Scenes from Terra Marin School and TK Mandarin Immersion. Courtesy images.

Wendy Xa and her team opened the new K-8 Terra Marin School and the Terra Mandarin Preschool, a Reggio Emilia-inspired Mandarin immersion preschool and transitional kindergarten, located within the former Ring Mountain Day School space on Lomita Drive in Mill Valley, on Sept. 5. 

In the months leading up to that opening, they created an “interaction-rich” K-8 curriculum that incorporates ideas from John DeweyHoward GardnerEdward Harkness and John Muir and helps them “know their gifts and empowers them to forge ahead with purpose.”

They’ve hired a cadre of teachers for both schools from around the Bay Area and, in the case of the Mandarin-immersion program, from around the world in places like Singapore. Xa and her administrators held rigorous, three-week training sessions as well as a 16-hour talk about social emotional development with a neuroscience foundation.

They’ve also changed the school’s moniker from Pacific Discovery School to Terra Marin School after “an exhaustive, deliberate and productive process” that “truly speaks to our vision and what we seek to provide for all of our students, staff and parents alike,” Xa says, pointing to the name’s Latin roots of “Earth” and “sea.” Oh – and they squeezed a remodel of the Mill Valley School District building adjacent to Edna Maguire School.

“We have been extremely busy,” says Xa, a former vice president at Goldman Sachs and a mother of two who founded the Mandarin immersion Presidio Knolls School in San Francisco in 2008 as a preschool before expanding it to a K-8 program. “But it’s all because we want to build a world class institution in the heart of Mill Valley. And we’re on track to do it.”

Xa and her team continue to host exploration-themed open houses for children and their parents, and the next one is set for Sunday, Dec. 9 from 9am-10:30am for the preschool and 11am-12:3p for the K-8 school. Both open houses are at the school at 70 Lomita Drive. Attendees can expect a Constructive Creativity Program featuring art expression with soap stones and Mandarin calligraphy, paper lantern making, animal fun with bunnies and a jumpy house. They’ll also provide tours and a presentation on the school’s curriculum. Xa says that children “will be kept happily busy with activities such as archery and rocket making (older kids) and arts and animal petting (younger set) during the open house and presentations.

The 411: Terra Marin School and the Terra Mandarin Preschool host an exploration day-themed open house on Sunday, Dec. 9. The preschool open house is from 9am-10:30am, while the K-8 open house is 11am-12:30p, both at the school, 70 Lomita Drive. Free. Space is limited – RSVP here. MORE INFO.

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