Our son, Jackson, spent five years as a student at a private Montessori elementary school in Thousand Oaks. We were fully committed to continuing his middle school Montessori education at the same school. However, when the fledgling program proved not to be Montessorian we were left with few options. We arrived at One Spark Academy (OSA) neither as committed homeschoolers nor as disillusioned participants in the public school system. Rather, we were looking to extend our son’s Montessori education.
At OSA we found a program committed to the values and tenets often associated with a Montessori education. If, as a parent, you are looking for an educational program built upon the guiding principles of transparency, accountability and professionalism then look no further. OSA teachers are not only qualified and credentialed but, most importantly, they are keen and smart, enthusiastic, good and kind. Lori, Laura and Liza care deeply about their students and about the work they do. Adjunct faculty and staff share equally in this commitment. We wish to thank Jerri, Robin and Jon for their gentle guidance and the care they showed our son. At OSA respectful interactions with caring adults are the norm. Similarly, respectful interactions among the young people are encouraged and nurtured. Community-building activities include a daily circle where students and staff check-in with each other as well as healthy communal meals prepared by the students.
The institutional culture is non-authoritarian and founded upon the expectation that all members work toward learning for its intrinsic value. If you wish for an educational experience where the child is respected and placed at the center of the educational endeavour then this is the program you’ve been seeking. If you are looking for a supportive and collaborative community look no further. If you want for your child to work on long-term projects, to work for depth and breadth in a subject of their choosing, then this is the place where such work is encouraged. Learning is experiential and collaborative, free from stifling bureaucratic constraints.
Our son had a wonderful year as a full-time participant in the program. He grew tremendously as an individual. He made new friends and enjoyed many adventures in ecology, science, English and history among others. Lori, Laura and Liza distinguish themselves as teachers. Their passion fueled our son’s academic interests in favourite courses and ignited his interest in several new fields. Our family is forever indebted to these wonderful people for the kindness they showed us. Their loving guidance confirmed that academic inspiration and emotional growth – the nurturance of both head and heart – make for rich pedagogical experiences. This year our son moves on to a preparatory school as he continues his journey toward lifelong learning.
Thank you to Lori, Laura and Liza for a wonderful year!
Jackson’s parents, Nancy-Jean Pément and Mark Baker