The words that immediately jump to mind when thinking about our daughter’s experience at OAAK are supportive and responsive, and this school demonstrates those qualities each and every day, in each and every possible way.
Our family joined OAAK this fall after relocating from the US. Even back home, we heard glowing reviews about the program, and even before our move–via email!– we found the staff to be remarkably supportive and caring. Responses to my series of inquiries were always prompt and informative, and, beyond that, they also always included a sympathetic comment regarding the challenges of moving or settling in.
OAAK’s supportive nature extends well beyond words, though. The school was remarkably sensitive to the needs and feelings of my three-year-old, who was transitioning not only to a new school, but also to a new country; upon entering the school for the first time, we were offered a guided tour of the facility, and, when we entered the classroom, Ms. Berri crouched down and spoke with my daughter at her level. She was at home at once. The next day, Ms. Berri and Ms. Jenn’s email recapping her first day on her own–enhanced with pictures of my smiling child–demonstrated their ability to quickly discern what makes her “tick” and–full disclosure–completely eased my confident-that-we’d-made-the-right-choice-yet-somehow-still-slightly-worried mind.
In addition, we found the school supportive in the flexibility it so consistently displays. We have encountered this quality frequently, in instances ranging from a long-term and unexpected change in schedule to sporadic early or alternate-driver pick-up requests. It’s reassuring to know that in this often hassled and harried day and age, the response you’re most likely to hear out of the smiling mouth of anyone on staff is, “Sure! We can do that!”
The support that the school so consistently demonstrates flows naturally into a classroom environment that is authentically and organically responsive. The teachers respond genuinely to the interests of the children and permit their innate curiosity to guide the curriculum. Student-driven is not, by any means, synonymous with “fluffy” or lacking rigor at OAAK, though. Children examine, explore, question, assess, and create at a remarkably high level, while the traditional hallmarks of pre-school education–letter and number identification, etc.–are expertly and artfully woven in by the teachers. In addition, Dance and Music classes challenge the children physically and mentally and complement the curriculum masterfully.
In the past six months, our family has experienced quite a few significant and radical changes. One of the few consistencies has been our absolute confidence in the fact that we made the right choice in sending our daughter to OAAK, and the program (and everyone who is a part of it!) is something for which we are thankful every day.