InWonder Academy : A New Independent School in San Clemente


Education is a big deal. And as moms, we often start to think about preschool programs and what schools are best in our area basically when the baby starts walking. We learned about, InWonder Academy, a new independent elementary school in San Clemente and we can’t wait to share more about it with you!

inwonder academy

InWonder Academy just opened its doors in September 2022. The school has a unique philosophy, small class sizes, and they have some events coming up! We got to chat with one of the Co-Founders, Marissa Goldenstein, to get all the details:


OCMC: Tell us a little bit about your philosophy at InWonder Academy.

Marissa: “Our philosophy is unique and developed by us. It starts with 3Cs – Curiosity, Connection, and Community, which translate into emergent and child-inspired curriculum, project-based learning, social and emotional integration, and nature immersion as well as real-world context integration. At InWonder, follow our student’s natural curiosities so that learning is intrinsically motivated. Driven by their own curiosity and supported by our WONDER learning model, students dive into hands-on projects and develop a deep understanding and real application of core academic skills such as math, science, writing, and critical thinking.”


OCMC: What makes your school unique?

Marissa:The most unique parts of the InWonder learning experience are: 

  • Small groups for individualized learning (1:5 – 1:8 ratios) 
  • Family partnership that includes families in the learning journey in flexible ways that meet each family’s unique needs. There are no requirements to participate, but rather invitations to engage and join in when/if it works for you. 
  • Mindfulness is integrated into our learning. We start each day with Mindful Mornings where parents/caregivers are invited to join us in a moment of mindfulness and connection before saying goodbye. We do movement, breathing, and take a moment to engage as a community before we all start our day. 
  • Documentation. We are inspired by Reggio Emilia and documentation supports our learning process. We share these documentation pieces with our families through daily updates in an app, a monthly newsletter called the InWonder Insider, and a weekly Friday Family update email with reminders about upcoming events, etc. “


We are so grateful to have some amazing school options in Orange County. Public, Private, Independent, Etc. There are options for each family to find their perfect fit. And we are definitely adding InWonder Academy to our list that we share with other moms!


A couple of additional things to note:

Thanks to InWonder Academy for working with us on this article!