I never thought I would hear the words 'I actually like school now,' come out of my son's mouth, but that is exactly what happened after he started attending Acton Academy. As a parent, it is so wonderful to see your child excited about learning. I know he is being encouraged to work at his own pace, set his own goals, and show up free to be himself every day. And he actually likes school now. What could be better than that?
Meeka Van Der Wal
Acton Academy is game changer in the realm of primary education in this country. It has not only transformed my child but has created changes within our family as we discover the road of the Hero's Journey. The path of Acton allows your child to become who they are meant to be with a passion for learning, empowering a child to form the habits they need in order to monitor their own learning.
When I first came across the idea of Acton Academy, I was so excited to see it in action. The reality was far better than my dreams. To see the children growing far beyond any expectations, to see them so happy each morning, to hear their laughter, to see how much they accomplished in such a short time... this is the way a child should learn! This is the real joy of learning, and this is how school should be in the 21st Century.
I had heard about Acton Academy for a couple of years before actually joining. This year, all three of my children are going. I don’t think I have enough kind words to describe the transformation and joy my kids experience there. A hero's journey is something every child (and adult) should experience.
Rachel Nof Gartner
AABC is a most wondrous, learner-driven place. I could not ask for a better learning environment for my child. It is a warm and caring atmosphere that promotes self-awareness and mindfulness, with a heavy emphasis on growth mindset. It fosters true learning that stems from curious passion, choice and inspiration and an abundance of real-life, hands-on opportunities. It encourages my child to take responsibility by cultivating a culture of accountability. Group dynamics allow for deep relationship building, improvement of communication skills, negotiation and conflict-resolution abilities. Lots of community involvement and connection with nature. A vivacious and amazing place to grow. We absolutely love it!
Transitioning my children out of public school and into Acton Academy has been one of the most transformational and positive life-changing decisions I’ve made as a parent. In the three years that my son and daughter have attended, I’ve watched each of them develop incredible life skills that were sorely lacking beforehand (e.g., time management, conflict resolution, public speaking, holding themselves and others accountable for being their best selves). I’ve witnessed their love of learning flourish. I’ve also seen them develop in their unique identities, becoming clearer and clearer about who they are (distinctly from one another) and what they are passionate about. It’s been an inspirational, transformational journey. I feel blessed to be able to witness it.
When I started searching for an alternative to public school, I wasn't sure what I was looking for. My oldest daughter was bored, disinterested, and unhappy. I had all kinds of ideas... a more challenging educational environment? Or maybe a more artistic/musically oriented place to appeal to her interests?
I have found all of this at Acton Academy Bergen County, although somewhat indirectly. AABC is so much more than a school. It's a learner-driven environment with (so far) limitless possibilities. The Guides are passionate and dedicated to the learners and to the philosophy. Both of my daughters have benefited tremendously from the community they now belong to. I am really grateful to have found it.
We were always drawn to the concept that every child needs different things from a learning environment, but we never took the leap. The last push we needed was the pandemic's minimal and boring school days and, boy, did we get into the right place! Within two weeks, my son was transformed. It's been six months now, and he is happy to go to school and always has fun. But the most important thing is his self-confidence.
In Acton, students are called ‘learners' and studies are ‘quests.’ Children are encouraged to read, to play, to investigate, and to look for answers by themselves; they are invited to choose and decide on their studies; and they work in teams where they practice relationships, helping and being helped. These are just a few examples.
I recently came across the World Economic Forum's, "The Future of Jobs Report" (Oct. 2020), where they listed the 15 most important skills expected to be needed from future employees. I can say that the gap between what a regular school and a student-driven school, such as Acton, can provide in relation to the preparation of our kids for these needs is enormous. Critical life skills are practiced daily at AABC (analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, creativity, originality and initiative, leadership, technology use, monitoring and control, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility, reasoning, problem-solving and ideation, emotional intelligence, persuasion, and negotiation). It’s so awesome, you cannot imagine!
Acton is something different. It is not a school, it is a journey, a guide, a mentor, a facilitator, and a friend. Learners are not in a space of disrespect or diminishment. They do not get punished. There is no need to ask for permission for normal needs. There is no less-than.
We always homeschooled our child, so in order for us to enroll her into school, it would have to be special. A place where not only her mind would grow but also her heart. It would have to nurture her inner world. The people involved would have to be a good example for her. They would need to care and to be able to allow space for her individuality and gifts to flourish. It would have to feel right. And it does.
The first Acton representative we met was co-founder Shira Cohen who is strong yet gentle, brilliant, and focused. We immediately felt at ease. The second was co-founder Michal Leshem. Another strong spirit who is a grounded, confident and calm leader. To have these two women at the helm, we were thrilled. Acton alone is fantastic, but the people behind the scenes matter just as much.
We are in our second year now and so very happy all around. The environment is interesting and uplifting. It allows space for the discomfort of growth and celebrates breakthroughs and overcoming obstacles. There are wonderful guest visits, field trips, and exhibitions. There is so much more to Acton than academics; it is a whole and full school-like experience. Simply, Acton is special, and we feel so grateful to have found it.