The first grade blue class is in their third week of their building unit. There is tension in the air as students fly around the classroom putting the finishing touches on their projects before the final exhibition on Friday. Some projects boast tall towers made of cardboard, while others are short, squat structures secured by wooden columns, but they all have one thing in common: they were handmade and designed by a first grade student with the intent of learning about buildings.
We’re a global family. My wife grew up in Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese and Mandarin. My brother is a Judaic Studies professor in Norway. I studied in the U.S. and Israel and served as a Peace Corp volunteer in China (I taught at Guizhou University in the southwest of the country). My wife and I met at Cornell. Ines is a Wall Street banker—I’m a Panda dad. Our daughter will start preschool at PKS in the fall, and we have a one-year-old son and a rat terrier named Tudou. He’s very handsome.
We are delighted to share some exciting news -- PKS now has a Head of Middle School! Our Middle School will open for 6th grade students in August 2018. Mike Levy has recently accepted our offer to join PKS as the founding Head of Middle School, starting in July 2017.
This kind of natural evolution is a planned accident. “We don’t have a curriculum for the whole school year planned out,” says Daisy. “We have basic skills and goals that we want to develop, and we follow the children’s interests.”
I can't imagine education any other way. We loved the Reggio style in the PKS preschool. This transitioned nicely into the elementary school's philosophy as a progressive school. Our kids are certainly more motivated when following their own interests. They take ownership of their work. Having seen his brother do the traditional PKS self-guided Wonder Works project twice now, our younger son is excited about his Wonder Works project next year. His idea for a topic changes weekly.
Children learn a new language productively and efficiently in an authentic environment. First and foremost, encourage your child to have a positive attitude toward learning Mandarin.
On Saturday, March 4, we came together as a community to express our values of caring and resilience at our first-ever PKS Red Cross Blood Drive. In honor of our former Head of School Lee Drolet’s daughter, children talked about the importance of giving blood, encouraged adults to donate, and even signed up to volunteer at the blood drive themselves!
While the students spend the majority of their day learning in Mandarin, English at PKS is truly a special time of day! Currently, our students receive 45 minutes of daily dedicated English instruction, often in collaboration with their Units of Exploration. Reading and Writing Workshop is also part of our daily practice. Stop by any time of day and you will see our teachers modeling reading and writing for students and students engaged in independent reading and writing. You will also see students actively sharing reading and writing strategies with each other.
Presidio Knolls School embraced our first children and families in 2008, launched our elementary school program with visionary Pioneer families in 2012, and will make history again by welcoming our first middle school students in 2018. We believe middle school is a unique and critical time of development for students to explore and develop a strong positive sense of self through meaningful relationships and real-world connections. Our graduates will be lifelong learners with the mindset and skillset to make an impact on the world.
It’s 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 4. Dozens of parent volunteers are buzzing around campus, rushing to put up the final decorations for the daylong celebration. Photo booth props are laid out to the sound of the band tuning their instruments, a string of flags is pinned up under the main tent, and Master Leo’s lion costumes sit waiting to be brought to life.
When I was little, I was a very active kid. I always wondered about things and was always asking “what if” and “why.” I remember I would just go out and play in nature since we lived very close to a stream and a big hill, and I was so fascinated by those living plants and creatures. I kept asking questions about them. Later, when I could read more, I found answers to many of my questions. I think that was my first inquiry-based learning, and although it was not a full experience, it still has helped me shape my learning habits.
Concurrent with the ongoing Rectory renovation project, the PKS Master Plan team has recently kicked off the architectural schematic design work for the new Front and Back buildings that will surround the main campus courtyard. We look forward to sharing these designs in the coming months.