Orion Academy opened its doors this year. The focus of the school is on creating a positive environment in which children can best grow and learn. To do that, Orion is inspired by Montessori, Reggio, and Waldorf, along with progressive school approaches, and adheres to a philosophy where unconditional positive regard is emphasized, while adhering to best teaching and learning practices. The school emphasizes child-led, hands-on, creative active learning.
Mindfulness plays a large part in Orion's philosophy; this involves paying attention to the here and now with kindness and curiosity. It has been shown that mindfulness improves the learning environment and helps with concentration, focus, resilience, and compassion for self and others. Because mindfulness provides such benefits, children will engage in mindfulness practices, also known as attention training, every day in a variety of forms including children's yoga, tai chi, and basic breathing exercises.
The school is currently enrolling children ages 9 to 18 months, and in March 2017 will open enrollment to children ages 3 to 5 years.
The Head of School is Dr. Lynne Crotts, who has been an educator for over 35 years. She began her career as a public school elementary teacher and administrator, then got her doctorate from the Curry School of Education at U.Va.
When Lynne was investigating the business aspects of opening a school at least a dozen people mentioned SCORE. She went to an introductory meeting then signed up for a series of three sessions that explained the challenges she was likely to encounter, and how SCORE could support her through them. She received sound business and financial advice, along with plenty of hope, inspiration, and ongoing support to make Orion Academy a success.