Activities and Choice
Discovering and exploring an interest are the first steps toward developing a passion that may last a lifetime and provides a cognitive structure for intellectual endeavors. At Peninsula School, the Activities and Choice programs expose students to a broad range of topics, concepts and opportunities.
Activity period occurs for one hour each day. Beginning in K–1, children choose the activity they attend and choose what they will be doing in the activity. Activities include art, science activity, clay, woodshop, math activity, library activity, weaving, art, and rock band (4th grade and up). There is not a curriculum set by teachers for children to follow. Rather, it is self guided as children are encouraged to follow their interests and passions and design their own projects. Specialists in each of these fields provide supervision and offer advice and guidance as needed. There is one Activities period each day for Primary and one each day for Upper School; hence, Activities classes consist of a mixed age of students, providing an expanded social pool and strengthening the bonds of community across grade levels in a natural way.
Lower school students choose their activity each day. However, space is limited, so they may not get their top choice, learning the important lesson of how to become flexible. Upper school students must also choose and deal with the consequences of limited space. Additionally, upper school students may also choose not to attend an activity. Instead, students may be found playing a game with a friend, talking with a teacher or doing class work.
In addition to Activity period, students have arts classes integrated into their week. These classes involve a curriculum designed by specialists and include visual art, ceramics, and drama.
"Choice allows students to work with their affinities and strengths and to build on them. It is focused on strengths, not on deficits."
— Alumni parent
Beginning in the fifth grade, a Choice Program is offered to students. Choice units are classes teachers have developed (along with the students) of specific interest that are conducted in an intensive and focused way. Choice units are 2–3 week sessions for an hour a day. Also, because children enroll in Choice classes based on interest rather than on age, the resulting mix enables them to experience learning outside their own classrooms and in a variety of situations and groups. Choice topics are wide ranging and may focus on history, writing, sciences, handcrafts, or any of the arts.