OSS is the perfect environment for children to thrive and learn in a relaxed, homelike setting. The teachers are very talented and have a passion for the children. The focus is on the whole being; head, heart and hands. Anyone that toured this school would find happy and compassionate children with a love of learning. Handwork, movement and art are embraced as well as academics to create a holistic learning experience.
We currently have a hot lunch program that brings local, organic, home cooked meals to students two or three times a week. Our chef is a parent at the school who has a wonderful rapport with the children. She keeps their health, as well as their favorite foods, in mind when planning the menu. It's one of the many special touches that sets OSS apart from the mainstream.
As a childrens mental health professional with over 16 years experience I believe that this form of education is the best educational setting for the WHOLE child's development, and the teachers are above par. The emphasis on arts is based in the knowledge that playing an instrument, knitting/crocheting, being bi/tri-lingual, and perspective drawing creates and builds neural pathways in the brain--the kids are increasing brain capacity while participating in these classes. The school has made a conscious effort to improve science and math curriculum in recent years and have gone from acceptable to outstanding. Two recent 8th grade graduates are in 9th grade at International Academy and are keeping up very well. Their reading curriculum begins in 1st grade (not kindergarten) but is rigorous and thorough. Comprehension is emphasized. Oakland Steiner provides free remedial service if you think your child is not reading well enough. Both of my children are great readers, (one needed help and one did not) and more importantly, ask to be taken to the library to get something to read. Lastly, I know my children's classmate's parents--this is a community with an air of respect.
If you are looking for a school where children can thrive and actually learn, through experiences - this is the place. We have been a part of the school for 5 years and have enjoyed it tremendously, both of our children as well as us, the parents. The school encompasses a warm and nurturing environment with a remarkable curriculum. In addition to the regular academics, all children learn 2 languages, handwork, an instrument, gardening, physical education, arts, and woodworking. The teachers are dedicated and teach the children in a way that creates an eagerness to learn for the rest of their lives -- and it s a deeper learning, not just memorizing for tests. The parent community is talented, resourceful, and welcoming. This is a very pleasant school where children can learn, grow and prepare for their lifetime.
Both of my children are in the Children's Center at Oakland Steiner, and it has been a great experience for our family. They thrive in the home-like atmosphere of the classroom, and we are thrilled that the teachers are thoughfully preparing each aspect of each day to incorporate developmental tools to help our children prepare to enter first grade. The teachers at this school are extremely knowledgeable about the phases of child development and about what educational topics children are developmentally ready to learn at what ages. In the grades, they foster an excitement for learning in children. They educate not only for intellect, but also educate the hands (through painting and handcrafts, for example), and heart. If you ever get a chance to meet an 8th-grader from this school, you'll be thoroughly impressed!
OSS is one of three Waldorf schools in SE Michigan. We have enjoyed the kindred spirit of other families with common interests. Each year is punctuated with ceremonies, plays and activities. The garden is unbelievable. Every student is taught two foreign languages, liberal doses of music, art and science. I found www.whywaldorfworks.org to be a useful site to learn more about Waldorf. We feel very fortunate to have this school near us.
My 2nd grader at Oakland Steiner School loves to learn. She loves reading and reads to her younger (kindergarten age) brother before we leave for school in the morning. She feels nurtured by all her teachers which include French, German, Handwork, Games and Gym teachers. She loves her 2nd grade Main Lesson teacher who will accompany her throughout all 8 grades at OSS. She gets a lot of outdoor play during her school day and sleds every day during recess. The school fosters interaction within all the grades so she has friends from 1st to 8th grade. My kindergartener starts his day with a morning walk in all types of weather. He gets a healthy snack every day and enjoys puppet plays and learning rhymes and songs that are building his pre-literacy skills. He enjoys the loving attention of two skilled teachers (lead and assistant teacher.)
Our daughter has been here since age 3. We are happy and impressed with the quality of education, even beginning with the pre-school atmosphere. The curriculum and activities are carefully chosen according to the developmental stage of each age of the child and the child's individual personality. Our daughter has, at the age of 6, already blossomed into an articulate, fun, creative and compassionate child. We attribute her growth in a large part, to the wonderful teachers and staff that she has been involved with since she began there. We are looking forward to the next 8 years at this school, and our daughters continuing education, of not only academics, but of the important development of her heart, hands, and soul.