Woodland Hall Academy: A Unique Learning Environment

How much effort goes into helping bright kids with dyslexia or Attention Deficit Disorders (ADHD) become successful in all areas of their lives? Two administrators, eight teachers, two support staff, parents, and grandparents focus on the needs of 25-30 students each year at Woodland Hall Academy (WHA). This individualized focus changes lives!

Before WHA: “We would end the (homework) session in tears!… No matter how hard he tried, his efforts rarely met with success. He stopped trying….”

After being at WHA, the same parent reported, “He is a much happier child…. Now he takes responsibility for his actions… He can handle most of the frustrations of dyslexia…He manages his time, his homework, his life! All without the intervention of drugs!”

Is it just the adult/student ratio that turned this parent’s comments from frustration to joy? It helps, but Woodland Hall Academy offers more than just a small adult/student ratio.

A Different Atmosphere

When you enter Woodland Hall Academy, a positive “learning hum” is in the air. You notice the level of activity within each class. Some students are working with mathequipment, while others may be standing and reciting information. Teachers shift activities within a class every three minutes. Teachers are in constant motion with the students, leaning over a shoulder, patting a back, or demonstrating an idea. These are children who must move to learn, so WHA has developed techniques to allow them to do so productively.

Study skills, organizational skills, and interpersonal skills are modeled and practiced in all classes in a consistent manner. Courteous behavior is taught and expected of all the students towards the adults and each other. “Yes, ma’am” and “Yes, sir” float through the air.

One visitor asked, “Where are the ADHD kids?” The administrator pointed to all of the children in a group. “But they are focused and on-task. Are they all on medication?”

According to Ms. Mitchell, WHA’s principal, “None of our students with ADHD are on medications to control their behaviors. Changing the way the teachers instruct the students, and working with parents on behavioral, nutritional and biochemical issues, children with ADHD can learn to control and focus on their own.”

A Unique Program

Founded in 1975 by Patricia K. Hardman PhD, Woodland Hall Academy’s program serves bright children who have dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders, or related language/learning differences. Based on research in the fields of education, psychology and biochemistry, Dr. Hardman has developed a nationally recognized program called The Hardman Technique which is a Multisensorial Structured Language Education Program.

“We must learn to teach children the WAY THEY LEARN, not expect them to learn the way we teach.” This is Dr. Hardman’s credo. Children with dyslexia and ADHD learn differently. Teachers at WHA undergo rigorous training throughout the school year and earn a Teacher Certification recognized by The International Multisensorial Structured Language Education Council and International Dyslexia Association.

Parent Interaction a Positive

Prior to enrollment at Woodland Hall Academy, if a parent was called by their child’s school, the parent immediately flinched and wondered what his child had done that day. Rarely did a parent get called with good news.

Before coming to WHA, one frustrated parent received a note from the teacher saying, “J needs help with his homework, please spend some time reviewing it with him.” The parent had spent 4 hours the previous night working with J on his homework!

Needless to say, the frustration level of parents with their children’s school is high. One parent says, “He wasn’t disruptive, (he just withdrew) so it was easy to push him away from the “normal” learners.”

At WHA parents are involved in workshops, individual consultations, and observations of their children in the classroom. Parents learn the unique way their children process information and learn. They are taught techniques to help their children develop better and more positive habits and behaviors.

My Child has a Future

“My child couldn’t read a word in 4th grade, but let him listen to the History Channel and he could tell you all about inventions and historical subjects. We moved from Port St. Joe because we knew he wasn’t learning where we were.”

“He is a freshman in Tallahassee State College. He is trying to decide on a major in engineering or finance. This would not have happened without Woodland Hall! He has a future.”

Woodland Hall Academy’s goal is to teach children how to become independent learners. Some children graduate from WHA, but many return as successful students to public or private schools after an average three year stay.

If your bright child has dyslexia or ADHD or he/she is SMART BUT……struggling in school call Woodland Hall Academy at (850) 893-2216. This unique program could open the future for your child. Enrolling for Summer Reading Program and Full Time School.