Kapka is wonderful, small arts enriched school that values community. Families are a big part of the school, teachers are passionate about their work, and in a multiple of ways Kapka strives to reach outside the community (visits to the senior center, making thanksgiving dinner for the mens shelter, etc). Educationally, they provide an amazing child centered learning environment that recognizes individual learning styles.
Our son is in the 4th grade at Kapka this year. We started in kindergarten, afraid of how our son would adapt, given that he never really liked preschool. He loved Kapka immediately, and each year has been better than the previous.
There are so many aspects of the school that we love. Kids are held accountable for their behavior, and are actively helped to learn social problem-solving. Being such a small school and a cooperative, all of the children know each other and know most of the parents. This makes bullying and similar behavior extraordinarily unlikely, as the children see the PERSON in each other.
For only-children, the school provides an opportunity to learn to forgive and forget... kids with sibs get this more automatically. At Kapka, there are so few kids, and so much expectation of everyone interacting at some point, that issues between children must be resolved. My son has learned to appreciate differences between himself and others that initially showed up as social difficulties. In a large school, or one where class groups change year to year, this kind of necessity of resolution is reduced or absent. It is much easier to be anonymous, and to find other people to hang out with rather than address issues.
In general, the community aspect is enormously valuable. I always know somebody is around to take care of my son if something comes up, and he knows it too. To him, Kapka is an extended family.
Kids are free and encouraged to ask questions and investigate answers; while at the same time, respectful behavior is expected... so they learn to be confident, kind and polite at the same time.
I think there is a good mix of structure and freedom. Learning is treated as it should be: an exciting journey. The curriculum is outlined, but changes throughout the year as needs and interests are brought to light. Teachers take advantage of teachable moments regularly.
I wish all children had an opportunity to learn in an environment like Kapka. High expectations of respectful (but not necessarily compliant) behavior, emotional safety, celebration of individual AND group connectedness, relevant academics, joy, wonder...
My child is known and loved at Kapka. The teachers and staff work to create a rich learning environment that meets high academic standards. They couple academics with a focus on social and emotional learning that has helped my active boy blossom into a compassionate and skilled learner ready for his next school.
Our daughter is a KapKa kindergartner and absolutely in love with her school. The class sizes are smaller so she has the opportunity to be a leader among her peers and reap the benefits of plenty of personal attention. When she started school, she was anxious academically and afraid to take chances and make mistakes. In KapKa s nurturing, positive environment she s blossomed and is eager to delve into reading and math, even when she doesn t get the right answers the first time. She has a fall birthday making her older for her grade, but KapKa does a lot of blending of different classes so older and younger students have lots of chances to mix. The school s cooperative structure requires more parent involvement than a conventional approach, but that also gives parents a stronger voice in the school programs and the students get to interact with many other adults in addition to teachers and staff. KapKa puts its students and families first not standardized tests and bureaucracy.
We are in our 4th year at Kapka and couldn't be happier with the school. The teachers at each level have been first class and we've watched our child blossom into a confident, thoughtful learner. Children at Kapka learn through experience. For example, this year the 3rd - 5th grade children staged their own magic show as a fundraiser for several local charities. The show was their major project-based learning opportunity for the year. You may be thinking, "where are the academics in staging a magic show?" This is where the "magic" of KapKa happens. The teachers integrate math, reading and planning skills into the project. For example, the children had a budget to manage, shopping to do, tickets to sell, change to make for the audience members, concessions to plan and price, etc. Lots of math! The magic show is only one example. Last year, the big school project was the design and construction of miniature golf holes. This led to learning in the areas of carpentry, geometry, and physics. If you are not sold on the direction of education in public schools (rote learning, testing, etc.), check out KapKa!
Our daughter is thriving at KapKa School. Things we love: small class sizes, top-notch teachers, rich curriculum that encourages investigation and independent thinking, strong community traditions, public service orientation, ample outdoor time, solid literacy and math teaching. At KapKa, education is focused on the whole child, not just meeting test scores. My daughter is learning how to be in a community, be a friend, talk about emotions and problems. On the first day of school, she was greeted by an older "buddy" who took her hand and showed her around her new school, a small example of how caring for others is modeled and taught. This week the students are working to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for elderly people in the neighborhood; in the spring they will be raising and releasing salmon. Music and art are ample and woven into their daily learning and rhythm of the day. (My child is always singing now.) If you are interested in a small, rich educational environment for your child, I highly encourage you to check out KapKa. Our family is the better for it.
How I feel about Kapka is hard to put into words. My daughter started Kindergarten there only a few short weeks ago and yet we already feel like we are a part of such a strong, supportive and loving community. I love the wonderful balance they seem to have achieved between independent exploration and teamwork, all with a focus on experiential learning. I was so worried that school would just be an exercise in memorizing some obsolete curriculum. Nothing could be further than the truth at Kapka--instead we found a place that honors our daughter's uniqueness and will no doubt instill in her a love of learning that will last a lifetime. In short, if you are looking for a holistic educational experience that your child will not only love, but THRIVE in....look no further! This is the best decision our family could have made and we thank our lucky stars that we found it :)
Both of my children have been to KapKa for their early elementary years. While other schools required us to drop students at the gate or meet a bus, at KapKa we felt truly welcomed at school. We could visit for lunch, talk to teachers, know every child in the class and meet other parents for coffee. This true community provides more than a nice social group - it provides the kind of learning community where my kids felt really safe, important and confident to share who they were rather than fit in with the needs of an institution. I love the depth of KapKa teaching, the inquiry based methods and the expertise of the teachers in crafting a truly differentiated curriculum which meets the needs of different learners. My elder son ended up in a gifted program at a large public school, my younger one is more arty. KapKa has been a lovely fit for both, and a great start for school for the whole family.
KapKa Cooperative lives by its mission to provide an engaging community where teachers, students and parents interact and create the best possible learning environment. Every voice is heard and every child is given careful attention. Just by spending a few hours a week at the cooperative, I get to know the teachers, staff, and other parents & kids well. I get to see what my son learns and how he grows. It's an empowering experience for any child and parent.