Unique Aspects of the Santa Lucia School Program
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.
As dramatic world events unfold daily, Santa Lucia School continues to mature and make positive contributions to the primary goals of education. Throughout the educational process the themes of human fulfillment, global cooperation, and ecological responsibility are stressed. Many believe the product of education should be happy well-rounded persons capable of finding purpose in and giving direction to their own lives. Rather than simply dispensing a body of facts, the school’s role is to encourage independent thinking. The goals of innovative education are incorporated into the program at Santa Lucia School.
The curriculum supports the child in pursuit of self-knowledge. The unique talents and abilities of each person are respected. The natural desire to learn is protected through recognition of a variety of learning styles. A life-long love of learning develops when self-esteem is held as a primary goal.
Cooperation & Communication
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. This school is unique in its ability to incorporate many world-wide peace traditions into its curriculum.
Finding the complexities of others to be enriching and learning how we enhance each other’s well being. Students learn that there are many different and acceptable ways to to be human. Respect for the unity that transcends our differences is learned through multi-cultural awareness, a major thread of the curriculum.
Mediators, from children to international diplomats, need a theoretical basis and practical experience 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 practical skills for resolving problems.
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. Imagination will serve equally well for the future environmentalist, scientist, artist and business person.
Love of Nature
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. These direct experiences lead to permanent ties with the environment and a reverence for all life.
For over 30 years, Santa Lucia has been focused on holistic education and development of the whole child. We have honored each child’s individuality and differing needs in their learning and development process. And because we know that our natural state of being is one of peace, that we are drawn to be in communion with and be stewards of nature, and that as social beings we seek to work with others, we are attentive to these elements at Santa Lucia.
We engage in activities to support our students and ourselves in being in a peaceful state, we regularly spend time in nature and take responsibility for maintaining it, and we strive to work well with each other across the members of our school community, and we teach how to communicate appropriately and peacefully when our views are at odds. By paying attention to these types of things, we seek to play our role in fostering a future society that positively supports human growth the development through the lifespan and maximizes the unique creative potential of each human being.
We recognize that capacities emerge in students at fairly predictable stages, while also allowing room for individual rates of maturation. This appreciation underlies both the organization of the curriculum and the teaching methods.
Until age six or seven children learn primarily through physical activity, imagination and imitation. Young children drink in the images of fairy tales and stories, developing their capacity for inner picturing, which becomes the basis for literacy and future critical thinking skills. In the Primary classroom, children learn best when academics are conveyed through painting, drama, music, storytelling and other direct kinesthetic experiences that stir their emotions. A sense of beauty weaves throughout the day, engaging children in their learning.
In Middle School academics continue to be brought through the arts, but the pictorial thinking of the earlier grades now turns toward more abstract thinking. Teaching methods adapt to this change. The methods in this classroom stimulate higher-level intellectual skills and higher order thinking. This is the time when imagination, carefully cultivated in the early years, is transformed into skills of convergent, divergent, analytic, synthetic, and evaluative thinking.
Community is at the heart of our school. Together, students, parents, colleagues, and friends strive to create an environment that enriches and inspires the human spirit. We commit to the following:
A Respect for Childhood and Adolescence
We respect the developmental phases of the human being and are committed to a mindful pedagogy that nurtures each student’s natural capacities to discover and grow.
A Healthy Social Life
We strive to work collaboratively with one another in an inclusive and supportive community. To that end, we exhibit compassion, respect and understanding.
Supportive Teacher, Student Relationships
We cultivate meaningful relationships between our teachers and students, creating a supportive and engaging environment throughout the student’s years at Santa Lucia and beyond.
We engage dedicated, skilled and artistic teachers who are capable of enlivening education and inspiring each student’s love of learning.
An Engaged Spirit
We inspire our students to discover the vital connection between the spirit of the individual and the spirit in the world, where each individual’s spiritual nature is uniquely recognized and honored, and their private beliefs respected.
Stewardship and Initiative
We cultivate a capacity for moral discernment that inspires personal initiative, social responsibility, environmental stewardship and an active involvement in the world.
An Enriched and Vibrant Community
We engage in authentic experiences with one another, by providing opportunities for personal enrichment, social connections, and meaningful work.
“Must we always teach our children with books? Let them look at the stars and mountains above. Let them look at the waters and the trees and flowers on Earth. Then they will begin to think, and to think is the beginning of a real education.” – John Muir