You're invited to see why The Barclay School may be just what your child needs

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The word "weakness" has no place for children with diverse strengths at The Barclay School in Fairfield County.

The school uses unconventional lessons as an alternative teaching method to learn life skills. It's been so successful, the school just moved to a larger location. Dr. Gillian Barclay-Smith is the school head.

She's inviting the public to The Barclay Open House Thursday, Nov. 9 from 1 to 6 pm at 1364 Cook Road in Ridgeway. There will be food, refreshments, and lots of fun touring the school and meeting the kids.

Dr. G says the students are very excited to show you their art pieces and everything else they've been working on at the new school. The school touts a rich, diverse curriculum and uses the outdoors to create a nurturing environment for students who need creative, hands-on methods to learn.

About once a week, the students roast coffee beans. Learning entrepreneurial business skills, they sell their product and the money goes for scholarships for the school.  An emphasis is put on the quality and history of the beans.

They also take the waste from their bunny and create a plant fertilizer called Bunnies Brew.  These activities and numerous other ones are used at this independent, private non-profit to teach students who, otherwise, could fall through the cracks.

Dr. Barclay-Smith started the school knowing "cookie cutter" learning wasn't for her as a child and isn't for others today. With a doctorate in education and years of teaching in traditional settings, she later designed The Barclay School for children with special learning needs to celebrate their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses.

To buy the Bunnies Brew, visit the Barclay School website at And to help the students, you can donate empty wine bottles, books, paper, crayons, bunny food, goat food, clothes, shoes, tuition money, gift cards to movie theatres and bowling alleys.

Also, if you have a talent to share - like pottery, music or painting, you could donate your time showing the children what you do. You can reach The Barclay School at 803-629-6318.

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