Santa Lucia School is a non-profit private school in California created to develop, educate, and empower a family of 48 first through eighth grade students by creating a nurturing, peaceful, multi-cultural learning environment. Our incredible staff and caring community help our students develop into amazing, happy, passionate individuals by providing the vision, inspiration and resources needed to empower our students that will change the world.
- Cooperation and Communication
- Conflict Resolution
- Global Awareness
- Love of Nature
The curriculum supports and encourages the child in the pursuit of self-knowledge. A positive self-image lies at the root of trusting human relationships. Many factors contribute to this process. The most basic is security, a feeling that comes from having had many experiences of being accepted and nurtured. Trust is built when a child knows that he or she is valued. From this base, children reach out, acquire skills, and become competent. This learning by doing requires unrushed time, room for mistakes, patient adults, and opportunities to experiment and express feelings. Cultivating self-esteem reduces feelings of helplessness, apathy, and inability to respond and brings feelings of trust, competence, and joy.
Talents, skills and capabilities unique to a child are respected. The natural desire to learn is protected through recognition of a variety of learning styles. A life-long love for learning develops when self-esteem is held as a primary goal.
Cooperation and Communication
First within the family, children experience the pleasures and difficulties of human connectedness. Their social actions increase with age and exposure to the larger world. They practice empathy and caring, developing concern for others. They learn about acceptance and change; they discover the benefits of cooperation. The actual practice of helping brings them a solid sense of competence. New friends and people in a wider school community enrich their social fabric and bring new opportunities for giving and taking. Concrete noncompetitive support of these positive tendencies enhances the children’s efforts.
In the child-centered learning environment the students are active participants. Dialogue is an important element of the day. Cooperative learning and shared inquiry develop self-respect and mutual acceptance. Peace education increases understanding of differences and fosters appreciation for the perspective of others.
Mediators, from children to international diplomats need a theoretical basis and practical experiences to develop skills for non-violent conflict resolution. Peace-making, like the history of war, can be taught as an integrated course of study. Time during each school day is devoted to learning and practicing skills for reaching win-win resolutions to problems.
The complex web of human interaction inevitably brings along conflict. Children struggle with ways of getting heard, obtaining things, and asserting their personalities. They experience conflict over needs not met and clashing of ideas. Much of this is part of a healthy growing-up process. To successfully develop personal power and gain ability to work things out with others takes much practice. With help from adults, children experiment with peaceful conflict resolutions, acquiring skills in communication and cooperation. Positive models contribute to their store of non-violent ways of seeing and acting, encouraging students to look for new solutions.
Our world requires much creative thinking and imagination to solve problems of personal relationships, technological problems, and international relations. The cultural view that imagination should be tamed, reserved for the stage, or turned into rational thinking, limits us all. Children naturally rely on their imagination. A high level of imagination helps children express their experiences and feelings.
Here a child’s natural imagination is cherished and nurtured. Each child is encouraged to picture new realities and solutions to open-ended questions. Artistic, creative, self-expressive subjects are the core of Santa Lucia’s integrated curriculum. We believe imagination will serve equally well the future environmentalist, scientist, artist, engineer, actor, and business person.
From the basis of a positive self-image, respect for people from a variety of cultures and races can be built. Children’s natural curiosity and interest in all that is new and different aid greatly in the exploration. Concrete experiences as close to home as possible provide a rich learning ground. Hearing different languages, observing different customs, eating unusual foods, listening to stories of far-off places, researching mysterious cultures, and traveling are some ways students can discover that people are similar in many ways and different in others. These experiences contribute to developing the “world family” concept of interdependence. Positive actions directly shape older students’ budding sense of social justice.
At Santa Lucia School students discover that the complexities of others are enriching. They learn that through interdependence we enhance each other’s well-being and celebrate cultural diversity. Through these personal experience students gain the understanding that there are many different and acceptable ways to be human. Respect for the unity that transcends our differences is learned through this multi-cultural awareness, a major thread of the curriculum.
Love of Nature
The understanding and feeling of connectedness with nature starts at an early age. Children from birth are naturally intrigued about their environment. Touching, looking, tasting, hearing and smelling are their ways of scientific discovery. To watch plants grow teaches about the wonders of transformation. Responsibility for tending grows out of a garden project and taking care of animals. Participation in recycling efforts gives children a sense of self-reliance, competence and stewardship for the earth. Opportunities to explore the natural environment in all seasons opens up doors to beauty and enjoyment.
Celebrating life through constant contact with the natural world allows a deep love and respect for nature to develop. Outdoor classrooms and frequent field trips focus on the beauty of the world outside. These direct experiences lead to permanent ties with the environment and a reverence for all life.