Frequently Asked Questions
What is the philosophy of the school?
At Painted Oak, we strive to build community, foster independence, and encourage creativity. We are dedicated to providing innovative, nature-centered, place-based education in small, multiage classes drawing inspiration from the Reggio Emilia approach to develop a lasting appreciation for the natural world.
What curriculum will you be using?
We will utilize a place-based, self-directed learning project approach in the Primary School. What this means is, a large block of time first thing in the morning will be spent working on a project that the children have developed on their own, or with a small group of like-minded classmates, with the teacher's help and mentorship. The teacher will meet with each individual student to assess where (s)he is academically in regard to reading and math basic skills. Together they will discuss in depth what the student's interests are, learning goals, passions, hobbies, etc. to zero in on a topic that the student would like to create a project around. They will develop the project to be detailed enough to require long-range focus and work in order to complete. It will also be designed to incorporate any skills that the student needs to be working on in order to get practice and reinforcement of skills within a real-world context. So, for example, if the student has decided to take on an engineering project in his/her Outdoor Classroom, and may need work on writing, the plan may blend in writing a letter to local businesses asking for donations to support the project. A culminating Learning Expo will be held at the end of each season to celebrate and share student projects with parents and families.
As the day continues, there will be blocks of time dedicated specifically to building fundamental skills, such as reading, writing, and math. Subjects will flip flop from day-to-day day (i.e. math before lunch one day, after lunch the next) so that half-day students get a balanced curriculum. The Daily 5 framework will be utilized to structure Literacy Lab time, and Wild Math as the basis of the math curriculum.
What will the class size be?
Classes will be kept at 10 students with 1 teacher. Each class will be a blend of students ranging from Kindergarten - 2nd grade in our two Lower Primary groups, and 3rd-6th grades in our Upper Primary group. When classes are outside engaging in risky play, the support of a second adult will be called upon. As COVID-restrictions continue to lift, opportunities will be presented to blend the three groups of 10 together during Project Time for greater learning opportunities.
How will you provide learning for students across four grade levels?
This approach to learning works well for multiage classrooms. Due to the fact that time and focus is spent on independent and/or collaborative projects, the wider the age range, the greater the exposure to other ideas, ways of thinking, and work styles. This approach most closely matches a real-world learning and work environment. In regard to teaching fundamental core skills, the experience of our three Primary teachers will be leveraged to ensure that each students' assessed math and reading needs are being met.
What is the attendance requirement?
The Department of Education and the Compulsory Education Law of New Jersey "requires attendance at a public school of a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for children of similar grades and attainments." If a student [in traditional grades 1-6] chooses to attend Painted Oak less than everyday, he or she will be required to register as a homeschooler. In the state of New Jersey, this is a very simple process.
What regulations are followed?
Painted Oak Nature School is registered with the New Jersey Department of Education as a Nonpublic School.
Who should I contact for more information?
Nicole Langdo, M. Ed., Founding Director
Ph: (609) 466-1010
174 Lambertville Hopewell Road
Hopewell, New Jersey 08525