The Oakland Way
Our warm, nurturing atmosphere and bucolic farm-like setting create a safe space for children to understand that their brains work a little differently. Through intensive academic instruction and emphasis on character development, we guide students through a journey of self-discovery, unlocking their potential to succeed and develop the confidence to take on even greater challenges after Oakland.
A cornerstone of the Oakland Way since the school’s inception, daily one-on-one sessions with a child’s main teacher not only facilitate up to 1.5 to 2 years of progress in reading each year but also build trust to help students navigate social and emotional challenges as well.
individualized Learning plans
We work hand in hand with parents to understand the individual strengths and weaknesses of each child as well as their learning style, interests, and motivators. The result is a living document that empowers teachers to customize instruction to best meet the needs of each student.
intensive reading instruction
Starting in elementary school, reading sits at the core of most academic instruction. This is why we have made it Oakland’s specialty, dedicating as much as three hours a day to phonics, decoding, word study, comprehension, and oral reading.
We don’t categorize students by grade like traditional schools. Instead, we focus on each child's individual needs and place them with students of similar achievement levels. This eliminates the anxiety related to the feeling that one is 'falling behind' and helps students focus on their unique educational journey.
Small class sizes
Small, flexible instruction groups provide children with a classroom experience in a judgment-free zone. Students are accepting of each others’ differences, often modeling encouraging words and offering praise when learning new materials together.
Our founder, Margaret Shepherd, focused on visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile methods to help teach students with learning differences. More than 60 years later, we continue to use this creative, multisensory approach to stimulate learning.
A new buzzword in education, “grit” is something we have always sought to teach at Oakland. Our Character Counts curriculum and overall approach to learning emphasizes our core values, which include perseverance, resilience, and respect.
All children enjoy free riding lessons as part of their schedule. Caring for the animals, respecting the discipline of the sport, and enjoying the moments of peace on our meandering trails builds character and provides our students a break from academic demands. Many students become expert riders and develop a lifelong love of riding.
Included in tuition, our five-week summer camp is a blend of intensive academics and traditional camp fun. The program sets students on a path for success, with campers gaining up to a year’s worth of reading achievement in a few short weeks.
At Oakland, technology takes a back seat to the great outdoors with experiential learning that includes nature walks, gardening, fireside chats, and outdoor instruction. Movement between buildings every 35 minutes is intentional, allowing students to increase oxygen intake, revitalize blood flow, and prime the brain to store and retrieve information.