traditional school.
This school's philosophy seems to encourage children to regulate their own behavior to a far greater degree than a typical school. There are many positive aspects to this philosophy, in terms of development of human potential and spirit. As a school... I'm not sure it's really a school. It seems to breed socially inappropriate behavior. It has no evident curriculum that would prepare students for educational settings other than Patchwork. It's, quite frankly, a mess. It's not clear that critical issues that threaten the school would be addressed. The earnest commitment to the ideal of democratic education is laudable, but its practical application leads to a Lord of the Flies atmosphere for children. The school's ideology may be at odds with its viability. It certainly does have excellent human assets and heart. With changes, it might be equipped to become the full-service school it aims to be.
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.