Contact: TKG Office

Phone: 310.728 9337

Date: July 3, 2013


The Knowing Garden Community Elementary School Grows in Redondo Beach, CA

2013 TKG Students and teachers Samantha Moshiri (L) and Michelle Goldbach-Johnson (R)

Set to Begin Third Year of Operation – Now Enrolling Ages 5 to 9


Redondo Beach, CA – The Knowing Garden, a local community school that is part of the movement to revolutionize elementary education, is adding a second classroom and more students beginning this Fall.  Magdalena Garcia will join The Knowing Garden (TKG) as the teacher for the students ages 7 to 9. The not-for-profit school first opened, with 4 students, in the Fall of 2011.  In the second year of operation, the school doubled enrollment; and going in to the third year of operation, school management projects that it will double enrollment once again.  In order to support 18 students and parent volunteers, the community will employ two full-time teachers and 2 part-time teachers — up from one teacher in the first year.  School business is managed by a community Board of Directors that includes finance, marketing, health and management professionals from diverse backgrounds.

The heart of the second and newest classroom is Magdalena Garcia . She will be teaching and learning with students ages 7 to 9 in a separate classroom that is currently undergoing refreshing and furnishing. Magdalena is a UC Santa Cruz alum with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology as well as a UCLA graduate with a Master’s degree in education. She has been an elementary school teacher for the last 12 years. In addition to being a classroom teacher, she has also been a teacher coach and mentor teacher. She has served as an educational consultant for the Natural history museum helping to create project-based, art infused resources to support museum exhibits. Magdalena strives to create connection with children through listening and playing and is always looking for an opportunity for collaboration and learning with adults and children alike. Magdalena is the mom to a six year old daughter.

Magdalena shared, “When I was studying to be a teacher I took sociology, human development and child psychology. When I became a teacher I referenced the theories of social justice, transformative pedagogy and constructivism. When I was pregnant, I studied how to attach, respect, listen and play. But now that our daughter is 6, all of the theories I studied and tried to implement are no longer theories. Watching a human grow in front of my eyes makes all the ideas real. I knew that she needed a school where she could develop, thrive and connect. A place where theories become real. The Knowing Garden is this place for our family and I am so excited to be a part of its growth.”

Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, teaching and learning with the 5 to 7 classroom, will return for her third year at The Knowing Garden.   Michelle has developed and led the school, in collaboration with Magdalena, since the beginning and continues to be an advocate for children’s rights.  Yvette Fenton and Samantha Moshiri are also dedicated teachers that call TKG home.

TKG, currently located at St.Andrew’s Church in Redondo Beach, recognizes that children are natural learners and respects students’ rights to collaboration, choice and play. The school is committed to providing an environment that inspires joy of learning, nurtures relationships and embraces learning through play and nature. Integrating constructivist theory, brain science research and social/emotional development, the school invests in students’ inherent and emerging knowledge to support their practice of engaging discovery with critical thinking.  The learning opportunities are project-rich, enhanced by self-directed learning and real-life experiences.  With credentialed teachers, parent participation and adult to student ratios of 1 to 4, the curriculum emerges in partnership with students and families. Also, as part of the curriculum, students and teachers meet and connect with nature – at local parks, trails, the beach – one day each week.

TKG does not participate in STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) testing to measure growth. It does not offer letter or peer-comparison evaluation or grades.  As a way to document growth, students keep portfolios and meet with teachers to create an understanding of their learning progress. Teachers offer narratives and documentation of student evolution via meetings with parents to communicate learning and progress. As a way to connect home and school as well as support families, parents receive weekly documentation of classroom learning as well as relevant parenting and educational resources.  In addition, the whole parenting and teaching community comes together at monthly meetings filled with resources and community reflection. TKG places an emphasis on social-emotional learning and the “soft skills” that will prepare students to be critical thinkers who are lifelong learners and active contributors to the global community.

For additional information, visit, email info(at)KnowingGarden(dot)org or call 310 728 9337.  TKG is enrolling students ages 5 to 9.  Interested families are invited to contact TKG for information on an upcoming community meet-up.

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