A Mission of Character
Peninsula Heritage School
26944 Rolling Hills Rd. | 26825 Rolling Hills Rd., Rolling Hills Estates
310-541-4795 | peninsulaheritage.org
- Written byLaura L. Watts
- Photographed byShane O'Donnell
How does a small school cultivate kind, curious learners who will go on to make a big impact on our world? It starts with building character at a young age, which is at the core of Peninsula Heritage School’s mission—and has been for half a century.
The school’s mission statement is: “In a loving and caring environment, Peninsula Heritage School fosters each child’s intellectual, social and ethical growth. Our strong academic program challenges and supports each individual within a school community that values diverse backgrounds, talents and learning styles.”
Established in 1961, the private, independent school offers a unique Character Development program that models the qualities of caring, respect, attitude, gratitude, self-control, and perseverance—both in the classroom and at monthly assemblies. These qualities naturally become entrenched in the students’ everyday lives and underscore their academic studies.
For example, “perseverance” and “attitude” are infused throughout the curriculum as students are encouraged to adopt a growth mindset in all that they do. Students exhibit “caring” by contributing to the South Bay community and the world through numerous service learning opportunities. Last year these efforts included a local beach cleanup, the Crayon Collection for underserved children, L.A. County Fire Department’s Holiday Toy Drive, donations to the World Wildlife Fund, and clothing collections for hurricane and flood victims.
With a history of more than 50 years, the Character Development program has been nationally recognized six times from the nonprofit Character Education Partnership. Peninsula Heritage frequently garners this type of praise; once again in 2018 it was voted “Best of the Beach Private School” by Easy Reader and Beach Magazine.
A Loving and Caring Environment
These honors and the “loving and caring environment” are the reasons why Peninsula Heritage School’s 120 students—boys and girls from kindergarten through eighth grade—look forward to going to school each morning. They appreciate the community of a vibrant, welcoming school with talented teachers who personalize the educational experience for each child.
“Our students readily engage and find real joy in learning!” says head of school Dr. Cindy P. Chun. “We know that the foundation of a successful student is a happy child.”
Dr. Chun collaborates with her expert faculty and staff to incorporate the latest research on student learning and success so children are well-equipped to handle challenges. The strong academic program includes innovative technology components across all grades—such as coding classes—that give students the skills they need to succeed in the modern world. Extracurricular programs include the exceptional Outdoor Education program, offering experiential learning in locations throughout California.
“Peninsula Heritage knows that each child has unique gifts to offer the world,” Dr. Chun says, “and we seize every opportunity to let them shine. We are dedicated to inspiring students to be lifelong learners while empowering them to possess a love for academics, the arts and humanity.”
An Aloha Spirit
Dr. Chun began at Peninsula Heritage School two years ago as assistant head of school. When former head of school Patricia Cailler recently retired, Dr. Chun transitioned seamlessly into this leadership position. A native Hawaiian, she brings her aloha spirit and deep sense of family into her interactions with students, teachers and parents.
An independent school educator and administrator for more than 20 years, Dr. Chun considers herself a lifelong learner, a world traveler and always a teacher at heart. Even with her significant responsibilities in her new role, she continues to teach a class every year to stay connected to the students and their learning.
She emphasizes that Peninsula Heritage School’s inclusive learning community welcomes and values students who represent diversity in ethnicity, backgrounds and talents. It includes local children from Palos Verdes and throughout the South Bay, as well as international students who study through the United States Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVIS) program.
A Bright Future
Peninsula Heritage School prides itself on cultivating learners who are perfectly poised to be compassionate innovators of the future. “With the skills, intellectual curiosity and strength of character they develop during their kindergarten through eighth grade years at Peninsula Heritage School,” Dr. Chun shares, “our graduates flourish in the South Bay’s most challenging high schools—and in their lives thereafter.”
And certainly that’s thanks to the strong character-building program at the foundation of this remarkable school.