Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child
DIRECTOR: Meghan Hodgin
44 Blackburn Road, Summit, NJ, 7901
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Actions, not words.
It’s more than the mantra of education visionary Cornelia Connelly, whose teachings form the bedrock for Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child.
It’s a North Star.
“Our founder’s axiom is taken very literally here,” says Jennifer Landis, Oak Knoll’s Head of School. “Our graduates leave here with a sense of purpose and understanding about the world around them that prepares them for the next steps and beyond.”
A Global Network for Life
Oak Knoll was founded in 1924, based on Connelly’s Society of the Holy Child Jesus, which started in 1846 with a vision of teaching “the whole child” long before the approach became a staple of education. Now the society offers a worldwide web of 9 U.S. schools and 13 overseas.
“When students enroll in Oak Knoll, they are joining a global network for life,” Landis says. “Our students and families form bonds that last a lifetime and span well beyond our campus in Summit.”
That campus encompasses an independent school for boys and girls in pre-kindergarten through grade 6 (the Lower School). Grades 7-12 (the Upper School) are for young women.
And while it’s a global family, it’s a focus on the individual that defines education here.
“One of the most special aspects of the school is our focus on whole-child development,” Landis says. “When we think of that we think about how we tend to the social, emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual development of each child.”
Anything but Cookie Cutter
Oak Knoll offered hybrid, in-person classes last year and is looking forward to in-person teaching this year.
Those face-to-face encounters will feature several new and improved programs, including a co-educational pre-kindergarten program that launched in 2020 and a new signature confidence-building initiative for middle school girls. There is also increased social/emotional programming, including the “Character Strong” curriculum in the Lower School, and a new leadership-building program in the Upper School.
In addition, there are scores of clubs, extra-curricular groups, after-school activities, 15 varsity sports, an international-exchange program and diversity, equity, inclusion and justice initiatives.
“Families know that when they send their child to Oak Knoll, they are not getting a cookie-cutter education,” Landis says. “Their child will be encouraged to push boundaries, step outside their comfort zones and discover their passions.”