Now Enrolling Kindergarten & 1st Grade For Fall 2017!


VanDamme Academy is known for producing some of the best academically prepared students in Orange County. But there is something more, something altogether different - a bristling energy, a depth of discussion, a sincere joy in the endeavor to become educated – that sets the school apart. It is these qualities that prompted a recent graduate to write, "This school is the best thing that ever happened to me." It is these qualities that prompt parents, and visitors, and distant admirers to say, wistfully, “I wish I had gone to this school.”

What Is Unique About Our K-1 Program?

Our Philosophy

Students in our kindergarten and first grade program spend half of the school day in a Montessori based classroom and half the day in a traditional classroom. We believe that the Montessori approach to teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic is uniquely suited to children of this age group. The Montessori materials, which can be used in many ways across several subjects, are ingeniously designed to help students grasp abstract concepts by working with physical objects.

In the Montessori classroom, the teacher gives presentations to individuals or small groups of children while the rest of the students choose work from their repertoire of lessons. We have a complete set of Montessori materials for the students to choose from. Students work on individual or small-group activities within unstructured blocks of time as opposed to set school periods. The teacher ensures that students work consistently on a balance of subjects. 

In the traditional classroom, students study science and history, write compositions, practice handwriting, learn grammar, participate in book groups, develop math skills, learn about the calendar and seasons, and enjoy read-aloud time.


Our Curriculum

Like the rest of VanDamme Academy’s curriculum our K-1 curriculum is focused mainly on academic subjects. At the center of this program are the language arts: composition, penmanship, reading, and grammar. Two central goals of these classes are for students to emerge as independent readers and to be able to write in complete sentences. Math and geometry are also integral to our program. The Montessori math materials offer an outstanding grounding in the base 10 place value system, the four operations, geometry, and fractions. Students get excited about history and science in our traditional classroom. 

We do not assume any fluency in reading when we admit students to our kindergarten class; rather, we assess each child and tailor our program as much as possible to his or her ability, The flexibility of the Montessori classroom environment allows us to individualize presentations greatly. There is the potential, within our program, for the advanced student to move ahead quickly and the less advanced student to spend the necessary time mastering the three R’s.

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Now Enrolling Kindergarten & 1st Grade For Fall 2017!

Curriculum Overview

The following is a select list of topics that a student may cover in our program:


  • Reading fluency
  • Penmanship: printing cursive
  • Word study and spelling
  • Composition: from prompts, captions, narrations, dictation
  • Grammar: parts of speech, sentence analysis
  • Enrichment activities


  • Concepts of time
  • Fundamental requirements of human life, studied across time and across cultures
  • Stories and presentations about Ancient History, European History, and American History


  • Land and water forms of the world
  • Continents and oceans
  • Countries of North America, Europe, and other continents
  • States of the U.S.A
  • Animals around the world


  • Numeration to 1000
  • The four operations
  • Introduction to fractions
  • Money and measurement


  • Vocabulary of plane and solid figures
  • Types and parts of lines, angles, triangles, polygons, and circles
  • Concepts of congruency, similarity, and equivalence
  • Introduction to area


  • Five classes of vertebrae, insects
  • Parts and needs of plants
  • Basic topics in physics
  • Basic anatomy
  • Introductory geology


  • The four seasons and the calendar
  • Telling time on a clock
  • Tying shoes and lacing
  • Sewing and crafts

Now Enrolling Kindergarten & 1st Grade For Fall 2017!