Many parents who care deeply about education find themselves with limited options. Private schools require not only a large financial commitment but often overemphasize academics at the expense of the whole child. Public schools, suffering from lack of funding and chronic overpopulation, cannot provide for the individuality of our children nor offer them the guidance and nurturing that are so important during these years.
As an independent non-profit institution, Topanga Mountain School provides an alternative. Within a stimulating and personalized program, we aim to endow the student with a sense of personal responsibility and motivation. TMS brings a sense of adventure and fun to education. Along with high standards, our approach encourages students to blossom and grow as well-balanced, caring individuals, always curious and willing to learn.
first came across TMS we were impressed, curious, and perhaps a bit suspicious.
The students seemed remarkably mature and self possessed; the faculty bright
and kind. But was it really possible that a culture this open and friendly and a
school this small could prepare our daughter for the realities of high school
and the world beyond?
Worse still, our daughter didn't want to go, preferring to stay with her friends from elementary school. After much deliberation, we insisted that she try it for a year, and after a few months she said the words every parent longs to hear: "You were right and I was wrong." Three years later, she is thriving in a large high school and better prepared for it both academically and socially than we could have hoped or imagined."
- Michael & Nina Neill
“We love Topanga Mountain School! TMS has provided a creative, supportive and stimulating environment that has enabled our daughter to reach her intellectual and spiritual potential. We don’t know of any other school that is as concerned with the holistic growth of each individual student as well as the dynamic interaction and growth of the students as a group. TMS also helps the students to better understand and appreciate their roles and contributions to society and to the world. The commitment of the staff at Topanga Mountain School to know each student so well and how the students relate to each other is just amazing! The students, teachers and parents of Topanga Mountain School all work together to create a community and family. We are proud and feel very lucky to be part of this fantastic school!”
- Barry & Louise Kohan
"I just wanted to tell you how glad I was to experience graduation last night. What a beautiful group of kids and what a great job you’ve done with them. They were so bright and gorgeous and funny, and what was most striking was how happy they were – happy to be there with you, their teachers, and each other. Nearly everyone spoke about how much love and support they got from one another, how they regarded their schoolmates as their family. It also amazed me how well they articulated the lessons they had learned, and how for each of them, the things they learned academically were overshadowed by what they learned about life, and how much they grew as people. I don’t think there are that many 8th graders who even give a second’s thought to how they are developing as people, much less make it into a clearly articulated goal the way that these kids have.
What I loved hearing more than anything was a graduating student talking about how she used to want to be “normal”, but now she likes who she is and no longer cares about normalcy. Wow, what a clear and important message to have gotten across, and at such a young age. How much healthier and better off would all kids be if only they could really feel that and believe it.
At last year’s graduation, when it was my own kid sitting up there, I was overwhelmed with emotion watching him mark this milestone alongside his classmates. But last night the same feelings hit me all over again, as I watched another class get up and talk about their rite of passage, their sit spots, their circle, the friends they made….. All of which should prove to you that your ideas work, Joy: Hiring young, teachers with huge amounts of energy and charisma, and giving them room and freedom, letting them bond as closely as they can to the kids and be the role models that kids crave. Encouraging the kids to develop new interests, try new things, challenge themselves, and mentor each other. Embracing individuality, bringing out the beauty inside, and making school as fun as a kid has any right to expect…I’m awestruck with what you’ve been able to accomplish and I earnestly wish you continued success over many, many years."
- Jackie Scheidlinger