VanDamme Academy

5.00 5 1 (2 reviews)
Tel: (949)510-4861
The school is located on the 2nd floor of the Temple Beth El in Aliso Viejo.
The school is located on the 2nd floor of the Temple Beth El in Aliso Viejo.
  • The proper goal of education is to foster the conceptual development of the child—to instill in him the knowledge and cognitive powers needed for mature life.
  • It involves taking the whole of human knowledge, selecting that which is essential to the child’s conceptual development, presenting it in a way that allows the student to clearly grasp both the material itself and its value to his life, and thereby supplying him with both crucial knowledge and the rational thinking skills that will enable him to acquire real knowledge ever after.
  • This is a truly progressive education—and parents and students should settle for nothing less.

School Overview

Grades Offered Grades Kindergarten-8

Student Body

Total Students 131 students
Student Body Type Co-ed
% Students of Color
State avg.: 43%
Students by Grade VanDamme Academy Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers 15 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio 9:1
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size 15 students
Classroom Dress Code Casual
(We allow the children to dress as they please as long as the clothing are appropriate for a school environment.)

Finances and Admission

Admission Deadline None / Rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost $10,950
Acceptance Rate
National avg.: 85%
Admissions Director Kate Watkins


Total ExtracurricularsTotal Extra-curric. 4 extracurriculars
ExtracurricularsExtra-curric. Academic Chess Club, Art Club, Drama Club, Spanish Art Club, Drama Club, Spanish, Academic Chess Club,

School Notes

  • VanDamme Academy began fifteen years ago, with a message on my answering machine. The message was from a family in Southern California, who were looking for a private, homeschool teacher for their two children, and who had heard from a mutual friend that I might be a good candidate for the job. At the time, I was pursuing an MA in Education at Penn State with the plan of teaching literature to high school students. Running my own little one-room schoolhouse was not something I had ever contemplated as a career path—it was not something I had even dreamed of. It took one sleepless night to decide that that was exactly what I wanted to do. I always say (only somewhat facetiously) that my motivation for taking the job was resentment for my own education. I had been a model student—good grades, good SAT scores, admitted to a good university—BUT: (1) I graduated from high school feeling thoroughly uneducated, and (2) I never loved school. At the time, I took those facts as a given, as I think most people do today. I now regard them as a travesty. This job would be an opportunity for me to offer my students an educational experience utterly unlike my own. I had the good fortune of being able to draw upon the experience of a few friends and family members of previous generations (particularly my grandparents) who were truly educated. Even in comparison to my most successful and talented peers, their education seemed not just different in degree, but different in kind. Whereas I graduated from thirteen years of school, including AP History classes, unable to generate even a bare-bones outline of history or rough sketch of the map of Europe, I distinctly remember asking my grandmother about the historic split between the Protestant and Catholic churches, and being regaled with a story compelling in plot, rich with detail, and fraught with meaning. Whereas I graduated from thirteen years of school, including AP English classes, having read and superficially discussed only the stock list of American “classics” (Catcher in the Rye, East of Eden, The Great Gatsby, etc.), my grandparents had read Dickens, and Tolstoy, and Ibsen, and Hugo, and could recite a poem to suit every occasion. Whereas my peers and I could crank out a passable five-paragraph essay, my grandparents’ writing was impeccably grammatical, exquisitely eloquent, and deeply insightful. They possessed the knowledge, the wisdom, and the depth of soul of truly educated people. My peers and I possessed a diploma. From those early days of the one-room schoolhouse to the present-day VanDamme Academy, my colleagues and I have devoted ourselves to the goal of producing students who emerge deeply educated and who love school. This is an ambitious and complex task, and I believe we the staff learn something new every day. But the essence of it is relatively simple.
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School Reviews

  5.00 out of 5  (2 reviews)
5  11/5/2014
Can not say enough great things about this school. the small class sizes help the the children grow at an amazing pace. This school has a no homework policy and the kids love learning because of it. My child knows more in first grade about history then most 5th graders i know. The woman who started the school, has a passion for quality education and makes sure her staff has the same passion. Growing up I hated school, and i feel so blessed to give my child the gift of loving it. It is under priced for what you get.
- Posted by
5  6/25/2013
We think the school is wonderful for our children. This is the first school they have been thrilled to be at. We also see great improvement in the kids'' academic work, and more importantly, they are interested. The teachers'' passion for their profession is also very apparent, and rubs off on the kids. Great little school.
- Posted by

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Did You Know?
The average private school tuition in Orange County, CA is $8,549 for elementary schools and $17,962 for high schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).
The average acceptance rate in Orange County, CA is 88% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).