This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Le Jardin Academy5
Posted March 11, 2014
- a parent
Our family moved to Kailua 2 years ago. I toured a number of schools and was very impressed with Le Jardin. I have been a pediatric occupational therapist for many years and have a very strong belief that you learn through "doing''. Memorization of material and worksheets are not the best learning strategy. I am very impressed with Le Jardin'sn method of teaching through active participation. They are asked to create and work with others on a daily basis. This is actually one of the most important life skills for success. If an individual can create on their own and utilize social tools to work with others; they are being taught at a very young age how to be successful in life. I am also very pleased with the parent participation at this school. It is a wonderfully friendly and truly welcoming environment. The staff does a wonderful job of challenging the children and providing a warm and loving atmosphere. I have felt a very strong sense of community at this school as well. Finally, the school offers a wide variety of clubs and activities for any child's interest. From hiking to science olympiad to soccer to 4H; any child can find a place where they belong.
I am a former student of LJA. It's strange to read reviews that give glowing marks to LJA, but feel the need to bash the other schools "over the Pali". Maybe they are so insecure with their little, isolated private school, that it makes them feel better to "know" that they are not wasting over $17,000. I attended LJA from K thru 5th grade and I was lucky enough to be accepted into Punahou and Mid Pac for 6th grade. I chose Punahou and I couldn't be happier. I always received glowing report cards at LJA and assumed that I would be just as strong at other schools, but this is not the case. It has now been almost a full school year and it has taken almost that long to adjust to a different school and a completely different form of teaching. At LJA, they care more about making the parents happy by giving away easy grades. School was a breeze and I never had to do anything. I never learned writing skills or study skills. I actually have to work for my good grades. At LJA, the teachers were never interested in helping me & just gave away grades so we wouldn't bother them. Yes I have to wake up earlier, but it is completely worth it. My friends say that I got out just in time!
I am truly impressed with Le Jardin Academy and the PYP. My daughter began at the school four years ago, then we transferred internationally for two years and were SAVED by the high level of IB readiness into another PYP school, and returned for 3rd grade. As a fourth generation product of Punahou, I had considered it for my daughter, but was actively discouraged by multiple friends with children there now and who teach there. Back to LJA - the content has been spectacular, the whole-child interactive learning is stunning to watch and the communication from the classroom teacher through principal, up to the interim headmaster is clear, constant and encouraging. Watching how carefully the school is looking for a new headmaster, and involving the entire school community, makes me certain they are destined for success similar to the processes that found the three stellar principals. I will not take my daughter from this school "over the Pali" for any reason, what this school offers is a strong, international and challenging curricula and the teachers/administration to support extraordinary learning! So glad to be a parent here.
I attended Le Jardin from 7th grade through 12th and graduated with an IB diploma. Reading some of these reviews is truly disheartening to me, as I loved my experience at LJA. While going through the IB program we all had our struggles with adjusting to a new curriculum, but ultimately it was for the better. Upon entering college, I walked in with 15 credits (a full semester) which was far more than the average AP student I talked to. For me, a good school experience is not just academics, and LJA is a community of students and faculty who love life and support each other through extra curricular activities, sports, and generally is a close knit community. This is something I wouldn't trade for a seemingly "better" academic education at a public or private school that doesn't have the same warm community as LJA. In HS years, school is what you make it - and if you chose to work hard the students and teachers will support you, especially Mr. Webb, Ms. Burvall, Dr. P and Ms. Yoshida! If it is within your budget, LJA is a great small learning community for any kind of learner and IB does nothing but help.
I attended LJA from JK all the way until 8th grade, just before the IB program was instituted. I'm glad to say that I got out at the right time. JK through 5th grade was actually very good. However, in middle school things started to change. LJA was transitioning from a conventional school to an IB school. The transition was anything but smooth. The entire format was flawed. The teachers were not well trained on how to teach at an IB school and the students suffered because of this. By the time my 8th grade year rolled around, I knew I had to get out. I spent my 4 years of high school at Punahou. I know I haven't made very many big decisions in my life, but this was without a doubt the best. My friends that are still at LJA say it's the worst thing that's happened to them. The school is now filled with druggies and alcoholics. I'm very lucky to have escaped from this harmful environment. Le Jardin is not worth the $17,000 a year. Parents, tuition can be very expensive. Why spend it on a school that doesn't know what they are?
The education is no different from a public school, they offer little to no creativity for children. many teachers are flat out grouchy and the staff (teaching and head master included) have no problem gossiping to parents about other parents. Unless you are a parent that wants to drop your child off and never look into what happens when you do, this is a terrible school.
We have two sons who have attended LJA since kindergarten and are now in grades 6 and 10. The IB program is challenging both for the kids and for the school in terms of implementation. My boys can memorize and take tests just fine, but when it comes to reflecting and communicating what they have learned they struggle and need the kind of program that develops these important abilities.. This is exactly why LJA and the IB program works for us. And I disagree with the parent who suggested that the IB program does not help in terms of getting into college. Based on my discussions with people in education who are not connected with LJA, it is very well regarded in college admissions. And more importantly I believe that IB kids are well prepared for college. I have not rated the principal leadership since LJA has a new interim headmaster and it's too early for me to give a meaningful assessment, though so far it looks positive.
When out with my son at a childrens museum in Honolulu, I ran into Le Jardin students who were on a field trip. Although the students were well behaved, I felt the staff (who were identified by badges) rude and some what snobby. They acted as if they owed the museum and no other children should be near or playing around their students. I have never encountered this with any other school! Ironically, my husband and I had considered this school for our son who will be in kindergarten next year, but I have to say after their demeanor and attitude this is not a school I would want to associate with-Too elitist for my family.
Our kids went all the way through LJA and I would say from pre-K to six grade was excellent. It was from 7th grade on that I gave the school the low grading. The headmaster was horrible but had the support of the board so nothing got done. The IB system was too complicated for this school to take on and subsequently there was poor execution. Ultimately, I don't believe the IB system helped any of our kids get into college. If I had it to do over I would send the kids through elementary and then somewhere else after that. Aloha
I have two children that have attended Le Jardin over the past 4 years and can't say enough good things about this school. The teachers are not only talented, but show a warmth and understanding of the developmental needs of each individual child. The school also pays close attention to the moral development of my children and I never worry about "the lesson behind the lesson" as everything being taught promotes being a kind, considerate, civic minded. I am happy about the new IB program and can see that it is bringing new academic rigor to the school, I am hopeful that it won't also bring the mean spirited, competitive environment that plagues other private schools on O`ahu.