Oak and Orca programs inspire learners of all ages to meet their potential. Through wholistic learning experiences, learning is a joy whether at home or on site. Inquiry is key - kids do it naturally - supporting adults just need to follow their lead, gently guide and lend a hand along the way. We can help you do this. We have resources to support Inquiry Learning and inspire the natural learning processes that were in play when your child was learning to speak or to walk.
We provide guidance from a distance for home-learners and in the classroom for our on-site students. No two people learn the same, so why ask them to? Through independent learning experiences, projects, targeted skills practice and hands-on activities, each child can learn at their own pace and in their own way.
~ Empowering children to build more fulfilling and ecologically sustainable communities. ~
"The crisis cannot be solved with the same kind of education that helped create the problems."
At Oak and Orca's first graduation ceremony in 2004, Principal and Founder Kara Woodcock presented Founder Jim Prentice with an Honourary Diploma for his contributions to the school and its community.
In 1999, Jim had retired from a life in higher education as a physics professor, and was looking for a new challenge. He helped found Oak and Orca School that year, and, as a volunteer mentor, Jim inspired children and adults alike to learn together about both teaching and learning. He had a vision to trust the children and to steadily support them as they learned and grew. People transitioned into and out of the school community, but Jim was a constant for Oak and Orca's early years, cycling up the hill to the school every day and asking, "What shall we learn today?" And through his most patient and gentle guidance, children did learn; and so did Jim.
Learning is messy. Natural learning doesn't follow neat routines or organized methods, natural learning takes it's own path with bends, switchbacks and forks. Sometimes the only route is up. But with a bit of guidance, natural learning will take you all the way to where you want to go, or maybe to where you least expect it!
The Oak and Orca home-learning program offers ungraded elementary and an inquiry-based high school program. Oak and Orca's flexible home-learning program honours a variety of home learning approaches with child-centered learning as a core value. Keeping the child's needs at the centre, the teacher and the parent work to provide opportunities and experiences allowing each child to make age-appropriate/family appropriate decisions and choices to make learning personally relevant. Our role is to support each family, based on an awareness that each child has a unique learning path as well as the expectation that each family will develop a unique home-learning experience. At the high school level, students will take a fully active role in their education. Course work is designed based on planning experiences and inquiry projects. With a mentor, each student plans learning experiences to meet their own objectives and learning goals. They plan projects based on interests and join in with community experiences where appropriate. Where ministry learning learning standards are not met by interest-based experiences, the mentor helps provide assignments to complete courses and meet learning goals. If part-time home-learning is your desire, we have several blended programs in Victoria, ranging from part-time attendance at Oak and Orca School and a blended Forest School program.
Blended learning is any opportunity where home-learning is paired with a group or classroom experience. We offer several blended options for children wanting to meet together for learning opportunities as part of their home-learning experience. Many students choose to attend Oak and Orca School one or two days per week and pursue home-learning experiences the rest of the week. A few students attend four days, and home-learn the fifth day. New this year, our Forest School program offers two days a week in the forest at Mound Douglas Park (at the foot of Pkols) and three days home-learning.
On-site options at Oak and Orca range from pre-preprimary through grade 12. The school uses child-centred learning and bioregional education to encourage students to be strong, confident, self-directed learners with an interest in sustainable communities. Our mission is to empower children to create fundamental social change towards more fulfilling and ecologically sustainable communities. Students aged 3 through 19 learn together in multi-age groups within a small school atmosphere.