Peninsula School feels like an oasis of calm in high pressured Silicon Valley. It was founded in 1925 by a group of Stanford faculty and spouses who weren't happy with the "factory" model of education in the public schools. Josephine Duveneck was the first principal of the school (she created Hidden Villa in Los Altos, her home) and was dedicated to a model of progressive education. Important to progressive educators are learning useful skills (ie, wood working, weaving, ceramics, gardening), freedom to play, the abillity to express oneself in the classroom, democratic modeling, community jobs, developing critical thinking skills in all academic subjects, and freedom of artistic expression (music, art, drama). All of these ideals that were formed in the 1920's still hold true today. Children are engaged in their learning, joyful in the classroom and are able to take risks academically without feeling judged. As a trained teacher in progressive education in Boston, MA, I was skeptical about the "hippie school" I had heard about. After the school day tour, I was so excited to see a school that was vibrant and true to the progressive ideals. A hidden treasure in the valley.
Peninsula School's a treasure. Freed from endless mindless worksheets and "teaching to the test," kids develop a passion for learning and really WANT to go to school. Graduates are well-rounded, articulate, mature and self-assured. Curriculum includes social-emotional development and conflict resolution (class meetings). Kids pursue their interests as they are challenged to master difficult material w/real world applications. Plus there's pottery, visual arts, floor loom weaving, wood shop (avail. 1st- 8th). Music thrives here (choir for K-3; rock bands for 4-8th). Low student-teacher ratio is key, with excellent teachers. I went to preschool at Peninsula in the 60's (and am a UC Berkeley trained lawyer). Our friends' Peninsula kids graduated w/ honors & later got PhDs from places like Tufts, Oberlin, Princeton, UCLA and Stanford. Our daughter, who attended preK-8th grade ('99 - '13), tested into advanced classes at M-A as did most classmates. About half of her class wanted to pursue rigorous private High Schools and all tested into places like Castilleja, Sacred Heart, Crystal Springs, Notre Dame, etc. This school is NOT mainly for people w/learning disabilities.
I went to Peninsula for 11.5 years, and loved it. If you go there, you'll always be the oddball in the classroom once you leave--you're the one who puts in extra work on assignments, makes friends with professors and staff alike, feels ok doing Opera and CS research. Peninsula gave me a sense of self and of my own worth. It let me know learning was ok, and helped me form a community of support which I (a Junior at Carnegie Mellon University) am still relying on. The common concerns (students don't spend enough time on spelling and testing) come out silly. I graduated with honors from one of the toughest technical high schools in the Bay Area--and managed to keep my love of learning (by the skin of my teeth). Peninsula is not for everyone, but for some of us, it was nearly perfect.
The whole philosophy of learning that is unique to the school makes it a magical place to learn.
Because my granddaughter goes there. The teachers are Fantastic! Enthusiasm infectious!Wonderful environment!
My 9 year old told me he'd figured out that 'the best time to get sick is right after school on Friday, 'cause then you'll probably be better by Monday morning'... I think that says it all!
My wife and I both attended metrics-driven, Catholic schools as kids. So choosing Peninsula School, a pre-K to 8th grade alternative school, was not a natural choice. However, we made the choice after careful study and some skepticism. No grades or report cards at Peninsula School, which took some getting use to. However, our daughter has thrived there after 4+ years. She is bright, curious, and socially adept. Most Peninsula kids graduate with superior critical thinking skills and higher levels of maturity. Several well-known CEOs have sent their kids to the school. I can also say with certainty that 8th graders move on to top high schools and colleges. Peninsula kids test well and college admission folks like the school's reputation.
I am a current parent at this school. From nursery through first grade we had a great experience. If your child has a learning disability be prepared to get zero help from the school except recommendations for tutoring.
My son has spent 7 years (nursery - 5th grade) at Peninsula and has had an exceptional experience. He is a unique and engaged individual, in part, I believe, because of the unique school experience he has had. Students interact directly with the staff and act as if they 'own' the school. It's a wonderful experience for parents who trust the process and don't feel they or their kids need the goal posts of grades to validate that they are learning 'enough'. In general, Peninsula kids go on to be very successful in all forms of High School and interesting, engaged individuals in life.
Peninsula School is amazing, so if you want your children to have a great education with great teachers and an amazing campus Peninsula is the place for you.
A classic progressive school, one of the best in the US. If 'academics' means critical thinking and problem solving skills, knowing how to learn, then Peninsula's academics are world-class. It's not for everyone, true. You must believe that kids are allowed to love school. You must want your child to grow up loving learning and knowing how to think critically. You need to know the difference between test-taking and learning. If these things are true, then Peninsula is for you. Extracurricular activities are first-rate, including a wide range of arts, weaving, and an incredible music program culminating in an annual concert.
As being an outside observer and watching the daily happening at Peninsula School and who want the best for all children, this is not the place. I can rattle off all the problem I saw while I was there, but the list would be endless and that has nothing about the leadership, teaching quality, etc... Educational excellence is not their strong point, they think letting a child be free to do as they want is a good thing. So if your child is an over achiever they could do really well here, but if not, they will most likely suffer. But I do have to say parent involvement is extreme good. Overall rating
A school that really celebrates and honors childhood. Great for encouraging independent thinking and creativity. Social and emotional growth strongly emphasized and encouraged.
A great school in the younger grades, especially if academics are not too important to you. Again, younger children can benefit from the great arts and crafts, wonderful nursery school teachers and the loving environment fostered by parents and teachers.
This school is excellent for social and emotional development. However, not all children will both academically and emotionally thrive here. If you send your child to Peninsula, keep close track of their academic and problem solving skills development. Because the children are not academically measured, learning issues that exist sometimes will not surface as quickly. You should also be committed to staying until 8th grade, because the school keeps almost no records of your childs progress and the curriculum is so far behind other schools until middle school years where they catch up. Look carefully through the entire school program if you are considering this school for a young child to make sure that you have a concrete understanding of what you are signing up for. It is a fabulous place for many children but parents should enter with eyes open.
Peninsula School is a truly magical place. The kids are free to go barefoot, play in the mud, climb trees and build forts. They are nurtured and supported as they learn to resolve conflict, work in teams, and face academic challenges with determination and imagination. This school is definitely worth a visit if you're searching for an educational environment that emphasizes mutual respect and celebrates childhood, community, and learning.
Excellent progressive school that focuses on the development of the whole child. Our 3.5 year daughter started attending the school six weeks ago and loves it. The teachers are committed professionals and each child is respected as an individual. We are looking forward to see our daughter thrive in this environment.
Peninsula School has been fabulous for our two kids. Both have been going there since age 3 (nine years now). Peninsula School provides a progressive education, a non-confrontational and developmental learning experience. This has been a successful combination since 1925. Strong in the arts, with small class sizes, this school is not caught up in the current fad of school testing or teaching to the test. Children are respected for who they are and graduate confident, secure, educated adolescents who know how to learn, and how to ask good questions. Our family has built a life around making sure we keep our kids at Peninsula School. It's that important to us.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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