Presidio Knolls School was founded on the idea that a progressive educational model can be combined with rigorous Mandarin immersion to create a vibrant, innovative school where children will thrive.
In 2008, Presidio Knolls opened as a two-room preschool near the Presidio, embraced by a small group of families. As the idea took hold, the children blossomed, and demand for the Reggio Emilia-inspired Mandarin immersion program grew even faster than expected. Enrolled families soon sought to extend their children’s education at PKS beyond the preschool years into an equally inspiring elementary school.
In 2011, the Board of Trustees voted to open a K-8 program. We relocated to a spacious facility in the heart of San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood that would allow us to build a world-class school. Since that time we have added one grade per year along with an exceptional team of specialist teachers and experienced administrators to guide our continued growth.
In 2016, we purchased the entire multi-parcel property where our school is currently located, setting the stage for a large-scale renovation and master plan to be completed in the coming years. We expect our vision of a full preschool through eighth grade school to be realized by Fall 2020. As of the 2016-2017 school year, we serve approximately 320 students from 2.5 years old through fifth grade.
Presidio Knolls is a progressive Mandarin immersion school. We believe a child’s curiosity and compassion can transform the world.
Our mission is to nurture the young heart and mind in a joyful learning environment, where the convergence of progressive education and Mandarin immersion ignites curiosity, connectedness, and engagement in the world.
Through our rapid growth and relocation, PKS has remained devoted to the principles we established in 2008: a progressive learning and teaching environment with language development as a cornerstone of a child’s intellectual and personal growth. We believe children can be both deeply engaged in experiential learning and immersed in Mandarin. Our mission rests on six core values:
1. Progressive student-centered education
Our students engage with one another in a collaborative, hands-on learning environment that fosters curiosity, reflection, and resilience. We believe learning happens by doing.
2. Academic excellence
Our students reach high academic achievement. They master challenging material, solve authentic problems, and develop critical thinking, technological literacy, and communication skills.
3. Exceptional teachers
Our extraordinary teachers nurture students’ individual progress and cultivate a thriving classroom dynamic. Through robust professional training, they are constantly refining their strategies to bring the world’s best tactics to the classroom.
4. Comprehensive Mandarin immersion
Our students develop into highly proficient bilingual and biliterate communicators with an appreciation for Chinese culture.
5. Passionate and diverse school community
We have a diverse student population and a vibrant and engaged parent community. We expect and embrace parent participation in their children’s education. Parents play an ongoing role in the school as their children grow.
6. Continuous improvement
Progress is in our DNA. We will continue to design and deliver a world-class educational experience that incorporates all the best research and development. Part of the excitement of PKS is the amazing institution we are building together. Literally and figuratively, we strive each day to show our children that when a community comes together with determination and purpose, we can build something incredible.
Our Vision for PKS Graduates
Our first class of kindergarten students started in 2012. They will graduate from our middle school in 2021. When they do, they will be confident, curious, and creative. They will genuinely love school and love learning. Their education will have been driven by their own interests and curiosity, not by the expectations of others. They will be comfortable making mistakes because they will regard them as part of the learning process, not a catastrophe to be avoided. They will be resilient, and they will know that setbacks can be overcome by hard work and dedication.
In addition, PKS graduates will genuinely feel part of both the local community and our global society. Community service is an important part of education, and students will learn to advocate, engage, lead, and listen through meaningful work. Their understanding of Chinese culture and language will be a cornerstone to operating seamlessly across English- and Chinese-speaking countries.
Our vision for Presidio Knolls School graduates is that they will be:
Curious – They will relish learning in the pursuit of knowledge.
Creative – They will think independently and find novel ways to solve problems and express ideas.
Confident – They will be willing to take risks.
Collaborative – They will know how to engage with others to achieve excellence together.
Compassionate – They will mentor other students and give back to the broader community.
Engaged – They will commit wholeheartedly to interests and activities, including academics, sports, arts, and community service.
Bilingual and Bicultural – They will understand and be comfortable in two completely different languages and cultures, and they will value that the world is made up of many different kinds of people.
Hear from PKS Parents
Watch below to hear PKS parents explain what they love about the Presidio Knolls mission.
Photos: parent volunteers and John Lee