Founded in 1977 by teacher and former Esalen director Janet Lederman, Gazebo School Park is, in Lederman’s words, “designed with the educational goal of maximizing the full use of the child's growing body, unfolding intelligence, and soaring imagination. By maximizing each child's unique learning style and pace and using the environment with its demands and differences as major tools, the child learns in his/her earliest years: self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-discipline in the most basic form.”
Gazebo has an eco-education curriculum, which teaches environmental stewardship through hands-on activities. We honor each child’s individual pace, support independent exploration, and nurture positive communication, self-expression, and group collaboration.
Gestalt Practice is used as a foundational practice among children, staff and interns. It is used to develop children's emotional awareness and vocabulary, allowing for self-expression, and helps in conflict resolution. Teachers facilitate processes with children through coaching and supporting healthy dialogue with children, and through their own self-evaluation and skillful communication as a team.
Gazebo is a place in which children explore based on their interests and are offered freedom for true discovery. The curriculum is emergent and offers opportunities to follow the natural rhythms of the day and the seasons. Each day includes ample time for exploring, investigating, testing, sorting, evaluating, assimilating, and learning about the world — including its ups and downs. Gazebo teachers model clear and positive communication using Gestalt principles.
Teachers also help children to further their knowledge through literacy, project work, first aid lessons, and the expressive arts.