April 19, 2012

Rancho Encinitas Academy: A Parent’s Perspective

Posted in REA News tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:32 pm by ranchoencinitasacademy

Rancho Encinitas Academy serves students from Kindergarten through 8th grade, with the mission to nurture a child’s natural wonder and joy of learning facilitated by a positive, relaxed atmosphere combined with the guidance of highly skilled, caring and creative teachers.

Truly living up to this promise, REA has been not only helping children learn and grow, but also transforming once classroom-averse youngsters into successful, high-achieving students. Looking at the school through a parent’s eyes, it is clear that the personal development and growth achieved at REA it something to be proud of.

Emily Kuo has had a long standing relationship with REA, having sent her three children Henry, Amy, and Jeffrey, to the school. Her decision to choose REA for her children’s education began with her youngest, Henry, who was having a difficult time with school before transferring to REA. In comparing Rancho Encinitas Academy with other schools Kuo noted “I only had two years of public elementary school experience before enrolling my kids at REA.  In those two years, I found that the school teachers were generally very nice but unable to meet or recognize my son’s special needs in order to reach his potential because he was getting by.”

With each of Kuo’s children having various degrees of learning disabilities, Rancho Encinitas Academy provided the most nurturing and positive environment possible. “I was impressed with REA’s teachers,” said Kuo. “They were able to recognize not only my children’s academic and social challenges but also their strengths. I believe the teachers brought out the best in my children and laid the groundwork for their love of learning.”

The progress made by the Kuo children throughout their time at REA is remarkable. Now years later,  all of them are well on their way to successful adulthood. Henry is a Senior at Santa Clara University majoring in Art with a Minor in Mechanical Engineering;  Amy is a Junior at UC Berkeley majoring in Computer Science, and Jeffrey is a high school senior going to college this fall.

Stories like that of the Kuo family are inspiring and motivational for parents of current students at Rancho Encinitas Academy. Belinda Solowiej has been an REA parent for a mere seven months, and has already seen an abundance of positive changes in her daughter Katie. Currently in the second grade, Katie Solowiej did not have the most positive experience with school before coming to REA. “Although she liked school, she did not like the noise level and busyness of her surroundings,” said Solowiej. However, after coming to REA Katie’s favorite aspect of school is, “Everything!” said Solowiej. “She likes the calmness of the school. She loves the computer learning programs, and the diversity of the class curriculum, which includes Spanish, music, art, PE, and yoga. She loves the many field trips the class takes… She enjoys the friendships she has made with her classmates, and all the fun the classroom has.”

Both Kuo and Solowiej agree that Rancho Encinitas Academy’s safe and friendly learning environment truly sets the school apart from other educational institutions. “The campus itself is very calming,” said Solowiej. “The rabbits and bird sanctuary provide a peaceful setting to learn. [And] The staff is very nurturing and welcoming.”

When asked to summarize her daughter’s experience with Rancho Encinitas Academy, Solowiej remarked, “Our overall experience has been extremely positive. Katie has shown great improvement academically. Her handwriting and spelling have greatly improved this year. Her reading abilities have advanced, as well as her understanding of math. She sings Spanish songs at home, and has a heightened interest in the sciences. The overarching calmness of the environment and the personalized attention has made all the difference in her educational experience.”

While Rancho Encinitas Academy educates a wide variety of students, one theme is consistent with parents and students alike: Rancho Encinitas Academy provides a nurturing environment that fosters the joy of learning for students. Paul Wulle, Rancho Encinitas Academy Director, notes the key aspects that contribute to the school’s unique ability to nurture a child’s natural wonder to learn:

  • The campus, with its architecture, landscaping, and proximity to the ocean is conducive to a safe, relaxing and tranquil learning experience
  • We offer physical activities, such as yoga, that relax and ‘stretch’ the mind
  • Our campus was designed to reduce stress and anxiety so that a child’s focus may be on learning
  • The campus covers two acres of landscaped grounds – including aviaries and bunny cages
  • We strive to provide a child-centered education that emphasizes the process of learning
  • Learning takes place in a multi-modal setting, using the visual and auditory modalities accompanied by the kinesthetic modality which involves hands-on learning
  • The learning environment has a maximum student-teacher ratio of 10:1 with each classroom having a full time teacher aide
  • Our classrooms are supplied with state-of-the-art technology, such as laptops and interactive whiteboards, that encourage students to be engaged and interested
  • To encourage responsibility and being proud of a job well done, students take part in jobs around campus on a daily basis
  • Specialists in the area of art, science, math, and physical education meet with the students weekly to share experiences and hands-on learning opportunities
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