Looking Forward

A Unique Schooling Opportunity for 1st-8th Graders

In our midst on the Central Coast is a special school — Santa Lucia School (SLS). Located on 5 acres of wooded property, bounded on one side by a creek and founded on principles of Peace Education and the development the whole child, SLS has been serving families on the Central Coast for over 30 years. Following the retirement of our founder, we now have a new generation of experienced, like-minded educators at the school who are bringing new ideas and perspectives to enhance the rich, authentic, engaging, learning opportunities that have been the hallmark of the school.

Time spent in nature is integral to the learning experience at SLS, and this past year we added a natural building area where our primary grade students use materials from nature to create constantly evolving art forms and structures. Weekly excursions to our seasonal creek provide opportunities for swimming, rock collecting and trading, and the perspective of our natural world that can only be experienced while immersed in Mother Nature.

Using the arts as a means of expression is a hallmark of the school and a critical component in the hands-on learning process that nurtures the whole child. Different art forms provide unique ways for our students to invent and represent their thinking. Our middle school students utilized the arts last year in making models of Egyptian masks to enhance their study of ancient civilizations and models of a human kidney while studying human body systems.

All of our students learn to work with clay from day one, starting with making their own cups to use for drinking water, fired in our kiln at the beginning of each school year.

SLS draws philosophically from Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools and from holistic, nature-based, and peace education curriculums. Like Montessori schools, we have multi-age classes: primary, grades 1-3; intermediate, grades 4-6; middle school, grades 7-8. This helps us accommodate different rates of development and have children of different ages learn from, and mentor, one another.

We honor each child’s uniqueness and our teachers design learning opportunities that provide choices and varying levels of challenge to enable students to work at the level best for them. As a result, students develop confidence in their capabilities which supports self-esteem.

Like Waldorf schools, we believe that imagination is key to learning. Our imagination helps us make the leaps needed to consider and understand the world in new ways. Like Reggio Emilia schools, we are focused on experiential learning based upon principles of respect and responsibility to the community including our school and our world.

Students have responsibility for keeping their classroom and the school organized and clean; they are taught strategies for peaceful conflict resolution; and we employ practices that promote environmental stewardship, such as minimizing the presence of single-use plastics, composting food scraps, and maintaining a school garden.

To accomplish these things with students, our classes are small (≈16 students) and each class is staffed by a full-time credentialed teacher and a full-time instructional aide. We work closely with parents, who contribute through activities such as chaperoning field trips, setting and cleaning up for special events, and maintaining school facilities and grounds. Together, these features help create a strong community of adults and students to support our collective growth and development toward the betterment of the world.

For more information about the school, please Contact Us!