Preschool, as a Hummingbird in 2011, began our Son's education at Palm Valley School. When we first came to Palm Valley, we had a wait-and-see attitude regarding our long-term plans with the school. Since I work mostly at home, our Son had not been to daycare. Palm Valley was his first experience away from his mother and me in a structured environment. I was immediately impressed with the high level of care, compassion, and professionalism the teachers and administration displayed. Their demeanor communicated to me that my Son would be safe, nurtured and challenged. Our Son was allowed the freedom to have abundant fun while learning - something crucial to development. Exposure to kids yoga, dance, foreign languages, and participating in musical performances was a total bonus surprise to us.
Two years of Preschool extended to Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten on up through Third grade where our Son is now thriving. I've been fortunate to experience and observe leadership of three Heads of School: Mr. Downey, Mr. Graves and now Mrs. Rice. I began to volunteer at the school in 2013 which really changed my perception of the school. Simply dropping off and picking up my Son, provided a limited awareness of how the school functioned. The quality of education, staff, and faculty are obvious if a parent is lucky enough to be immersed as I've been. I was surprised to see how different each student's competencies were at the same age and grade level. And as a volunteer, witnessed first hand, how the teachers addressed these differences. Playing to the individual's strengths with encouragement, while creatively generating opportunities to grow in areas needing emphasis only confirmed for us that this was EXACTLY where I wanted my Son to be!
Changes in leadership are a reality in any organization. I saw good works first hand from all three of Palm Valley's leaders. The impressive part of this now, seven-year progression at the school, has been the growth and positive changes I've seen. Mrs. Rice, as the Head of School, has brought a combination of bold courageous moves tempered with compassion, fairness, and diplomacy. Many years of experience steer this ship with an eye on both the future and the maintenance and propagation of these core values in each and every student.
In our seven year time at Palm Valley, there have been household issues that spill over into the school. Mrs. Rice and her staff have worked diligently and fairly with professionalism and confidentiality to minimize any emotional impact on our Son. The protection and care of the child has been their number one priority, as it should be. Palm Valley's staff putting the children's welfare first is something I'll be forever grateful for.
Take a walk through the campus from Preschool, Lower, Middle and Upper School. Do this between classes while students are actively moving. You will encounter a group of youths that hold doors open for you, pick up trash, smile with eye contact. You will encounter confident, proud children and young adults knowing that it's just as important to give to the world as to take from it. This takes a strength of spirit and a solid core belief that we all can make a difference.
That is what I want for my Son as he goes out into the world eager to do his part and have fun doing it.
-Stuart & Pip Watson
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