I have two children at the Country School. My son will be graduating from 5th grade this year. There is no question that the Country School was the right place for him given his inclination and interests. He is not always the easiest kid to motivate, especially if he is engrossed in his own plans. The teachers at the school worked very hard to get him to a place where he would feel more comfortable getting what he needed done, done. I don't think he would have done nearly as well at the other schools in town, and that is saying a lot given the great options we have available here in Waimea. Academically, we see no issue at the moment with him moving on to a school of his choice in town. But we also see that in his growth with the school he has begun to get a sense that he is a contributing member of a community, not only an individual with only his own goals and desires to fulfill.
The school works very hard to make sure that the students treat each other with respect and instill in them a sense of what is naturally fair and "right", or "pono". You can get a feeling for this by attending the weekly 'ohana meetings where the entire school gathers to discuss coming events and where classes take turns making presentations. Often these presentations discuss broad moral concepts, always in a way that is respectful of the wide range of cultural make-up of the school body.
There is no single characteristic that makes WCS stand out; rather, it's the total package that makes it such a special place. The small class size ensures that all students get individual attention tailored to their academic and social progress; the multiage classes and ample opportunities for the entire student body to interact with each other creates a cohesive environment throughout the school. Academics are strong -- in particular, we are consistently surprised at our child's high reading level after grade 1 -- but there is also plenty of emphasis on non-academic areas, which creates a balanced learning environment. The small school size ensures that there is none of the bullying/major social problems that seem to crop up at many schools.
To the best of our knowledge, the school is very well-run, with decision-making processes being very transparent. The current head of school is tireless and constantly searching for (and finding!) new ways to build on the already strong fundamentals the school has. The teachers are amazing as well -- they are all very intuitive when it comes to handling their classes, and really respect the students as individual human beings rather than the traditional "top-down" approach.
WCS probably doesn't have as strong academics or access to as wide a base of resources as the other major private schools in Waimea, but I think that in a way, that's a good thing: the school atmosphere remains "organic", for lack of a better word, and students are allowed to be kids while also learning the skills they will need to succeed later in their academic career.
We are moving off-island and thus our child won't be able to continue at WCS, but we would absolutely keep her at WCS through the fifth grade if we were staying. Overall, we would highly recommend the school for anyone in the Waimea area.
I am very happy and comfortable having my grandchild in WCS. At his previous school he would come home bruised and when asked what happened, the teachers had no idea. that school was crowded and understaffed as many are. WCS gives individual attention, supervision, and education to each child, even the quiet ones. I was told that the reason they are NR (not rated) is that they do not do standardized testing. the tests are a great way for schools to compare to other schools, but do little to prepare children for the real world. I highly recommend Waimea Country School.
Waimea Country School is a small school with great values. It has a strong academic background and also greatly emphasizes the personal development of the students. The teaching team is dedicated and experienced; they are extremely welcoming to the parents and family, who can join the school activities in many various situations. The teachers act as "partners in education" with the parents. When our daughter joined the school in third grade, she did not speak a word of English and yet, she received a warm welcome and a lot of support from other students and from the school team -meaning an additional workload for some of them over a long period of time. This is an example of how seriously the school staff in WCS applies the principles of individual education, trying to teach each student at his/her level and respond to their needs in an appropriate, personal manner. The small size of the school allows a great level of interactions - between kids, school staff and families- and the school spirit is extremely friendly under the warm impulse of the school head. We really enjoy WCS and recommend this school to all families!
My daughter has excelled at Waimea Country School since arriving as a grade 3 student. The family atmosphere and high academic standards without the high pressure testing system has been a refreshing change from our previous Texas school. I am so happy we were told about this school when we first arrived.
My 4 children attended Waimea Country School while we lived in Hawaii. We have since returned to the mainland, but still miss our WCS school ohana. I highly recommend this school to anyone looking for a caring, nurturing learning environment for their keiki.
I have yet to find a better educational environment for my child. My son has had not only great academic success at Waimea Country School, he has grown in confidence and is secure in who he is. The staff is so wonderful, they know the children individually and strive to meet both their academic and emotional needs. The other parents and students are also involved and connected. I can't say enough good things.
Waimea Country School is a great school. It feels like an ohana and everyone looks after each other. It is a school your child can go to and learn about many different things with many different styles of learning. If you are looking for a small student to teacher ratio, caring staff who truly love your children and at an inexpensive cost, this school is for you. I've sent all three of my children here and trust the staff and enjoyed coming in to volunteer on my free time.
Our children entered Waimea Country School two years ago. My eldest had previously tried public school and homeschooling, but this has by far been his most successful experience. They have both come home knowing how to better control themselves, knowing how to respect others and be more responsible. Our childrens strengths are recognized on a daily basis and the challenges are nurtured. I have complete access to the teachers any time and have always felt a part of a team dedicated to the betterment of our children. Thank you WCS. You are the best and we feel totally blessed to have found you.