The Primary Division, comprising pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, provides a warm, stimulating, and secure environment for our youngest learners. Teachers are able to meet students’ individual learning styles and in small classes that include group and individual instruction. Each class seeks to have a unique atmosphere with a dynamic, age-appropriate balance of cognitive, perceptual, social, and creative learning.
In both grades, Ojai Valley School seeks to instill personal integrity, self-respect, cooperation with others, and good sportsmanship. Supplemental courses include music, art, Spanish, Chinese, physical education, barnyard and outdoor activities.
In Pre-Kindergarten, children ages 3-5 become accustomed to the school experience and progress at their own rate in developing practical skills, small-muscle control, beginning phonics, and number concepts. Learning is fun with a wide variety of hands-on activities and games. Our youngest students, called Tator Tots, begin at age 3 and typically spend two years in Pre-K before matriculating to Kindergarten. Students at this beginning level can enroll for three or five days a week. After-school care, snacks, and hot lunches are provided to all primary students.
In Kindergarten, learning is individualized to allow for the wide range of developmental levels one typically finds at this age. Many hands-on activities are used to help children develop a full range of skills; physical, social, creative and academic. Phonics, beginning reading and writing, number concepts and basic mathematical concepts are introduced as children display readiness.
There is a strong emphasis on cooperation in a group environment, and preparing students for their future learning experiences. Special events and activities, such as field and hiking trips, performances, and the traditional High Tea in the spring to celebrate the manners and etiquette our students have learned, round out this unique school experience.
The Elementary Division, composed of grades 1-5, is the level at which students solidify their basic academic skills, begin to develop high-order thinking skills, broaden their knowledge, and strengthen their values, sense of responsibility and leadership ability.
In keeping with the Ojai Valley School philosophy, the Elementary Division programs integrate academic, social, and cultural values. The focus of the curriculum is on developing not only academic skills, but also responsibility, good citizenship and respect for oneself and others. There is an emphasis on promoting students’ understanding of the value of family community, and cultural sensitivity.
The academic structure is strong but flexible, sequential but responsive, and emphasizes the fundamentals of mathematics, reading, language arts, science and social studies. There are classes in beginning Spanish and Chinese, library skills, art, music and computer literacy each week. The program is complemented by physical education, outdoor education, optional horseback riding, and performing arts.
Our dedicated faculty members use materials and techniques designed for discovery and cooperative learning, as well as traditional classroom activities. Relatively small class size allows teachers to give a good deal of individual attention to each student.
The English as a Second Language program specializes in developing fluency in English. ESL students are mainstreamed into the regular classrooms gradually as they develop the necessary readiness and confidence.