Founded in 1913, Christ Episcopal Church is the oldest church in Los Altos. During the 1950s, the church moved to a new location and decided to found a school. The current seven-acre, three-wing campus was built before work was ever begun on the existing church building. Unfortunately, while the relocated church continued to attract parishioners, the school was, for a number of reasons, unable to get off the ground. For many years the school buildings were leased to various local organizations. But now, roughly fifty years later, Christ Church has finally realized its long-held dream. Thanks to a generous gift of $100,000 by an anonymous Silicon Valley entrepreneur and CEO in 2003, Ventana School was born. Christ Church used the financial gift to hire Ventana's first director, and refurbish and furnish our classrooms. We opened our first preschool class in 2005. In 2010, Ventana's elementary programs began with our first Kindergarten class, and have added at least one new classroom every year.
Inspired by the church's dramatic stained-glass windows and California's Spanish and Mexican cultural heritage, the school founders came up with the name Ventana, Spanish for window, and to symbolize our hope that the school will make it possible for children to see and connect with the wider world in meaningful ways. Advances in our understanding of early childhood education best practices were built into our Early Childhood Education program, which takes its inspiration from the schools in the Italian town of Reggio Emilia. Ventana's administrators, teachers, and parents helped create our current project-based, constructivist primary school.
Today, Ventana is a thriving school that serves both preschool and elementary students.
Focus: The WHOLE Child
At Ventana, we nurture the cognitive, emotional, spiritual, social, and physical development of our students. We meet early childhood and elementary school State Standards through a combination of in-depth project work and collaborative workshop learning opportunities. Our projects are multi-disciplinary and visual. We value performing arts as languages for thinking, expressing ideas, and telling stories. We monitor learning through a portfolio system that assesses the growth and development of the whole child, not simply their cognitive skills. We are committed to working in partnership with families to foster a real love of learning in an authentic context and environment.
Our curricular approach provides opportunities for children who learn in a variety of ways to thrive and be successful. Our learning environments are thoughtfully arranged with open-ended Big Questions that stimulate curiosity and engage children in problem- solving. Children are invited to use many kinds of natural materials to discover and express what they know, understand, wonder, feel, and imagine. Our social problem solving approach supports children as they learn how to be effective negotiators among their peers and with adults. We believe children are comfortable with big ideas so we participate in project exploration and in story-based elementary school assemblies and Wondering Time where students are exposed to spiritual ideas and values bigger than themselves. In every aspect of our program, our teachers partner with children to grow confidence and foster life-long learning.