Our Treasured Grounds
Peninsula School is located on six acres of land in Menlo Park, California. With its Victorian "Big Building," many large oaks, and natural setting, the school provides a sense of seclusion, safety, and timelessness that is cherished by the children, parents and teachers who make up its community.
The historic 1882 “Big Building” houses administration, weaving, clay, woodshop, art, music, rock band, library, math and science.
Individual classroom buildings surround the Big Building and are named for the head teacher of that year. Buildings on the “East Side” are Nursery through Annie’s (first grade), and the buildings on the “West Side” are Elizabeth’s & Martha's (first/second grade) through Marcella’s (eighth grade).
Younger students are free to play in their class yard with defined “imaginary” fences, providing practice in being held accountable to the agreed upon boundaries, while older students may roam and explore any part of the grounds including the popular rope swing, the tree house, playing fields, vegetable garden and Big Building.
The grounds are considered an essential part of the Peninsula experience as they provide a sense of mystery and wonder, and students experience a strong feeling of ownership over them as they have the freedom to explore and play throughout the school property; it is, essentially, their home. One may witness children “edging” (circumnavigating a portion of the building without touching the ground) on the Big Building or climbing on the Corinthian pillars. They can be seen playing a game of capture the flag across the entire school, playing hide-and-seek in the thickets behind Annie’s classroom, or simply talking with friends in a tree.
"The old building is well-worn, but to us it is beautiful — beautiful when full of children and activity."
—Barney Young, Director 1966–77