Archive for News

FOA Unites Science and Education during World’s Fair & 20th Anniversary Celebration

On Friday, May 5, Five Oaks Academy kicked off its 20th Anniversary Celebration with its first-ever World’s Fair! This celebration highlighted their commitment to global studies, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) as well as the support of the many countries represented within their own school community.


FOA students were the emcees for the World’s Fair celebration that kicked off with student musical performances from each program level as well as a Latin dance mix performed by Middle School Spanish 3 & 4 students. After the performances, parents, grandparents, friends of FOA, and students, enjoyed viewing STEAM projects from each level, a flag-making activity with the Children’s Museum of the Upstate, taste testing of German Pretzels, and an art show featuring student works from both the Art History and Creativity programs. FOA alumni Joey Adamson, who currently attends Clemson University, treated students to a special exhibition featuring his engineering car project as well as a car from Clemson Racing for the Worlds Fair.


The first World’s Fair was in 1851 and was held in London. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the World’s Fairs became huge celebrations of the immense and ongoing progress. The Fair was driven by a desire to display scientific and technological innovation and gains. In 1918, Dr. Montessori held a very unexpected exhibit that featured a classroom with 30 children, aged 2 ½ to 6. The classroom was called the glass house because it had extensive window panes that afforded the World’s Fair attendees easy viewing access. Her exhibition has been celebrated as a critical event that united science and education as she put the field of education into the progress paradigm. She won two gold medals for her educational insight.

2023 Yearbooks Are On Sale Now!

Yearbooks are On Sale Now!
To order your student(s) 2022-2023 Five Oaks Academy Yearbook, please complete the order form –
Cost: $30 per book
Venmo: The Middle School’s Venmo handle is: @FOA-MiddleSchool
(8892 = last 4 digits of the phone number, if needed)
If you are unable to pay through Venmo, please complete and print the Google form, put it in an envelope with your check or cash payment, and turn it in to the Front Office.
If you have any questions, please contact Missy Hammer via email:
All proceeds support the Middle School’s Annual Eighth Grade Class Trip! Thank you for your support!

Five Oaks Academy Outdoor Art Classes

Beautiful surroundings inspire beautiful artwork. Upper Elementary students enjoy art classes on the Discovery Deck and near the Jean Wilson Freeman mural at Five Oaks Academy.


Spring Community Day

Thank you so much to all of our volunteers who helped us beautify our campus during our Spring Community Day!  We couldn’t do it without your help!


Culinary Center Class with Lower Elementary I and II

Lower Elementary I and II had a wonderful time using FOA’s brand-new Culinary Center yesterday for their first cooking class with Ms. April. These 1st-3rd grade students learned kitchen safety, how to use kitchen tools, and how to keep the area clean while cooking. They also learned how to measure ingredients and the best ways to chop, grate, and season the food they were preparing. They made minestrone soup loaded with vegetables and beans that everyone enjoyed tasting and eating.
A special thank you to all of the families who donated their time, money, and resources to make this fantastic kitchen and culinary center possible! #fiveoaksacademy #foamontessori #foamontessorilife

Italian Honey Bees are Back at FOA

The bees are back at FOA! We have two hives of Italian honey bees that are located on our nature trail. Our first two attempts prior to COVID ended in the queens swarming the hive and with an infestation of European Hornets that devastated the hives. We are excited to say that our two new hives are thriving!

The Italian honey bees are very gentle honey bees. Both hives have accepted their queen and are settling in nicely. They are bustling with activity, and the queens have each laid about 30,000 to 40,000 eggs in the last three-four weeks. They have nearly run out of room to lay more. FOA parent and beekeeper extraordinaire, Dan Magner, purchased the hives and bees for FOA and is our bee advisor. The Upper Elementary students are working with him to help maintain the hives, learn about the bees, and teach other program levels about the amazing Italian honey bee!

On Friday, May 20, “Dan the Bee Man” met with the Upper Elementary students and explored the hives. This exploration included looking for the presence of the queen, assessing the space for the hive to grow, and discussing how to manage pests properly. Students learned about the life cycle of the Italian honey bee, different jobs in the hive, communication, and the overall changes in the hive throughout the year. Having two different hives also gives us the opportunity to see what effect the hive’s placement has on the hive’s success (i.e. sunlight, access to water, etc.). At this time, the hive down by the river is doing slightly better than the one near the trailhead, in that they have stored more honey, and the queen has laid more eggs. We look forward to following both of the hives’ successes and involving every program level in this exploration.

International Festival

A sense of joy and happiness was in the air at our International Festival held on Friday, May 6. This was the first major festival we have hosted on campus since the pandemic started, and it felt wonderful to see everyone and socialize. We have over 30 countries represented in the Five Oaks community, and native clothing worn by children and adults alike reflected our international community. In addition to the Spanish songs, the students’ performances celebrated children around the world, and elementary students presented songs in sign language.

Everyone enjoyed the student performances, which were enhanced by instruments purchased with a grant from FOA grandmother, Angele McLaughlin. We were especially proud for Dr. Spencer Jordan, director of SCISA (South Carolina Independent Schools Association), to present Five Oaks Academy with the 2020 W. Keller-Kissam School of Honor Award, and we appreciated his very kind words about our school: “I have been to all 127+ schools within our association, and there is not one school – large or small – that I can put up to par with Five Oaks.”


After the program concluded, students and their parents enjoyed activities such as inflatable obstacle courses, The Nomadik Few Gourmet ShavedIce, pies from Rachel’s American Pies, colorful streamers, and photos with Frankie the Fox! We look forward to our next opportunity to join as a community, meet new people, and talk with each other!

Community Day Projects and Accomplishments

A special thank you to all of the volunteers who showed up and worked SO hard during our Spring Community Day! We accomplished so much and had a blast doing it!

Our many volunteers: replaced all stairs in the Main House (many of which were broken), laid a stone walkway next to P2 to help with drainage issues and create a path for the students to walk on, installed attic stairs in both LE classrooms providing much-needed storage, counted money from Coin Challenge, worked on the Art Show, moved the playground gate, repaired broken spindles, painted the new fence in front of the school, cleaned windows, fixed chairs, repaired broken classroom furniture, and much, much more!

We are so grateful for our supportive FOA a community that comes together to GET IT DONE!

Annual Student Art and STEAM Show

The STEAM and Art Show is always a highlight of the school year, offering a chance to celebrate the students’ creativity and exploration. Families were able to visit and tour the exhibition alongside their children on Thursday, April 7, 2022. Colorful paintings pinned up along the breezeway are always a hallmark of the experience, while Middle School artwork was featured inside the main house.

Five Oaks Academy provides art exploration and instruction to Primary students through Middle School students with two distinct curricula: Art History and Creativity. Ms. Jill and Ms. Sarah guided the kindergarten through fifth-grade students in studying “Art of the Americas” this year, including artists such as John James Audubon, Frida Kahlo, and Jonathan Green (among others). Students created self-portraits, landscapes, bark paintings, and bird studies inspired by masters.

Within the Creativity program, Ms. Amy and Ms. Sarah guided the 3K students through fifth-graders in process-based explorations of color, emotion, texture, and line. The Upper Elementary students created a collaborative piece that was printed onto fabric to colorfully welcome visitors to the STEAM show. Finally, Middle School students explored resist techniques, low-relief paper collages, art therapy, realistic pencil drawings, captured motion drawings, tessellations, and perspective.

The newer outdoor areas at Five Oaks (such as the courtyard tent, amphitheater, and Discovery Deck behind elementary) allowed for STEAM displays from every age level and featured field guides from nature studies, microscope exploration, book reports, biography projects, “Imaginary Island” designs, and invention projects. Middle School students showcased the 8th-graders’ Legacy projects, in addition to the work they completed to certify our campus deciduous forest with the National Wildlife Foundation. Meanwhile, musicians and vocalists of all ages entertained guests by providing background music in the amphitheater.

Five Oaks Academy was proud to be the first Montessori and STEAM-accredited school through SCISA (South Carolina Independent Schools Association), and we look forward to another year of creative exploration and STEAM-based inquiry at Five Oaks.

MPIA: “The Middle School Experience”

On Friday, February 5, 2021, Five Oaks Academy’s Executive Director, Kathleen Trewhella-Grant, hosted a Montessori Parents in Action (MPIA) workshop. “The Middle School Experience” was presented by the Middle School Co-Lead Program Directresses, Caroline Leonard, and Sami Schroeder.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there was a limit to how many parents were allowed to attend in person. If you were unable to attend, we have added a video version of the workshop here for you.

Follow this link to view the MS slide deck that corresponds to the workshop.

Follow this link for the full version of the Middle School Independence Scale (covered at the end of the presentation).