Evan & Kat: passionate parents and AGE School founders
Between us, we’ve led businesses, represented New Zealand, travelled the world and seen first-hand how people in other cultures live and raise their families. Today we are the proud parents of three wonderful children. Having our first child, Branson, made us pause and think carefully about education - more specifically, what kind of education would suit kids like him.
Branson has a real spark about him and some amazing talents. When he was three, we realised that there was no way that he was going to fit into the square box that most public and private schools encourage students to fit into. Branson was a different kind of shape to this and we didn’t want him to have to fit their traditional mould. To be restricted in his thinking. To not be able to develop his talents or truly become who he’s meant to be. We really didn’t want our boy to lose his spark.
We felt there had to be a better way. A school with a more comprehensive view of learning - where wellbeing, personal passions and emotional intelligence were as important as getting good grades. When our other two kids were born and we saw the shape of their personalities emerge, we thought about this again. Did we really want any of our children to go into an environment that will standardise and stifle them?
So we started searching and soon realised we weren’t the only parents looking for a new kind of school - a progressive, safe space that would nurture and celebrate the uniqueness of every child.
We first heard about forward-thinking schools like this when we lived overseas. We visited places like Blue School in New York and Assets School in Hawaii. Later, we looked into Green School Bali. We loved how these schools were about connecting with nature, embracing creativity and approaching teaching in new ways. Their layout and look was quite different too - the design of learning environments is a big thing for us, as you’ll see in the images of our new building under ‘School’.
So, inspired by those amazing overseas schools, the best gifted and talented learning models, and with a vision of education shared by inspirational leaders like Richard Branson and Elon Musk, we set out to create a school where our children and others would truly thrive. In 2017, AGE School was born.
We wanted it to be a place that supported the growth of children's minds, bodies and spirits. Both of us feel it’s so important to support emotional development as well as intellectual development in kids - so building EQ and IQ is at the heart of what AGE School is about today.
The school needed to be small enough to be nurturing, nimble and allow children to work at their own level. A size that meant students wouldn’t get lost in the crowd, and would always feel included. This matters a lot to us, as we believe emotionally healthy young people are those with a strong sense of belonging - connected to where they learn, to other students and to the community outside of the school.
Our vision was ambitious, yet the end goal was simple. We dreamed of a school where the children would go on to become young adults who know who they are, understand their gifts and approach life with a passion for learning and participation.
We invite you to join us on this journey, to experience the school that we imagined not just for our kids, but for your kids too.
Evan Christian and Katherine Allsopp-Smith