Best of the Beach 2019 – Schools
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Don’t look for computers or iPads at Our Lady of Guadalupe Preschool.
“We made a mindful decisions to keep computers out of the classroom. We let our students get their screen time at home,” preschool director Yvonne Wilcox said.
Wilcox holds a masters in Early Childhood Education from Loyola Marymount and began teaching at Our Lady of Guadalupe when the preschool opened in 2012. This is her fifth year as director.
The preschool follows the “constructivist” theory of learning through interaction, rather than by passive listening.
Children in the 3- to 4-year-old Sunshine Room and 4- to 5-year-old pre-K classes are all taught core academic subjects.
Reading is taught with picture books featuring “sight words.” Commonly used words are followed by pictures that complete the sentences. The math books have tactile numbers. Music is taught through percussion instruments and body motion, which also teaches coordination.
Each day also includes classes in science, art and religion.
The school day begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. To avoid teacher burnout, teachers work mornings or afternoons, but not both. Students have lunch and nap breaks. But the rest of the time they are learning until their parents pick them up.
“We don’t have the traditional babysitting at the end of the day because we’ve found that’s when kids get bored and have behavioral issues,” Wilcox said.
Our Lady of Guadalupe School
340 Massey Ave., Hermosa Beach
Runner-up: Manhattan Beach Montessori School
2617 Bell Ave., Manhattan Beach
Private Elementary/Junior High
Peninsula Heritage School
Peninsula Heritage School has been a staple of South Bay education since 1961, with a three-acre campus that aims to nurture and educate its students from kindergarten through eighth grade so they know exactly who they are and what they’re doing when they move on.
Peninsula Heritage’s lauded curriculum seeks to not only develop their charges as students, but as people. The programs are balanced and broad ranging, offering rigorous academics alongside an arts education that rounds out a student’s understanding of humanity, the world, and themselves.
Peninsula Heritage School
26944 Rolling Hills Rd., Rolling Hills Estates
Runner-up: American Martyrs School
1701 Laurel Ave., Manhattan Beach
Private High School
Since its founding in 1935 Chadwick School has been regarded as among the top public or private schools in the South Bay, thanks in no small part to its focus on developing curiosity and critical thought in its students. Students at Chadwick are treated to fully-equipped and modernized facilities, highly-accredited faculty and a 45 acre campus that offers idyllic views from the South Bay to downtown Los Angeles. The curriculum is similarly sprawling, offering students broad language studies programs, computer science, post-Advanced Placement-level courses, a lauded outdoor education program and life-skills classes to round out a student’s education.
26800 S. Academy Dr., Palos Verdes Peninsula
Runner-up: Bishop Montgomery High School
5430 Torrance Blvd., Torrance
Kids Indoor Play Facility
1701 Marine Ave., Manhattan Beach
Runner-up: My Gym Children’s Fitness Center
1836 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach
1216 Beryl St., Redondo Beach