Hear it from our families

“Growing resilience”

Seven Oaks School has always been a positive learning environment for our child. Its teaching philosophy of focusing on the learner as a “whole”, and not just their academic ability, ensures that children develop a range of skills they can draw upon in the future.

Small class sizes and play-based activities have had a significant impact on our child’s learning. We have noticed a growing resilience and increased ability to solve problems in our child since starting at Seven Oaks two years ago.

The educators work very hard to connect with individual children in their class and are very knowledgeable about our child’s strengths and next steps on his learning journey.

Sonja, parent

“Learning through doing”

We have been truly fortunate to have been involved with Seven Oaks since the beginning with our three children. The single biggest stand-out feature of the school is the massive hearts, love and nurturing, hugs and support that the kids get without condition. 

This allows them to feel confidence and find their feet and their path in their own time. The educators have room to breathe, educate and be passionate about it and the kids benefit immensely. We loved the thought that our kids were learning through doing, learning about responsibility and respect (for themselves, each other, property and the planet) and having great attitudes and self motivation to explore so many more than the traditional offerings. 

Hunter is 13 and has significant special needs has now moved on to a special needs school, Greer, 11, is at Rangi and Paige, 9, is still here.  My favourite memories are of Greer narrating a school production (she’s a fantastic reader but her ‘crowd’ confidence was still building) and being allowed to sit where she couldn’t see the audience.  The next year she couldn’t be stopped from auditioning for a part! 

Paige at 7 years old, stepped up at home one night and cooked omelettes and brussel sprouts for 5 people for dinner without being asked, as I had my arms full dealing with Hunter. The kids are encouraged to use a help process at school to aid in resolving any conflicts. Both girls took great pride in making a poster at home and teaching this process to James and I, and we have used it many times since. I’m always so thrilled to walk in to an argument only to hear one of them say something along the lines of “well we both want the same thing, so what are our choices… shall we use a timer?” and I can happily go on my way. Functions and events are so well organised and the children really understand the end-to-end processes involved, from picking fruit, cooking it, preserving it, making posters, selling it, handling money etc etc. Best of all, every day I would arrive at pick-up to find happy, smiley children beaming down at me from the tops of trees.

Ange, parent

“Believe in yourself”

Since switching schools to Seven Oaks, our daughter has started to believe in herself again, feeling she is listened to and respected.

She is much happier and more confident and comes home from school contented. 

Eleanor, parent

“We love Seven Oaks”

The best decision we have made for our daughter – a place where she is truly able to be herself and celebrate who she is!

I love the holistic curriculum and can't believe how much she is learning. In only 3 months she has just blossomed from an anxious, unsettled child who hated school, to a bubbly, enthusiastic (most of the time), creative girl, who is just full of ideas and and imagination and is so keen to explore new interests. We love Seven Oaks. 

Kezia, parent

“Moving her to Seven Oaks was the best decision we have ever made”

Amazing school. My daughter was not coping well with the modern learning environment at her previous primary school. She was falling behind and had very low self esteem. Moving her to Seven Oaks was the best decision we have ever made. The nurturing environment with small class sizes, and caring educators that know your child's individual learning style, have transformed my daughter into a happy, confident girl who looks forward to going to school everyday. Highly recommended!!   

Meeghan, parent

“Everything from emotional intelligence to eco-literacy”

Seven Oaks School offers the individual approach we were looking for our children and we would highly recommend it. We love the wide curriculum that covers everything from emotional intelligence to eco-literacy and weaves it with the academic skills in a play-based way, even right up to Year 8. The small class sizes, approachable and kind staff, focus on the arts and music, friendly community and modern view of education are many more of the reasons we as family enjoy Seven Oaks.

Jokacota, parent

“Switched back on”

We were looking for a learning environment that would reignite our son, wanting see him happy in himself and learning again after being in a mainstream school.

This is exactly what Seven Oaks has done for him. His mind is open to learning and he is switched back on in so many ways. He loves the fact that they can play before they eat lunch and that he can take his scooter to school.

[Our son] is settled and really feeling like learning is fun, from the quiet environment of the countryside setting to the respectful and caring manner in which educators interact with students and the range of opportunities that have been offered. The contextual learning style makes it relevant and real.”

Andrea, parent

“More grounded and self-assured”

My daughter has absolutely thrived at Seven Oaks. She's made many strong friendships and loves going to school. She's really grown into herself and is more confident with her abilities, with being able to express her emotions, and feeling heard.

She is nurtured at school and able to follow her interests, and I genuinely believe that the school and the school community are part of our family. I cherish the friendships that she and I have made, and I love that irrespective of age all the children get along and play with each other. Seven Oaks provides such a welcoming, heart-centred environment and I do notice the differences between our Seven Oaks kids and those from other schools – Seven Oaks kids tend to be more grounded and self-assured. The development of themselves and their relationships with each other (through the Seven Oaks curriculum strand Building Brilliance) noticeably fosters kids being able to express who they are and also they are more comfortable with their relationships with others.

Victoria, parent

“Both our children have thrived”

We chose Seven Oaks because of its holistic, child-centred approach to education. In today’s environment of large class sizes, Seven Oaks provides a great alternative where the needs of the individuals can be catered for and supported by appropriately paced learning. Children at the school have the opportunity to build quality relationships with educators who care deeply for their wellbeing. Both our children have thrived in the Seven Oaks environment.

Fiona, parent

“I couldn’t believe how quickly we saw a change”

So glad we moved our daughter to Seven Oaks. I couldn't believe how quickly we saw a change.

Within a week she was looking forward to going to school, her self-esteem had improved and she was finding learning easier and more enjoyable. The smaller class size means that it is quieter, there is more one to one educator time and everyone has individualized learning plans and assessment. I also like how there is no BYOD, because at the previous school her spelling had deteriorated since its introduction and she would complain how she missed writing stories. Now her imagination and creativity is encouraged.

The new school site at Halswell is great. She likes how she can ride her scooter, or roller skate at break times, and is looking forward to the new bike track and playground.

Meeghan, parent

“Our son thrives when he can learn in a hands-on environment”

Seven Oaks has been a fantastic fit for our family.
In particular, the play-based learning philosophy for the new entrants was a key reason we chose the school, as our son thrives when he can learn in a hands-on environment. This, together with the small class sizes means our son is not only flourishing at Seven Oaks but also loves going to school.

Our son has made strong friendships, and we know that he is heard and valued within the school community, as this is important to us. We would highly recommend Seven Oaks to any parent making decisions regarding their new entrant son or daughter, or alternatively for an older child who isn't enjoying their current school.

Matthew, parent

“Our boys look forward to going to school and they are engaged”

We are delighted with our experience at Seven Oaks School. All of the educators, as well as the head of the school, are highly skilled and educated, thoughtful people, who live the life they teach. While they attend to the individual needs and interests of each child, they are nicely protective of the group. Their calm is palpable, which they offer to each person with whom they come in contact. The children get to spend time playing outdoors, which grounds them. Our boys are really enjoying the mountain biking and the scootering. The release from exercise and the joy that buoys them, allows for focus on their academics. Our boys look forward to going to school and they are engaged in their work. We have really enjoyed getting to know the other families and their children too. We really hope the school offers a year 9 and 10 in the future.

Cecily, parent

“Everyone knows each other”

We have always wanted to send our child to a school where she would be valued for her individuality and at the same time be supported by, and build a sense of community, with her school mates and educators.

We initially wanted to send our daughter to Seven Oaks when she was five, but due to location logistics we decided to go with our local school. Initially our local school was fine, but over the years as the classes got larger and the spaces became more expansive, our daughter became lost amongst the other pupils. Our daughter talked about not having enough time to finish her school work before moving on to the next subject, she felt that the teachers didn’t have the time to spend with her and that they didn’t really know her strengths or weaknesses.

Changing schools is never an easy decision, especially once your child has made friendships and settled into a routine. But as parents we felt compelled to make a change to a school that viewed the child as a whole, not somewhere that was just focused on completing the yearly curriculum.

Our daughter, who can be anxious about change, settled into Seven Oaks amazingly well and after her first visit said that she wanted to move to Seven Oaks (even though she was leaving her school friends behind). She loved the small classes and the fact that she got to interact with the older kids and younger kids – everyone knew each other! She loves the way that learning is taught and really enjoys being outdoors on a regular basis.

As parents we have noticed that our daughter is keen to go to school every day and she is excited to talk about what she has done during the day – vastly different to her previous school where she would just shrug her shoulders and say “I don’t remember”. Our daughter says this is one of the best decisions we have ever made and we agree – she is so happy at this school and we as parents believe that a happy child is a child that will thrive in their environment and will be open to every available learning opportunity.

Dianne, parent

“Exceptional educators”

A teacher myself, I find the educators at Seven Oaks exceptional; they are dedicated and passionate professionals who are also open, warm and compassionate individuals.

My daughter, who is extremely shy, settled into the school very quickly, forming trusting relationships with them. I believe having great teachers is the best I could hope for my child.

Naomi, parent

“Can’t wait to send our youngest next year!”

We are happy we made the choice to send our 5-year-old son (now 6.5) to Seven Oaks. He has been allowed to develop at his own pace and is now showing a huge interest in learning. Before school, it used to take him longer to learn things than his peers, and he was quick to put himself down. He now feels very confident and has a positive disposition towards learning. The small class size has meant that he hasn’t slipped through the cracks and has been able to get the positive attention he needs. Can’t wait to send our youngest boy to join him next year!

Kurt, parent

“We love the wide curriculum”

Seven Oaks School offers the individual approach we were looking for our children and we would highly recommend it.
We love the wide curriculum that covers everything from emotional intelligence to eco-literacy and weaves it with the academic skills in a play-based way, right up to year 8. The small class sizes, approachable and kind staff, focus on the arts and music, friendly community and modern view of education are many more of the reasons we as family enjoy Seven Oaks.

Jo, parent

“His energy can be focused on learning and not worrying”

Seven Oaks School would have been off my radar had it not been recommended by a leading Christchurch businesssoman, whose son had attended. I am so grateful she did.
It is probably best to sum up in the words of my son: “I really like Seven Oaks School because at my last school I could not learn much in a big class because there were so many distractions. Mostly everyone was mean to me, including some teachers. Seven Oaks makes me feel safe and accepted, even when I find things hard. They listen to my ideas, so I listen to them. I now want to learn more because I do not have to worry about being judged because the teachers and students understand we are all different. Seven Oaks School is like my family and community.”
My son is now doing well academically because his energy can be focused on learning and not worrying about being singled out because he got something wrong. Often Seven Oaks adapt tutoring to real-world applications. To me this is brilliant, because as someone who is fully qualified in two professions, I know you apply a very small percentage of your curriculum to real life.
The school fees at Seven Oaks are a fraction of other private schools. When your children are adults, you will look back at it being a small investment into something that was a huge part in making them grow their individual character, they see that others and themselves can accept their strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly know how to nurture their own well being.”

Di, parent

“Back to her bubbly self again”

We’re so grateful for you and Seven Oaks, Bruce! Since joining Seven Oaks our daughter is back to her bubbly, happy self again.

For us, it’s like secretly winning the lottery!  The school’s holistic approach is looking after her mental health as well as her education, which was the underlying reason we had to relocate to Chch and change the course we were on.

Coming from an environment of being misunderstood, which had her in tears regularly, she is now flourishing and looks forward to school! The kindness, care and freedom to be herself, is what makes Seven Oaks special. It is her soft place to fall, where we can now drop her each day and know her self-esteem will be intact, in fact growing, when we pick her up.

Her teachers have true empathy, understanding and skills to work with children that need extra help, whether it be socially or with learning challenges.

We have noticed our evenings our now are our own, as she is so content she doesn’t need the long talks at night we use to have to help her process the problems of the day, as they’re all sorted at school.

Tom, parent

“More curious and interactive”

We are so pleased our child is having positive experiences at Seven Oaks. She has felt welcomed from the start and part of the Seven Oaks community. The wonderful teaching staff have supported her to build and maintain friendships. Their caring and responsive approach has meant she is happy to discuss issues and find solutions. Our daughter returns home happy and energised, such a different experience to the mainstream modern learning environment. The small class sizes and structured day have stimulated her love of learning and she is more curious and interactive.

Lou, parent

“All about developing more than just educational outcomes!!!” 

The right school... Small class sizes. Play-based learning is developing our child amazingly well. Key element for me is it's not an 'open' learning environment and the kids engage openly with staff. All about developing more than just educational outcomes !!! Which they do well in too.... 

Liam, parent

“Amazing parent community”

Although our daughter is new to the school, we have noticed big changes in her happiness and energy (for the better) already. By simply placing her in the right environment, it has highlighted just how much she was suffering at her old school. She loves school and learning again!

We are very excited about what the school will bring her (and us)  in the coming years. There is also an amazing parent community and we are already enjoying that!

Mark, parent

“Both of our children instantly felt a strong sense of belonging at their new school”

The decision to move our children to Seven Oaks School was based upon the fact that we wanted our children to receive a holistic education that allowed them to learn using their interests. We wanted their excitement for learning, and confidence and creativity to flourish – and this has been made possible by the individual learning plans that are created with, and for, each child at the school.
Both of our children instantly felt a strong sense of belonging at their new school, and have been warmly welcomed by their new friends and educators.
We love that Seven Oaks is relationship-centred, holistic in their educational approach, and that they are enhancing and developing skills in our children that will encourage them to care for, and make a difference in their world.
During the 'remote learning' situation due to COVID-19, we have been so impressed that relationships and the schools holistic learning approach have remained the priority for supporting our children at home. Despite the challenges of self-isolation, our children still feel very much connected and engaged with both their learning, and their classrooms. We are very happy with the school.

Leeane, parent

“Free to fly with ideas”

My son had found his early years at school challenging. He found classrooms to be noisy, busy places and found the change from his preschool years difficult. He is a child with a huge range of interests and a curious mind. I could see my happy little boy with a love of learning becoming disinterested and giving up.

I decided to seek an alternative to this, and knew I couldn't make a mistake, as too much change would be unsettling. I went to the open day at Seven Oaks School and immediately knew it to be the right learning environment for my son. The staff were warm and friendly and really cared. The school based the education on the stage of development the child was at, which I found to be a huge relief and listening they were passionate about what they did and really cared about the children at the school. It didn't take long to make the decision to send my son to Seven Oaks School. It felt right. I haven't been disappointed. My son is happy, wants to go to school, is excited about learning again and is free to fly with his ideas. Seven Oaks has offered a calm, nurturing environment where he feels listened too. It has been an excellent decision. 

Nicola, parent

What the students say

“I like the options”

The play time is different. The teachers are cool. I like the options and the learning.

Finn, student (age 11)

“Imagination interwoven with education”

Seven Oaks is the kind of school that lets you excel in all subjects. It is a school of freedom and openness that brings out the full potential in children.... Read more

Devon, student (age 12)

“I like the freedom”

I like the freedom and the trust. Seven Oaks lets you be yourself.

Hana, student (age 11)

“The educators are kind”

You can be yourself and express who you are. I like wearing what I want and calling educators by their first name.

Alena, student (age 13)

“I want to send my children to this school”

I love that you get to know everyone – it doesn’t matter what year you are in.

Cadigan, student (age 7)

“Plenty of playtime, books to read”

Plenty of playtime, great school trips, lots of games, sandpit, lots of water...

Ryan, student (age 10)

“I have freedom”

It is the best school in the world because I have freedom - to be outside and play.

Maddie, student (age 6)