What the company does?
The Oak School is a child-centric approach to education. The school utilizes exploratory, spending ample time outdoors, which is proven to better facilitate learning and cultivate feelings of peace and happiness. Its teachers are models of empathy and compassion that tailor curriculum to each individual child, creating an environment that’s rooted in care and respect.
The current landscape
The current school system is failing children. While this issue can seem insurmountable, there are actionable, proven steps to take that can incite steady, long-term change. The Oak School is an example of this.
Our society is in dire need of a dramatic shift in education to bring the focus back to the whole child. Children learn what they experience – and act on what they learn – so a shift in how children are taught can positively and directly impact everyone’s future.
This looks like smaller classroom sizes, learning through nature-based play, encouraging creativity, exploratory learning or hiring educators with an in-depth understanding of child development. This means giving teachers autonomy to teach and lead with care (not teaching to test), giving children a voice in choosing what they want to learn, finding ways to involve parents more often and nurturing the teacher-child relationship.
All these changes enforce the same core message: We need to consider the whole picture when it comes to education – the whole child, the whole teacher, the whole school, the whole community. Each part is undeniably interrelated. An investment in the whole child will result in more reliable, creative and emotionally intelligent adults. Children do not have the luxury in making the choice to change, but we do.
Company birth story
In 2013, The Oak School’s founder, Tricia Martin-Owen was spending her time building a career in urban planning while learning all she could about parenting after work – she would soon give birth to her first child.
As she carved a varied background filled with experiences in design, healthcare, education and social justice, Martin-Owen also pursued passion projects studying meditation and holistic health modalities. As her work and life experiences began to converge, she turned her focus toward the intersection of children, connection, education and holistic living. As a result, she authored a book on The Whole Environment Educational Philosophy, but Martin-Owen’s work was just getting started.
In 2021, she decided to take the foundational aspects of her book a step further and open The Oak School. Today, the school teaches preschool and grade school levels, including children with additional needs, such as dyslexia and ADHD – all in a nature-based, holistic environment.
The Oak School’s holistic approach to early childhood education helps children develop self-awareness, listening skills, mindfulness and other components of emotional intelligence. By encouraging kids to express their creativity, their individual uniqueness (and have an adult be able to mirror that uniqueness), and find wonder in the world around them, children’s self-worth is nourished and protected. This involves weaving social-emotional tools and real connection into the daily fabric of the school day.
The school’s nature-based play helps teach children from the lenses of science (what happens when I do this?), systems thinking (how can I make this work? And, how does it affect other things?) and math (how many seeds do you need to grow a carrot?) – all while moving freely outside.
The team culture
Designed to provide a strong sense of community and connection, The Oak School’s team is filled with talented, kind educators. Each teacher has a master’s degree and is empowered to guide their classrooms in a way that allows them to connect with their students as individuals and lead with care. In fact, additional programs and classes are regularly added to meet the needs of the school’s children and families, creating an environment where everyone has a voice that is listened to and valued.
A founder quote
“Here at The Oak School, we give children the time and permission to first learn about themselves – to grow their own strong roots – so they can go into the world, confident and solid in themselves, to do amazing things.”
- Tricia Martin-Owen, founder and Head of School at The Oak School
Check It Out: https://theoakschool.org/whoweare
Follow On Social: