I am a 12 year old, straight A student that is always trying my best to work harder and not give up, and I give a lot of credit to Head Instructor MacKenzie for the way she helped change my mindset. When I was around 7, I moved from California to Washington, and because of that I had problems with my temper and I would get anxious all the time. I also had trouble concentrating, until my mom signed me up for martial arts at Oom Yung Doe.
I have trained in other studios before, but I have not experienced an Instructor like Head Instructor MacKenzie. She has a way of teaching that is hard to explain. She is stern, but kind, and she understands how to speak to kids. She really knows how to see what boundaries we face and shows us that we can break through those boundaries!
During my training, she saw the potential that I had to become really great. She helped with setting new goals, and helped you get there with patience and routine. She also taught the importance of deep breathing and meditation and helped me build a great foundation for my training. There were many days in class where I would shove my hands onto my forehead and say ,"I can't do this!" But every time she would say, "Yes, you can!" She would always encourage me and tell me she will not ever push harder than she thinks that I can go. And she was right!! I trained with Head Instructor MacKenzie for 2+ years and I am a first degree black belt with a whole new mindset....I have competed in tournaments through Oom Yung Doe and have won 2 Local Bronze Award and 2 State Level Bronze Medals. It's not, "I can't," but now it's, "I can, no matter what!"
Both of our children attend Root Academy, one typically developing and one on the spectrum. We have seen huge developmental leaps in both kids since enrolling them and I can't thank Root Academy enough. The staff seeks to truly understand each child and tailor their teaching methods and style to work with the kids' strengths. We also place a high value on an inclusive and diverse environment for our kids and have been very pleased with the way that Root Academy incorporates this into their curriculum. Our kids are learning about different cultures, religions and nationalities in a very relevant and age appropriate way.
The staff's unique perspectives and open-minded way of thinking have helped solve behaviors that had countless other educators and professionals stumped. In particular, we had seemingly tried everything with one specific adaptive/life skill for our son. We spent years troubleshooting, analyzing, speculating and trying different methods. Jarreau helped us look at things from a new angle and the behavior was resolved within days.
Root Academy embodies the environment, teaching methods and inclusive nature that we were seeking for both of our kids and I recommend them to anybody with no hesitation.
After watching my son struggle in a traditional school setting, I knew that the stress and anxiety I saw in him indicated the need for a change. As my husband and I explored different options, there weren't any that excited us or made us hopeful that his experience would be markedly different. That's when another mom introduced me to Jarreau and MacKenzie as they were in the process of creating and actualizing their vision for Root Academy. After a two hour meeting, I was convinced that the school's combination of Montessori and Martial Arts, along with the development of a foreign language curriculum, would be of great benefit.
I enrolled both of my children in camp at Root last summer to confirm that it would be a good fit. The growth that my son demonstrated within a few weeks of starting camp was remarkable, and improvements have continued throughout the school year. My son's associations with school used to be mostly negative, and produced an aversion to learning, but now he is engaged and curious about a great variety of things. There have been vast improvements in areas of emotional regulation, willingness to follow directions, willingness to try new things, improved stamina and focus, and overall a much calmer energy and sense of happiness.
In addition to seeing our son thrive in the lower elementary class, we have our daughter enrolled in the preschool class and we've been very pleased with the developmental gains she has demonstrated as well. Beyond the standard ABC's/numbers/colors, we have seen gains in her social-emotional development, which indicates to us that the needs of the children are consistently being met on all levels.
As a parent you know you have your kids in the right place when there is no arguing about getting ready to go in the morning and they're in no rush to leave school at the end of the day!
Root Academy turns out to be just the environment that my son needed to thrive at school! He struggled tremendously in kindergarten and first grade, in large classes with very strict schedules and expectations. Despite tremendous efforts by ourselves and all of the staff, neither his difficulties nor his strengths were able to be properly served. Root provides an open, an intimate, a friendly, and a flexible environment. Children are met at their level. I'm so thrilled to have a school where he finally feels at home and where he can be helped and challenged.
The combination of Montessori, language, and martial arts works great. The Montessori approach provides a framework where kids' natural love of learning is nurtured, and their own motivation drives the learning. The martial arts program is a favorite with everyone. Giving the kids a sense of their own strength and power in their bodies seems to help them feel balanced and ready for the classroom. The outside space is also well utilized, giving the kid plenty of space to run and explore. My son loves to learn, and I always thought that he would love school. Now, in second grade at Root Academy, he finally does!