Rock climbing in National Forests. Building skateboards in the woodshop.
Nuzzling a pony. Paddling a kayak. Programming a robot for competition.
At Ojai Valley School, you can try them all. We believe that educating the whole child means offering students a diverse array of co-curriculars to enrich and expand upon a rigorous academic program. Outdoor Education, Equestrian, Woodshop, Robotics, The Arts — these signature OVS experiences give students the opportunity try new things and discover new passions, no matter what your skill level.
Our ever-expanding Outdoor Education Program gives all students a chance to explore and appreciate the nature, from morning hikes to 9-day, 100-mile backpacking trips. We start small and build our way up; elementary students camp with teachers close to campus, and middle and high school students venture further from home, choosing from weekend trips that go out at least once every month. We mountaineer, river raft, fly fish, snorkel and snowboard our way through some of The West’s most incredible places, teaching students the importance of things like perseverance, teamwork, and sustainability.
Horseback riding in our Equestrian Program takes place not only in our two beautiful equestrian facilities, but also on the trails and beyond. Students in prekindergarten through 3rd grade spend time in the barn each week throughout the school year, and students from 4th through 12th grades can choose to ride as their sport. OVS is much more than a riding facility; our equestrians get to participate in horse camping, dressage clinics, competitions, and Spring Break trips to locations like Ireland, Portugal, and Montana. And these students don’t just ride; they learn what it takes to truly care for and bond with these special animals.
In the woodshop, the lessons students learn go far beyond how to use a vice and pull saw. Patience, precision, and pride of workmanship are tools students carry with them long after they leave the Lower Campus. But there are plenty of woodshop lessons that are useful inside the classroom, too; abstract mathematics principles can suddenly come alive when you’re making a treasure chest with a 7-piece lid.
Even our youngest students get time in the woodshop each week. The fine motor skills they develop as 3-year-olds with sanding blocks are the basis for much bigger, more complex project — like sets for the spring musical. The founder of Ojai Valley School, Ned Yeomans, so believed in the power of woodshop that it was one of the first buildings constructed on our Lower Campus.
The foundations of our Robotics Program begin in the Lower Campus Makerspace and continue on to
our High School. Elementary students learn the basics of coding and build upon those skills as they learn to design computer games, program drones and construct robots. Middle and high schoolers can join robotics teams, which compete as part of the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competitions. Students learn programming and engineering skills alongside computer science, physics and mathematics teachers, who help them cultivate strategies and develop teamwork.
In the spring of 2021, we will open an all-new Makerspace at our Upper Campus, which will replace our current Robotics/Flight Club lab. The new space is one of the many new buildings now under construction at our Upper Campus, which include new girls’ dorms, dining hall, science labs, library, digital and media arts lab, as well as indoor and outdoor meeting spaces.
And all of this complements, of course, our challenging Academic Program. Here, small class sizes are the norm, and creative collaboration, hands-on projects and in-depth discussions help develop well-rounded adults who are lifelong learners. By the time Ojai Valley School students are ready to graduate they will have developed the academic strength, the character, and the self-confidence to meet life’s future challenges in an ever-changing world.