June 13, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

The Seven Arrows School-A Great Place to Learn!

Students prepare for MasqueradeLooking for a great elementary school for your child? Not sure where to go? You may want to check out Seven Arrows Elementary School in Pacific Palisades. Founded by Margarita Pagliai—who started the popular Little Dolphins by the Sea Preschool located in Santa Monica—Seven Arrows advocates individual spirit while creating the optimal environment for its entire student body.

“A bunch of founding parents, went to Margarita and asked her to create an elementary school and take this unique learning process to another level. That’s how we got started,†explained Steve Libonati, the current Board Chair for Seven Arrows. “Our school is second to none. It’s education based on social and emotional skills and built on a passion for learning.â€

One-of-a-kind programs such as the yearly ‘Masquerade;’ a culSeven Arrows students rehearse for Masquerademination of each grade’s study of history, reflects this new mode of education. “Each grade studies a different part of history. For example my daughter, who is in fifth grade, was a famous American, and my little boy, who is in kindergarten, was studying the pre-historic era. They dress in elaborate costumes, which are designed by the students themselves and then made by their parents. Depending on what grade they’re in, they may choose to give a speech about the character they are depicting. Music is threaded through this culmination of learning,†Libonati explained. This past year Masquerade was so large and so involved that it was put on at the prestigious Broad Stage Theatre in Santa Monica.

Seven Arrows was established in 1999 and occupies the former Archer School site. In 1985, its founder, PagliaMargarita Pagliai watches as students rehearsei, an artist, from Columbia, South America, followed her husband to Los Angeles, leaving behind a close-knit community of family and friends. Pagliai realized in order to feel connected she needed to be integrated in the work force, thus began a life-long learning process, continued education and the eventual development of Little Dolphins by the Sea Preschool—which eventually led to Seven Arrows. According to their mission statement, Seven Arrows promotes a “service-based academic curriculum†and the children participate in student-initiated community projects. The goal is to raise leaders, celebrate each child’s innate potential and raise respectful, ethical human beings while giving each child a sense of connection to his community and the greater good.

“We all learn differently. When kids have the autonomy to ask what they want to learn and how they want to be connected, they become engaged,†said Pagliai. To meet Pagliai is to understand instantly why so many folks rave about her. You can’t help but become caught up in her boundless joy and enthusiasm.

“She’s an avid reader and researcher, reading the latest and greatest on brain development and practices and looks to that research to see what works best and how children learn best. Everything is ever-changing and evolving to meet the needs of the students, and is implemented right away, to prepare our children for being passionate, life-long learners,†said Omid Kheiltash, the Director of Admissions.

“Sometimes kids want to go under the radar, or go unnoticed but that’s not possible here,†explained Kheiltash. “Seven Arrows provides 30 adults to 120 students. It’s that intimate atmosphere that affords each student the opportunity for connection with both their peers and the adults.â€

The school’s goal—to find each child’s intrinsic motivation is partially made possible because of its size. Kheiltash put it this way, “Seven Arrows is such a vibrant place to be. We’re a small school (120 students grades K-6) but the beauty of having such a small school, and such a fearless leader [in Pagliai] is that she wants to and is able to implement new teaching techniques immediately.â€

Where other schools must go through rigorous, and often times bureaucratic, hoops to implement any type of curriculum changes, Seven Arrows, by the very nature of their philosophy is able to bypass these formalities in order to better help their students.

“Where does is say that learning and academic rigor is tied to boring and rote? Research has shown, time and time again, that children will retain and become immersed if they’re engaged and have a choice and a voice,†continued Kheiltash.

So much of what Seven Arrows does is geared to helping children find their genius. Combining an academically challenging curriculum with an integrated, developmental approach, their Way of Education is based on the latest social science research of education and the science of how the human brain works and develops.

One of the approaches used to facilitate learning in the classroom is based on Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences. At the core of this theory is the recognition that each child thinks and learns differently.

Added Libonati, “We now have feedback that our way of education is so successful, from high school and college administrators [some Seven Arrow students are now at Dartmouth], and they are coming back to us saying that our kids are phenomenal.â€

If you want proof that their program works, look to their drama performance schedule—Grade 6 just put on Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.†Need I say more? For further information check out www.sevenarrows.org

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