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Hear it from our families

“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.”

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.

Diane
PARENT

“By simply placing her in the right environment, it has highlighted just how much she was suffering at her old school.”

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

"The school has offered an environment where he has grown in understanding of himself, his needs, his place in a community and the needs of others."

It has been great to find a school where our son is so well supported in his learning and his strengths are celebrated and encouraged.

We chose Seven Oaks because it offers the Arrowsmith Program for dyslexia and we have seen huge changes in our son, both academically and socially. He now sees education in a positive light instead of just hard work. In addition, the school has offered an environment where he has grown in understanding of himself, his needs, his place in a community and the needs of others.

We value the small class sizes, individual attention, having a male teacher, and the recognition that children need to run, climb and spend time outside to support their learning in the classroom.

Karlene
PARENT

“Our daughter returns home happy and energised, such a different experience to the mainstream modern learning environment.”

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

“ I could see my happy little boy with a love of learning becoming disinterested and giving up.”

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

“We have noticed a growing resilience and increased ability to solve problems in our child since starting at Seven Oaks two years ago.”

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

“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.”

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.

Georgia
PARENT

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

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

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.

Eleanor
PARENT

"Her problem-solving skills have seen huge growth, if something goes wrong she’s looking for a way to fix it and work it out rather than commiserating!"

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

Moving her to Seven Oaks has been the best choice, not just for her but for us as a family. We are all much happier and our house is much calmer. She was “holding it together“ at her previous school during the day and then exploding when she got home. She had become very anxious and was just not happy. The biggest change we have noticed is in her confidence, she is really blossoming and is keen to give everything a go. She used to say “I can’t do it” a lot and was so scared of failing she had given up trying altogether, but I can’t remember the last time I heard her say that. In the last year, she has taken up skateboarding, rollerblading, knitting, gymnastics, ballet, scrapbooking. She’s a whiz in the kitchen and loves preparing food for us. She is learning to get along with people better and work out issues. Her problem-solving skills in general have seen huge growth, if something goes wrong she’s looking for a way to fix it and work it out rather than commiserating . Her creativity has exploded and she is full of ideas! She goes to school happily most days and I have to say the one thing I love the most about Seven Oaks if I had to choose only one is how accepting the children are of each other. I love watching the new children walk in happily in the mornings and greet each other and you can almost see the relief on their faces because they know this is a place where they feel safe and accepted and valued for who they are.

Kezia
PARENT

“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.”

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

"The single most standout feature of the school is the massive hearts, the love and nurturing, hugs and support that the kids get without condition."

We have been truly fortunate to have been involved with Seven Oaks since the beginning.

We have been truly fortunate to have been involved with Seven Oaks since the beginning. The single most standout feature of the school is the massive hearts, the 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.  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 7yo, 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 about 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 pickup day I would arrive to find happy children beaming down at me from the tops of trees.

Ange
PARENT

"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."

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

"I believe having great teachers is the best I could hope for my child."

Being a teacher myself, I found 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

"Coming from an environment of being misunderstood, which had her in tears regularly, she is now flourishing and looks forward to school!"

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.

After 5-6 weeks in the Arrowsmith Program we started to notice changes in our daughter’s motor processing and how she read situations. Now, after 6 months she’s progressed even further. While challenging, her ability to concentrate on her work is steadily improving and with it results within the Arrowsmith Program.

Tom
PARENT

"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."

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

"Now [our son] sets his own goals and is even enjoying the challenge."

After finding out about our son’s learning disability, we started searching new schools. He was losing confidence, avoiding new relationships and challenges.

When I came to the Open Day, it wasn’t for the academic purpose, for personal development. I was fascinated by Seven Oaks’ philosophy. Educators, staff, students and family are making a beautiful harmony. Seven Oaks offers Arrowsmith programme for learning disabilities, so it was a good surprise and bonus for us.

I felt the door was open for us, and made the decision to step in. Now [our son] sets his own goals and is even enjoying the challenge. Thanks to Michele, a wonderful educator, and older students in the programme helped him to settle in smoothly. Every day I think how lucky we are! We could find the best way and are growing together with Seven Oaks.

Ilhye
PARENT

"Now [our son] sets his own goals and is even enjoying the challenge."

After finding out about our son’s learning disability, we started searching new schools. He was losing confidence, avoiding new relationships and challenges.

When I came to the Open Day, it wasn’t for the academic purpose, for personal development. I was fascinated by Seven Oaks’ philosophy. Educators, staff, students and family are making a beautiful harmony. Seven Oaks offers Arrowsmith programme for learning disabilities, so it was a good surprise and bonus for us.

I felt the door was open for us, and made the decision to step in. Now [our son] sets his own goals and is even enjoying the challenge. Thanks to Michele, a wonderful educator, and older students in the programme helped him to settle in smoothly. Every day I think how lucky we are! We could find the best way and are growing together with Seven Oaks.

Ilhye
PARENT