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 Esalen to reopen July 28. Learn more tips about traveling to Big Sur.


Our Philosophy

Gazebo is a place where children explore their own interests and are offered freedom for true discovery.

Gazebo Park School was founded in 1977 by teacher and former Esalen Director Janet Lederman. It was Lederman’s vision that the experience was “designed with the educational goal of maximizing the full use of the child's growing body, unfolding intelligence, and soaring imagination.” She believed that 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.” 

Today Gazebo offers a play and inquiry-based curriculum that promotes inner-directed learning and fosters a healthy sense of self. We hold a holistic view of the child, honoring the individual's learning and growth in relationship to self, to others, and to the environment.

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 to help in conflict resolution. Gazebo teachers facilitate processes with children through coaching and supporting healthy dialogue, and through their own self-evaluation and skillful communication as a team.

Gazebo is a place where children explore their own 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.

Our eco-conscious/sustainable model of land stewardship is also reflected in our cob structures such as the cob zebo, the lizard bench, a rain harvester roof, compostable outdoor toilets and gray water drainage.


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