The First Gazebo School started at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California in 1977. It is an entirely Outdoor school, influenced by Gestalt Therapy and the importance of letting children have time to process their learning and development. Gazebo is a play based program with a strong emphasis on supporting children's connection to the natural world.
The image of the Gazebo suggests that the teachers (and in some ways, the environment) provide a strong structure and scaffold for learning, yet the open walls offer children a chance to be resourceful, inventive, and creative. From child development research and increasing knowledge about brain development, we know that the first five years are pivotal in a child's life, and that most children learn best through play. Gazebo supports the growth of the whole child; socially emotionally, physically, and cognitively as children learn to know themselves, each other, and the world around them. Gazebo has an emphasis on social development, building community, and teaching conflict resolution.