Why Presidio Knolls School?
Innovating at the Intersection of Mandarin Immersion and Progressive Education
The world of our childhood is vastly different from the world our children will inherit. Here at Presidio Knolls School, we seek to prepare our students to thrive in that future, whatever it may look like. That means we teach our students how to use and contextualize the skills and knowledge they acquire—not just memorize facts for the sake of grades and test scores.
Our 21st century curriculum works at the intersection of Mandarin immersion and progressive education. The cognitive benefits of learning a second language are well-recognized—stronger executive functioning, better spatial reasoning, and enhanced cultural empathy to name a few. But the way we approach immersion (full immersion through 5th grade and 50% through middle school, with yearly travel to China starting in 5th grade) adds the additional benefit of ensuring that our students graduate fully bilingual and bicultural.
Being bicultural expands our students’ world views—they know more, and they know differently. We combine immersion with a progressive pedagogy that works with a child’s natural inquisitiveness and desire to do, to make, to experiment, and to be involved with the world around them. Learning takes place in the classroom, but also in the greater world outside the classroom—from the streets of San Francisco to the mountains of China. Through these experiences, our graduates become creative, resilient, and adaptable global leaders.
Social Emotional Learning
Preparing students to live healthy, connected, just, and successful lives starts with the development of a strong sense of self and a growth mindset.
In the preschool years, we help children develop a positive self-identity, a sense of belonging, and a feeling of self-value. In the elementary years, we focus on cultivating a strong sense of community, developing skills related to being a thoughtful group member, and connecting authentically with others and themselves through mindfulness practice, imaginative play, and skill-based activities. Older students learn life skills to increase resilience and well-being. We look deeply at the science of growth mindset and practice ways to apply it in a variety of contexts, and explore important topics related to human development, healthy decision making, hygiene, and self-care.
Beyond academic and personal growth, we believe our students need to learn social responsibility. Students take what they learn in the classroom and use that knowledge to improve their local and global community. Beyond service projects tied to Units of Exploration (UoEs), there are also weekend opportunities for the whole family to participate in various volunteer projects around the Bay Area.
Our community is built on a shared mission and vision for our children—to be bilingual, bicultural global citizens who are curious, compassionate, creative, and collaborative. To accomplish this goal, we work together to build something extraordinary. Although volunteering is not mandatory, many of our parents find ways to be active participants in school life. Parental help is always welcome and encouraged—PKS would not be the school it is without the commitment of its parents.