Early Childhood Center- West Davis
2907 Portage Bay West
Elementary School & Early Childhood Center- South Davis
2650 Lillard Drive
Mon-Fri 7AM-6PM
Peregrine West- Early Childhood Center
(530) 758-8845
Peregrine South- Early Childhood Center & Elementary School
(530) 753-5500
Peregrine Project Nonprofit

 Peregrine School is a nonprofit private school that strives to integrate the rigorous academics of a classical liberal arts education with child-centered, project-based learning. Arts and sciences, as well as Spanish, are taught daily through projects. Weekly enrichment classes vary by trimester, but include things like yoga, dance, music, ceramics, and drama taught by specialists.

Health and nutrition are equally important aspects of the school, which includes daily physical education activities as well as gardens and a nutritious lunch and snack program. The school is committed to small size classes and very low student-teacher ratios. Co-Directors, Lorie Hammond, PhD, and Elena Whitcombe, MD, a mother-daughter team, founded the school in 2007.

Peregrine School consists of an elementary school, a pre-K/K class (nicknamed "Primaria"), a preschool (nicknamed "Escuelita"), and a toddler program (nicknamed "Patitos"). All class levels at Peregrine are project-based, influenced by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, and offer an introduction to Spanish, Science, and the Arts. Patitos is open to children 18 months to 23 months, Escuelita is currently open to children ages 2 to 4, Primaria to ages 4 to 6, and the elementary class to grade six. All of our programs offer curriculum hours and daycare hours that start as early as 7AM and go as late as 6PM.

Peregrine School offers a wide array of after school classes open to elementary-aged children both inside and outside of Peregrine. Courses vary by trimester, but they include offerings like music, art, sports, chess, and dance.

Peregrine also offers summer camps for children ages 2-14. The summer program includes camps in dance, filmmaking, theatre, survival skills, art, and science. You can view the full summer catalog online here or on the website.

If you are interested in a tour of our Early Childhood Center in West Davis, please call (530) 758-8845. If you are interested in a tour of our Early Childhood Center or Elementary Program in South Davis, please call (530) 753-5500.

Follow Peregrine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/PeregrineSchool

What is project-based learning?

Project-based learning is an approach to education that involves a deep exploration of all subjects through a common theme. We use this integrated, thematic curriculum as a way to foster a greater and more meaningful understanding of all subjects. For example, using the theme of oceans and river systems, Primaria students learn to read and write stories about real and mythical ocean creatures, integrate water themes into their yoga practice, and learn about life cycles, temperature, and time by raising salmon from eggs and eventually releasing them into the Sacramento river. Because all subjects can be explored through any theme, we can use the children's interests as the foundation of short and long-term projects.

What is Reggio Emilia?

Reggio Emilia is an educational philosophy led by Loris Malaguzzi founded in post-WWII Italy. The Reggio Emilia approach is distinguished by the following elements:

• Focus on collaborative play • Short and long-term projects as the foundation of the curriculum • An inspiring and productive school environment ("the third teacher") • Ongoing documentation as a means of evaluation • A supportive community of parents and teachers • Child-directed learning • Emphasis on the arts • Teachers as co-learners

Children’s work is play. Collaborative play, the business of school, is enhanced by two things: a rich environment designed to provide stimulation, challenges, and open-ended spaces for creative exploration; and the mentoring of expert teachers, who interact with children and model skills in various intelligence areas and the process of problem-solving.

In the classroom we employ an integrated thematic curriculum, which nurtures learning in many intelligence areas: linguistic, mathematical, visual, musical, kinesthetic, inter-personal, intra-personal, and naturalistic. Using this approach, themes are chosen by the week or month, and a series of experiences in all domains are planned to explore the theme. This approach makes learning comprehensive—children can integrate what they are learning about the harvest or phases of the moon in science lessons, stories, music, and dance expression.

Young children are open to learning in every domain. Our goal is to create a balanced set of opportunities for learning in all domains, rather than to focus only on language and mathematics, as many school programs do. This goal is modeled by the Loris Malaguzzi's school in Reggio Emilia, Italy. The key is to create an ever-changing, creative learning environment in which children can guide their own projects, with direction provided by knowledgeable adults who are experts in their area. Essential to this model is the idea that children do best when guided by experts. Children at Peregrine School will interact with a variety of professional artists as well as their teachers during the school day.

For more information on Malaguzzi's Reggio Emilia school, see The Hundred Languages of Children: the Reggio Emilia Approach, by Carolyn Edwards.

How is Peregrine School different from Montessori schools?

While the Peregrine School philosophy is influenced mainly by Reggio Emilia, we also draw inspiration from the Montessori and Waldorf approaches and philosophers John Dewey, Howard Gardner and Daniel Pink. Reggio Emilia and Montessori methods can be seen as sister philosophies. One important difference is the role of the teacher. In a Montessori environment, the teacher takes an unobtrusive role, holding a space in which children direct their own learning. In a Reggio environment, the teacher takes on the role of co-learner, exploring and guiding children through their education. This delicate balance is achieved through continual evaluation of individual students and the class as a whole, and is enriched by daily small group work.

Why Spanish?

Early childhood is the best time for children to acquire language in a natural, oral setting—their minds absorb language like sponges. If a second language is added early, it is painless for a child to learn, it will become more natural to the child than a language learned later in life, and it will help the child to learn additional languages more easily. There is also much research evidence that speaking two or more languages increases a child’s level of general intelligence.

Spanish is the most important second language in California. Spanish fluency has immediate applications to daily life here. We intend to balance our student population to include many native Spanish speakers. Our main teachers are native Spanish speakers who model the language, sheltering it for accessibility to the children through the use of visuals, music, and the like. Fantastic Friday science and art activities, music, and yoga are taught in English and supplemented in Spanish.

Peregrine School is a dual-immersion program. Lessons and routines are delivered in Spanish by the teachers for part of the day, and reading and math are taught in English. Since the emphasis of the preschool is on oral rather than written language, young children are not required to read in a language that is not their first. This will ensure that children can learn to read in their own language, then transfer their skills to literacy in a second.

Why a family school?

Peregrine School was founded on the idea that families are a child's first and most important teachers and that a community of families and teachers can guide our children by pooling their various funds of knowledge. In asking parents to participate in the school, we hope to build a caring community of families who support all of our children, and to share with all the many talents we individually possess. To accomplish the first goal, we provide enrichments like yoga and Spanish classes for adults, potluck dinners, discussion groups, and family outings. By volunteering in the classroom, parents get to know each others' children, building our sense of community. To accomplish the second, we provide opportunities for parents to share their special skills and interests with the students and staff at school.

Parent involvement can take many forms, such as volunteer work in the classroom, driving and chaperoning field trips, and taking on a family task. We will work with parents to create the right method of involvement for each family.

Without grades, how will I know how my child is doing?

Instead of using grades to evaluate our students' progress, we keep portfolios on every student. The strength of portfolios is that each child's progress is measured against his/her own development. Since material is added to student portfolios constantly, portfolios give a more detailed and more accurate picture of your child's development than a grade. While grades attempt to measure a student's academic ability by tallying test scores and homework assignments, we document the growth of our student's entire academic, social, and emotional progress.

In assessment, as in all things, we seek balance. In addition to individual assessments, such as portfolios, we will also measure student progress against grade level standards and other developmental benchmarks, so that parents have a realistic idea of their child's progress.

As Peregrine students become older, they can participate more actively in determining their own learning goals and in displaying their learning through portfolios and through oral presentations.

What are Peregrine's ratios like?

Our student-teacher ratio is 6:1. Low ratios ensure that each child receives an great deal of individual attention and guidance. Low ratios also facilitate small group work, which is an important part of the day at Peregrine School.


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2009-07-03 16:23:48   does the name peregrine come from lord of the rings, fitting in with the nearby streets of the Village Homes? —TimMatthiessen

  • Given the logo, it is more likely that it has to do with the Peregrine falcon. The "Duck Hawk School" doesn't have quite the same ring.

2011-03-23 14:21:10   I would love to get feedback from anyone who has a child in the Escuelita on what the school is like. —BlytheDurbinJohnson

2011-03-31 11:43:44   I have three kids at Peregrine and am extremely impressed and happy. I moved to Davis from the Bay Area about 2 years ago, and admittedly have high standards for my kids' schools. I visited/considered many pre-schools in Davis, and am extremely pleased with Peregrine. The kids have so much fun. They get individualized academic attention within a stimulating and inspiring curriculum. They also get plenty of fresh air and excellent food. Most importantly, all three of my kids are well cared for and very happy. I hope to keep my kids here for elementary. —SarahLamborn

2013-01-18 21:27:58   I have a child at the elementary and the preschool. I am very happy with both campuses. The small class sizes are amazing and the kids really get attention from the caring and involved teachers. The social and emotional support for my older child is tremendous. My younger child has many severe food allergies and the chef works diligently to ensure both his nutrition and safety. And the academics are taught in interesting, challenging, and developmentally appropriate ways. Love this school! —LizPhinney

2015-10-29 13:22:38   I was very disappointed in our experience with Peregrine (South), and we had to pull my four year old daughter out after a little over a month. The final straw came when they let her sit, crying, for two hours, soaked in her own urine. When confronted, the teacher said that she did not tell anyone that she had an accident- it was my child's fault, not the supposed care-giver's, that she was neglected. A child who has just turned four is evidently expected to be able to articulate clearly what is wrong despite being upset and ashamed. This was, as I said, merely the last straw; prior to this we had witnessed a teacher bodily dragging a child around (the child was goofing off), and we had seen several crying children ignored. Many mornings (especially in the summer session- we did the last summer session and a month in the fall) the teachers were totally unprepared to receive children in the morning. The advertised ratios are misleading: many of the kids are put in the back to play much of the time, and the teachers congregate by the doors to chat instead of interacting with the kids. I'm not sure that I can blame them, though, because it seems the teachers are not treated well enough to encourage them to stay long. Over a month or so in the fall, my daughter had at least two new teachers replace ones that had left. As if tuition wasn't high enough, they also tried to charge us fees other than the ones disclosed in the contract (after several email exchanges, these charges were removed). Needless to say, they did not return our deposit when we removed our daughter due to their mistreatment of her (the accident mentioned at the beginning of the review). —CButtons