The school's motto, "Where the love of learning grows" speaks volumes to me. OCS fosters the natural inquisitiveness every child has by personalizing their education and introducing them to new things in the community. In addition, teachers recognize that students also bring many experiences with them so students are expected to share their knowledge with their peers through workshops and presentations. The education at OCS is what every parent wants for their child!
Our two kids attend OCS and love it! The teachers are amazing and it is a really nice balance of structured academics, while teaching kids at their own pace and as individuals. We love that they aren't limited by the state testing curriculum. The kids get to help choose their theme and it is carried throughout the curriculum. Very strong reading, math, science, language arts and social studies learning. Wonderful emphasis on non-violent communication, empathy, problem solving, critical thinking, social responsibility and community.
OCS provides a great sense of community and offers a child-centered and progressive model of education that really meets the needs of each student. Our teachers are great and the small, multi-grade classes allow for each child to thrive.
2 children at OCS, over 8+ years. K-2 for the first (now in middle school) and the second will go for full K-3. Highly recommended. First child had no trouble moving into public school (way ahead of peers in public school). Parent run, so parents must participate and, therefore, are somewhat responsible for the educational outcome. Generally a motivated peer group of students. Excellent teachers. Very good collaboration between older and younger students and teachers choose wisely as to when to teach classes separately, by age. Nearly 100% funded by tuition, which sometimes poses a challenge (parent Board must spend and save responsibly). Excellent mix of academic, artistic and social activities. After 33 years, parents in Olympia can easily consider OCS to be an important educational asset.
We chose this school because our son was very emotional and shy. At OCS he really learned to come out of his shell. Similar to un-schooling in the positive aspect that what they study is very student-led, but also in the negative aspect that in the reading it seems as though they are sort of left on their own with little instruction in phonics, spelling or grammar. Their math and science though is very good, being very hands-on. Fantastic field trips, parent involvement, and sense of community. However, communication can be vague and frustrating because no one, parents or teachers, wants to say anything negative. We were unaware our child was having such difficulties in reading until shortly before they told us he shouldn't come back the next year because of it. Then they were unwilling to put that statement in writing but wouldn't tell us why.
Our two children both attended OCS, between 2000 and 2006. The academic program is terrific with a high degree of parent involvement. Some parents who only see it as a good full time Kindergarten option, but many others who recognize it for the exceptional K-3 school it is. Highly recommended.