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GreatSchools Rating

Wheels of Life School

Private | PK-5 | 24 students

Democratic model of education

 

Living in Bellingham

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $244,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $900.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 2 ratings
2013:
No new ratings
2012:
Based on 2 ratings
2011:
Based on 3 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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7 reviews of this school


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Posted January 17, 2014

I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Child Mental Health Specialist in Whatcom County. I have seen first-hand the very positive and individualized ways in which WOL meets the educational and emotional needs of their students. The compassionate and collaborative philosophy-in-action of this very special school creates a healthy learning (and feeling) environment, yielding excellent results for a variety of students.


Posted January 13, 2014

My son's school is awesome as they take as individuals into consideration and work with where your kid is at. Democratic, choice oriented but with c structure and allowing kids to be kids which includes the deep desire to learn.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 16, 2012

Our family choose Wheels of Life so our child could have a more self-directed approach in his education. He was bored to death in Public school and asked daily why he had to go. At Wheels of Life he loves that he can give voice to the themes, workshops, classes, and field trip locations. He also loves the Monday Place Based Learning Ed, which is out in the world, real life learning every week. Wheels Of life is a beautiful school. No other place like it in Whatcom or Skagit county. They follow many education philosophies and are member of AERO Schools.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 16, 2012

We were at the Wheels for three years. The free time was great. We loved that kids are helped through researching a topic, writing about it, making an art project or display, and giving a presentation to the other children and their parents. Unfortunately, we discovered once our child began at our new school, that he was writing three years below grade level. This, in spite of our nearly constant contact with Wheels staff about his writing. A couple of months at our new school resolved that problem. At Wheels he was not challenged nearly enough in math, which was very minimally taught. Preschoolers were brought in to fill out the low enrollment numbers with no consultation with the returning families who thought they were at a K-5th. The Democratic Circle" was used to have the children punish other children for health and safety issues that should have been taken care of by the staff and parents, not by 3-10 year old children. Communication was poor, leaving families to miss information, and sometimes entire activities, or pickup site changes. We were very excited about Wheels when we entered, but very disappointed by the time we left.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 8, 2011

My son has only gone to Wheels of life school for one year (soon to be second year) and we already are so pleased with this school! His social skills were very important in the choosing of this school and he has gained more patients, understanding and is gaining that sense of community I had hoped for. Thank you so much ladies :) The creative activities and teaching techniques are amazing, I only wish my son had gone here before second grade :) he loves it, and we are extremely happy with WOL, thank you.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 6, 2011

Wheels of Life has an all-around amazing approach to education. One of the highlights is the democratic philosophy. Children are involved in every aspect of their education, from choosing learning themes, which the teachers build lessons around, to participating in conflict resolution, to planning field trips. This approach encourages students to be engaged in every part of their learning, and above all, it teaches the kids to be responsible, not just obedient. Another high point about the school is the low student to staff ratio. There are around 20 students to three teachers. The multi-age classroom and home-like atmosphere are also benefits. I love that the teachers work with parents towards common goals with a child's learning. When my daughter started at Wheels of Life a year ago, she was at least a year and a half behind grade level in reading and math. By the end of the year, she was up to grade level in both subjects. And the best thing? She loves school. My daughter tells me that the teachers make everything fun. On weekends and school breaks she talks about how much she misses school, especially math "club," which is the Wheels term for math class. :D
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 6, 2011

Our son was done with pre-school but too young for kindegarden. He is very curious and physically intelligent. Wheels block learning approach with multiple age groups gave our son inspiration about what he could learn and opened his eyes to many great people and ideas. He did presentations on the maasai's relationship with there animals, he studied Leonardo da Vinci's art and science, he learned how to run a small business in an invented community, and he used what he learned about Jacques Cousteau to perform a play teaching his classmates about the manfish who used film to bring the mysteries of the ocean to the world. Our son is 5, and thanks to Wheels, he's in love with learning.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Oops! We currently do not have any student information for this school. We rely on the state Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and in some cases school administrators such as registrars and principals for this data.

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Assistant principal(s)
Cooking/Nutrition teacher(s)
Gardening teacher(s)
Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
Foreign languages spoken by school staff None
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • None - the school offers no services
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Staff resources available to students
  • Gardening teacher(s)

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Textile design
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Poetry

Language learning

Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Cooking/Nutrition teacher(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Kitchen

Gifted & talented

Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
School leaders can update this information here.

School basics

School start time
  • 9:00 am
School end time
  • 3:00 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 8:00 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 6:00 p.m.
School Leader's name
  • Jesi van Leeuwen
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Phone
Age at which early childhood or Pre-K program begins
  • 3 years old
Gender
  • Coed
Special schedule
  • Part-time study
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Montessori
  • Multi-aged
  • Reggio Emilia
  • Waldorf
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • None
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • No
Level of special education programming offered
  • None - the school offers no services
Foreign languages taught
  • None
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Assistant principal(s)
  • Cooking/Nutrition teacher(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • None
Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
  • Differentiated learning programs
  • Tutoring
Transportation options
  • Accessible via public transportation
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Internet access
  • Kitchen
  • Library
  • Playground
School leaders can update this information here.

Sports

Boys sports
  • None
Girls sports
  • None

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Textile design
Music
  • None
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Poetry
Media arts
  • None

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • None
School leaders can update this information here.

School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Bullying policy
  • This school does not have a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Present special topics during curricular units
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Volunteer time after school
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

This school accepts applications on a

rolling basis

 
Apply now
 

What are your chances?


4 out of 10students were accepted for the 2013-2014 school year.


Students accepted for the 2013-2014 school year
13
Applications received for the 2013-2014 school year
35

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2013-2014 school year
$2000 - $6000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
Public school
Explorations Academy
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

2738 Orleans Street
Bellingham, WA 98226
Website: Click here
Phone: (360) 393-1652

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