The environment of the Wonderwood Academy is the key to our students’ success in their personal lives. The academy is a place of kindness and patience, where individuality is valued and each student’s progress is on his or her own schedule. It is a place of challenge, where each student is expected to work hard, to grow in responsibility, to be courteous and respectful, and to learn to accept challenges. It is a place where exceptional teachers, caring staff members, friends, family, and community members all believe in one concept: that our students are intelligent, charming, talented, capable people who have the potential to learn, to serve, to create, and to contribute.
Personal maturity. Like every other young adult, our students love their families, but they look forward to independence someday, too. We place great emphasis on preparing them for the time when they will independently prepare their own meals, choose good friends, consider the future, and spend their money wisely. Weighing consequences, using self-control, and increasing self-motivation are part of everything we teach at the school.
Social relationships. Our daily schedule integrates many opportunities for friendships with other students at the academy, and also with non-disabled peers who spend time with our students at the school and in the community. During the last hour and a half of every day, students and peers enjoy recreational activities, from dance to volleyball to cross-country skiing. Family relationships remain important to our students, and families are invited to participate in dozens of ways throughout each term.
Talent development. Students have daily opportunities to stretch themselves and develop their gifts through elective classes. An exciting new selection of electives will be offered every term. Choices might include
  • Watercolor painting
  • Musical instrument
  • Bridges and models
  • Voice lessons
  • Electricity
  • Personal grooming
  • Foreign language
  • Drawing
  • Drama
  • Rocketry
  • Movies and media
  • Astronomy
  • Crafts
  • Wildlife
  • Gardening
  • Photography
  • Sewing
  • Animal care
As additional electives every morning, students attend their choice of Rise and Shine, a quick morning workout class, or Institute, a religious instruction class.

Physical and emotional health is especially important for young people with Down syndrome. We teach wise food choices, awareness of germs, improved hygiene, and an active lifestyle, but our students’ health goes beyond even those things. At the academy, medical professionals advise us on issues such as anxiety, depression, frequent illnesses, heart murmurs, hearing loss, and sleep disorders. Students remain under the care of their own personal medical providers, but we have full-time emergency personnel and aware staff members who communicate with family members and keep an eye out for concerning symptoms or behaviors.

Learn more about our Research.