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FOA’s Art Program Gets High Praise From Parent

DSC_0467One of our Lower Elementary parents, Kelly Barnhardt,  has shared her experience with FOA’s  Art Program and Annual Art Show on her blog.  Her blogs are wonderfully written and this particular blog post, “Heart and Soul”,  is a testament to our art program. You can read more of her blogs posts at .

“On Thursday after the Boston Marathon, the kids’ school hosted its annual art show, where all the students proudly display the work they’ve created under the tutelage of Jill, the school’s amazingly talented and energetic art teacher. It’s always such a lovely event, with art displayed all over the campus in the classrooms, in the office, on the walkways. Jill, an artist herself, is one of those remarkable teachers who is able to convey fact, technique, and fun, instilling a love and appreciation for the process and study of art.

Jill teaches the kids about the great artists, the great works-Degas, Monet, Van Gogh this year, Picasso and Leonardo da Vinci in years past. They listen, they learn, they emulate, they experiment, they create. They learn the rules so that one day, they can break them, they can move beyond and outside the lines and make their own magic.

These are good things, these paintings. The kids were proud to see their work displayed, to see their investments admired. Though kids may not feel the anxiety as acutely as adults, it’s often difficult to release something you’ve made out into the world for fear of its critique or misunderstanding or that people just flat out won’t like it. You’re putting a piece of yourself out there-writing, painting, drawing, dancing, singing-these forms of creativity allow us to express ourselves in ways different from our typical greetings and correspondences; they bring beauty and perspective and form to emotion, to feeling.

In our home, we have lots of art. It’s not necessarily fine or expensive, but it covers our walls. As a former Art History minor, the daughter of an artist, and someone often billed as “creative”, I enjoy the study and history of art, its relationship to and critical foundation in the formation of culture.

And what I’ve also learned through the years about art is that I like art because you made it. Because it came from you. Because you went out on a limb and put some of yourself into it, because you shared with the rest of the world.”

FOA Annual Fund Hosts Fall Fête


The Five Oaks Academy Annual Fund Fall Fête will be held Friday, November 2 from 6:00PM until 9:00PM at The Loom at Cotton Mill Place in Simpsonville, SC.  Celebrating the fourth year of this annual event, the Fall Fête is the school’s largest adult social event of the year.  The Fall Fête provides a unique opportunity for faculty, parents and friends of Five Oaks Academy to come together and celebrate the past, present and future of our unique institution and the many wonderful contribution is has made to the Upstate of South Carolina.

Dinner and live music will be provided. Dress is fall casual attire. Childcare is provided upon advance request on campus at Five Oaks Academy.

All parents, adult family members, faculty and friends of Five Oaks Academy are encouraged to attend this once-a-year celebration.  Parents are requested to RSVP via the electronic invitation they received.  If you have questions, would like to RSVP or would like to confirm childcare for the evening, please contact the Five Oaks Academy front office.


Neuropsychologist Dr. Hughes Visiting FOA

Five Oaks Academy is thrilled to announce that Dr Steven J. Hughes, PhD will be speaking for our Parent Lecture Series on October 18th. Prior to his visit to Five Oaks Academy, Dr Huges will be keynoting at the upcoming conference for the South Carolina Montessori Alliance (SCMA). In March, He will be a speaker at the American Montessori Society (AMS) conference.

Based out of London, Dr Steven J. Hughes, PhD, LP, ABPdN is a board-certified pediatric neuropsychologist who specializes in assessment and treatment planning for persons who have problems with attention, concentration, organization, planning, and related executive functions. He also consults with organizations about educational program evaluation, and speaks to groups around the world about developmental education, neurocognitive disorders, parenting, and other topics of interest to parents and educators. Hughes completed his PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Minnesota and his post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he served as a member of the faculty of the Division of Pediatric Clinical Neurosciences from 2001 to 2011.

In his clinical work, he has specialized in neuropsychological assessment of children and adolescents with a wide range of learning, developmental, and medical disorders, and assisted in the supervision and training of future neuropsychologists. Himself a Montessori parent, Dr. Hughes has helped many families from the Twin Cities Montessori community understand their child’s special educational or developmental needs. He is a lecturer at the Maria Montessori Institute in London, England, and the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. He is also a frequent speaker at Montessori schools, regional and national conferences, and other events around the world.

His research interests include measurement of attention and executive functioning in children and adults, the effects of living in poverty on child development, and the neurodevelopmental benefits of classical Montessori education.  You can learn more about Dr. Hughes and his research by visiting

Please put this amazing opportunity on your calendar. You will not want to miss this!

This event will be held at:
The Fountain Inn Center for Visual & Performing Arts
315 North Main Street
Fountain Inn, SC 29644

“Montessori is like education designed by a gifted pediatric

-Steve Hughes, Ph.D.

High School Open House Invitation

As a reminder, all parents interested in exploring high school options for their students are invited to join us as Five Oaks Academy hosts representatives from local high schools this Thursday, September 13, from 6:00-7:00 p.m. to discuss their various programs. This event is designed to allow parents to interact one-on-one with these representatives and there will not be a formal presentation. The following high schools are currently scheduled to be in attendance:

Anderson Montessori
Christ Church
Greenville Classical Academy
Greenville County Fine Arts Center
Greenville Middle College- Brashier Campus (the charter school)
Greenville Middle College- Greer Campus (the charter school)
Greenville Middle College- Pleasantburg Campus (the charter school)
Palmetto E-cademy
Shannon Forest
Southside Christian
Southside IB Program
The Governor’s School

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

International Coffee Invitation

We would like to invite all of our parents at Five Oaks Academy to an International Coffee on September 12 from 8:30-10:00 to help us in welcoming our newest International families.

We are proud of the diverse families that make up our community. The students, teachers and parents on our campus represent at least 14 countries some of which include Germany, Italy, India, Mexico, England, France, Japan, China, Netherlands, South Africa, Chile, Guatemala, Belgium and the United States.

Please join us in celebrating our International community and help make these new families feel at home.

Google Honors Maria Montessori

In recognition of Maria Montessori and her contributions to our global community, Google is honoring her today on her 142nd birthday as the featured “Google Doodle.”  For one day only, August 31, 2012, the Google homepage will display the Google logo built from common Montessori classroom materials.

It is widely known that Google has its own Montessori roots as Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin both attended a Montessori school as children. During an interview with Barbara Walters in 2004, Page and Brin credited their years as Montessori students as a major factor contributing to their success. They said that their Montessori education allowed them to learn to think for themselves, taught them to be self-directed and self-starters, and gave them freedom to pursue their own interests.

Everyone at Five Oaks Academy wishes Maria Montessori a happy 142nd birthday and thanks her for presenting the world with a living example of scientific theories of education!

FOA Faculty Raising Happiness

Each year the Five Oaks Academy faculty choses a book to read and study in an effort to improve overall awareness on a topic and explore ways to improve the educational experience for its students.  This year, the faculty has chosen the book “Raising Happiness.”  The author, Christine Carter, Ph.D and executive director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, recently did a keynote presentation at the “Learning and the Brain Conference” which was attended by Kathleen Trewhella-Grant, the Director of Five Oaks Academy.

In reference to the conference, Kathleen said, “The Learning and the Brain Conference was focused on educating attendees on how to use research-based brain science to nurture smarter, happier and healthier learners.  The conference further highlighted the importance of mental health in learning and achievement and presented research demonstrating that providing an environment where students are happy and content can no longer just be considered something “nice” to work towards but rather a crucial building block in the education of a student. Happiness and one’s state of mind are an essential part of successful learning.  At the conference, attendees learned about the connection between our brain’s ability to receive information and our emotional state. As a Montessori school, Five Oaks Academy has always put a huge emphasis on environmental comfort and teacher-student relationships to promote the happiness and educational success of our students.”

“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In the book “Raising Happiness,” Christine Carter draws on what psychology, sociology, and neuroscience have proven about confidence, gratefulness, and optimism, and using her own chaotic and often hilarious real-world adventures as a mom to demonstrate do’s and don’ts in action, she boils the process down to 10 simple happiness-inducing steps.

Five Oaks Academy invites all members of our community to join the faculty in this informative read as we look forward to having in-depth discussions about this book and the continue roll of happiness in the educational experience of our students.

FOA Welcomes Back Students


Five Oaks Academy is pleased to welcome back students today for the first full day of the 2012-2013 academic year.  As we begin our tenth year at Five Oaks Academy, we are welcoming many new families from our area and from around the world. This year we are pleased to welcome families from Costa Rica, South Africa, England, Italy, France, Germany and China coming to join our international community.

New students to the school and students transitioning to a new classroom began their transition days on Wednesday. Transition days are a way that a Montessori education allows for students to adjust to their new academic surroundings without the added distraction of a full classroom. Five Oaks Academy offers transitions days across all of its programs.

We are looking forward to another year of engaging our students curiosity and creativity in the classrooms and wish each of our students a great start to the upcoming year!

“If you are planning for a year,
sow rice;

if you are planning for a decade,
plant trees;

if you are planning for a lifetime,
educate people”

– Chinese proverb

The Eye Behind the Lens

Please join us in wishing Susan Edwards much success as she leaves Five Oaks Academy to pursue her next successful venture: professional photography. Susan has been an integral part of Five Oaks Academy since the time the school opened. Susan and her daughter, Juliet, both illuminated our community in memorable ways. A woman of many journeys, this next adventure takes Susan to New York in September for a photography class to rejuvenate and inspire her next body of work. Please stop by the office in the near future to pick up one of Susan’s business cards if you are interested in securing her photography services.

FOA Welcomes Jessica Greer

Please welcome Jessica Greer as the newest member of our faculty. Jessica will be filling a new position at our school as Executive Coordinator. Jessica was born in Denver, Colorado, but considers herself a Greenville native. Her combination of business and education experience will be an ideal addition to our school’s community.

In Jessica’s Own Words

“I loved working in the business field, and I look forward to using my background in Elementary Education in this new position at Five Oaks Academy. I am the mother of two children and my youngest child will be attending Five Oaks Academy beginning in the fall. I am eager to join the Parent Community in addition to being a part of the faculty. I am thrilled to have been offered the opportunity to serve you as a member of the administration at Five Oaks Academy. The atmosphere and community that have been created here seems like a wonderful environment to learn and work! I am excited about the many opportunities Five Oaks offers to my child and to me as I begin a new chapter in my life and embrace my new work family.”