School Mission, Vision and Philosophy
The mission of Odyssey Preparatory Academy is to work in partnership with the family and community with the aim of helping each child reach full potential in all areas of life. The school seeks to educate the whole person with the understanding that each child must achieve a balance of intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual and social skills as a foundation for life.
Odyssey recognizes that all children are individuals with distinct needs and interests. We acknowledge that children learn at different rates and in different ways. We believe that children are natural learners and, when supplied with a rich and dynamic learning environment, will become enthusiastic, self-motivated learners. Odyssey combines a deep understanding of the developing child grounded in strong academic standards presented within an enriched environment. Odyssey's approach is based upon the theories and philosophies of many pioneers in education. The instructional methods vary with grade level and the skills and abilities of teachers and students.
The philosophy of Odyssey is based upon the premise that each person finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to spiritual values such as compassion and peace. Holistic education aims to call forth from young people an intrinsic reverence for life and passionate love of learning; this is key to Odyssey's unique approach which is revolutionizing educational delivery. There is respect for students' interior life. Students are encouraged to wonder about the meaning of life and take their existential concerns seriously. There is a genuine sense of community among teachers, students and parents involved with the school. The principles of ecology and sustainability are implicit in the structure and content of holistic education. Holistic schools are staffed by educators with a philosophical commitment to well–rounded personal development and their own personal and professional sensitivity to learning rhythms of their students. Within our School, we include a whole school/whole child approach and the Montessori philosophy as part of our holistic approach to raising radiant children.
Developing Radiant Children
Odyssey is revolutionizing the way we educate children. Our focus is upon creating radiant children by guiding children to assist in the development of their own unique and full potential. We take into consideration all aspects of their learning environment—from a healthy, high performance school to a powerful, rigorous engaging instructional program that develops each child intellectually, physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially. Our recipe for empowering children to find their own creative genius has three ingredients:
1. The Healthy, High-Performance "Green" School
Raising a radiant child begins with a healthy environment, particularly the school building and campus. High-performance schools are consciously designed to enhance the health of students. Odyssey has created an optimal learning environment for students to thrive academically, while simultaneously, school operating costs are reduced through cost effective heating, cooling, and lighting alternatives. These components promote the well being of students and have been found to increase academic performance, boost daily average attendance, and reduce health problems such as asthma, respiratory ailments, and seasonal affective disorder. We strive to make the school building energy efficient and healthy by using non-toxic surfaces, and employing hospital-grade "green" cleaning methods. Pristine natural areas are preserved on site and offer many outdoor experiences to foster a love of nature and provide fresh air. The school campus boasts basketball courts, an athletic field, age-appropriate playgrounds, nature trails, and gardens.
2. A Wise Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles Program
Establishing a healthy school breakfast, snack and lunch program, which provides nourishment and teaches children how to eat healthy for life, is the second part of our mission. Selecting and eating the right foods strengthen our children's immunity, help students maintain a healthy body weight, and boost their learning ability. Our program focuses on appropriate food portions within a balanced diet. Children are encouraged to eat plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and higher quality meats and protein items. Our Healthy Café offers regional and seasonal food selections, provides vegetarian options, and offers multi-cultural menu items. Each elementary classroom will plant and manages an organic garden. The bounty from each garden may be delivered to the Healthy Café staff for preparation and incorporation into the school meals. In this way, our children learn the value of growing and tending gardens as part of their health and nutrition curriculum. Odyssey Preparatory Academy does not participate in fast food fundraisers, candy sales, or food vending machines. Candy and "junk" foods are prohibited from the campus.
Every student at Odyssey participates in physical education to promote optimal health. Research states that daily physical exercise will enhance memory and deepened concentration. All children at Odyssey participate in the President's Challenge Program, which is sponsored by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Proper rest, relaxation, and stress management will provide a foundation for students to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
Instruction in Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles results from the collaboration of our classroom and physical education teachers to ensure instruction and activities support the goal. Classroom teachers use resources provided by the Center for Ecoliteracy, Teachers College at Columbia University, and Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. to develop lessons about maintaining health, producing food and sustaining life. In addition to meeting the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, the physical education program provides additional learning opportunities through participation in programs such as Walk to School Day, the President's Challenge Program, Jump Roper for Heart, Hoops for Heart, and field days.
3. Nurturing the Whole Child to Increase Academic Performance
The third ingredient in raising a radiant child is guiding students to reach their greatest potential. We see children as unique and holistic individuals who need to be provided with a school environment that challenges them academically while guiding, nurturing and building strength in physical, emotional, social and spiritual learning.
Mental Intelligence – Our goal is to help children develop self-mastery and become independent learners of academic information. Children master the necessary academic tools and skills in order to pursue knowledge with an understanding of how to conduct research. Children develop the cognitive abilities to analyze, to reason, to think abstractly, to use language, to visualize, and comprehend. Odyssey offers a dynamic and challenging curriculum providing unlimited academic growth for every student.
Physical Intelligence – The pathway to Physical Intelligence requires disciplined practice. Our goal is to help students craft an exercise, diet and fitness plan that will nourish them in a holistic way. They learn how to read their bodies' signs and to learn what their bodies tell them: what to eat, what not to eat, how eating requirements change, what exercise is appropriate, how to read their bodies signs that they have had too much or not enough exercise, how much rest they need, etc. Purposeful movement in our K-3rd grade Montessori classrooms helps to stimulate brain development. Application of Brain Gym activities enhances physical intelligence school-wide.
Emotional and Social Intelligence – Our students develop a good self-image and an awareness of their own feelings and consideration for the feelings of others. Through classroom meetings, students become problem solvers, develop cooperative skills, and learn to resolve conflicts peacefully leading to mutual respect and healthy classroom community. An integral part of our curriculum in growing healthy children is to teach them to make healthy choices, to assess risks, consider potential consequences, and to make healthy-enhancing decisions.
Spiritual Intelligence – Spiritual intelligence is considered one of the highest forms of intelligence, which develops as a result of the interwoven effect of a more evolved consciousness. Continued growth and exercise of the other intelligence domains guides the development of true principles that become part of our conscious action. It is linked to humanity's need for meaning and is used to develop our capacity for meaning, vision, and value. It allows us to dream and strive. Children are guided by their own conscience to develop the universal concepts of trustworthiness, kindness, respect, and honesty. Teachers set the stage for children to discover these "universal truths" and they assist each student to find his/her own voice and to use it for positive contributions to the ever-widening communities to which they achieve membership. We guide children to develop their spiritual intelligence by offering them choices and giving them the opportunity to develop their own unique gifts.