As educators, we understand that children learn in many different ways. We also know that they not only learn from formal classroom instruction but from the routines and rituals that are consistently present in their school day. The way in which the adults “live” out their daily lives of school speaks volumes to children who are just beginning to navigate the social mores of life. Do the adults in the school model peaceful problem solving? Do children hear praise and words of encouragement between adults? Do they care for the environment and community? These are just a few examples of how powerful a role model we are as adults and how important it is for a school to be conscious and proactive about the ways in which we conduct ourselves on a daily basis.
At Park, the words that we live by are:
- Do your personal best
- Treat others the way you’d like to be treated
- Take responsibility for your actions – “own it”
- Listen with your eyes, ears and heart
- There’s room for everyone
- Take care of your home, school, community and Mother Earth
Park School was opened in 1909 and was the fourth school built in Mill Valley. It was originally named Tamalpais Park School after Tamalpais Park, the first subdivision developed in Mill Valley. The original 1909 wood building was situated on what is now our lower playground, adjacent to East Blithedale and Catalpa Avenues. It had four classrooms.
In 1934, a wing designed by Melvin Klyce was built to the east of the original building, adding four classrooms. The Art Deco-inspired school building that now houses our main entrance and most of our classrooms was built in 1939. The original 1906 building was demolished in 1967, as it would have been too expensive to make the structure earthquake safe. Today, the 1934 wing houses kindergarten and first-grade classrooms.
When Park School opened in 1909, it served students in first- through fourth-grades. Heavy enrollment forced additional grades to be added within the first six months. In 1939, the school began serving as a Middle School for all sixth-, seventh- and eighth- graders in Mill Valley. By the 1950s, the school returned to serving elementary students. Today Park School serves just over 300 kindergarten through fifth-grade students.
A few interesting facts about our history:
- The parents of many of our current students themselves attended Park School as children.
- The traffic stop in front of the school was first installed in 1961.
- The original cost to build the school was $14,589