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Lessons for life

Published: April 24, 2018

For nearly 75 years, young minds have been nurtured beneath the trees of Shady Lane. Those experiences—ripe with discovery—can stay with them for years to come. We asked four generations of alumni to share their favorite memories and lasting lessons from their time at the Children’s School.


Annie Salvati

Annie Salvati

Annie Salvati

Attended mid-2000s | College student

Favorite Memory: “I loved the freedom of running barefoot in the gardens so much that transitioning to kindergarten—where my shoes had to stay on all day—was difficult for me.”

Lasting Lesson: Independence. “Being encouraged at such a young age to be expressive and independent was the best gift. I even chose Scripps College precisely because the grounds reminded me of the Children’s School campus. The trees, the open lawn—I instinctively felt that if my college experience could be anything like my preschool one, I’d be very happy and fulfilled.”


Erica Wrightson

Erica Wrightson

Erica Wrightson

Attended late ’80s | Writer and editor

Favorite Memory: “One of our teachers let us drop a watermelon from the top of our play structure. We climbed to the top and watched it smash on the ground. Exercises like these were both concrete and metaphoric displays of anticipation, excitement, nervousness, satisfaction, and even devastation. Our teachers listened to our desires and helped us realize creative goals; we were encouraged to voice our adventurous fantasies without concern of judgment or strict limitations.

Lasting Impact: Conflict resolution. ““I learned the importance of knowing how to resolve conflicts. Today, I am deeply committed to reflecting on my relationships, working through interpersonal issues, and understanding how I fit into my family, work, city, and larger world.”


Lizzie Salvati

Lizzie Salvati

Lizzie Salvati

Attended early ’70s | Mother and teacher

Favorite Memory: “I have such vivid memories from the Children’s School—of playing on Shady Lane, climbing giant play structures, and going to my teacher’s house on rainy days. Those memories made me send my three kids there because I wanted them to have that experience. Pacific Oaks is family to me.”

Lasting Impact: Sociability. “From my days at the Children’s School, I’ve been comfortable with people. My children have carried this with them too—we all can walk into a room and instantaneously make new friends.”


Anne Schiller

Anne Schiller

Anne Schiller

Attended mid-’50s | Master teacher

Favorite Memory: “We used to go for these magical walks through the Arroyo. The only ‘assignment’ was to touch, smell, hear, and feel nature. That opportunity to deeply appreciate the natural world has never left me.”

Lasting Impact: Freedom to explore. “I’ve happily taught at the Children’s School for more than 30 years now, and my students constantly remind me to take time and explore. They will approach a bin full of sand, water, or even birdseed and spend hours measuring, stirring, mixing, building, inventing. Adults need that sense of wonder too.”


Read articles from the Spring 2018 issue of Voices:

A greater purpose

A is for access

Journey: 5 steps to a transformation

Jus-tice: A word from Pacific Oaks

Roundtable Q&A: The new American family

Trending: #FightforJustice

 

Categories: Magazine Features

For questions or comments on our news stories or releases, or if you are a reporter who would like to speak with an expert in education, human development, or marriage and family therapy, please contact Johanna Atienza at JohannaAt[email protected] or 626.529.8092.