Since 1972, Primavera School in Prescott, Arizona has focused on teaching the whole child. With efforts that increase specialized learning, growth in students, and exploratory thinking, the private school has looked to develop academic rigor in a way that meets children where they are. The small class sizes and the individualized opportunities give the K-5 students the opportunity to uncover their own personal potential in liberating ways. Primavera’s new director, Dan Jannone mentions that the school aims to bring “a little bit of heat and a lot of heart” to the classroom.
As new adjustments are happening in all institutions, Primavera is in the midst of a leadership transition. Dan Jannone has been working at the institution since 2003 when he first became an assistant teacher. He notes that not only is Primavera School using this opportunity to change directors, but they are also using this transition to build momentum to an already growing opportunity: outdoor learning. The COVID-19 virus has made it clear that Primavera’s previous focus on outdoor learning is indeed one of the safest routes to operate in. As students prepare to return to the campus this coming fall, the school’s faculty have worked together to establish new precautions to protect the safety of everyone by emphasizing outdoor learning. This has lead to various workshops about outdoor education, the continuation of programs such as “Forest Fridays” (run by Jannone himself), and the establishment of more outdoor learning spaces like amphitheaters and playgrounds. Ensuring the safety of the students and of their families is a top priority at Primavera School and as the new director, Dan Jannone aims to continue collaborating with and listening to the parents’ and families’ needs.
Jannone’s time at Primavera School has been long influenced by his own educational journey. After graduating from Dickinson College with a bachelor’s in Environmental Science, he managed to find his way out to Prescott, Arizona to work as a trail crew leader and an outdoor educator. In 2003, Jannone moved on to Primavera School and began working there as an assistant teacher. Two years later he became a co-teacher with a long time faculty member and realized that it was time for him to get his teaching credentials. Loving the work he was involved in at Primavera School, Jannone began a part-time master’s program at Prescott College to get his teaching license. In alignment with the vision of Primavera School, Jannone pursued an education degree that focused on environmental education. Over the next three and a half years he dove deeper into curriculum development and design, not only for the classes he was teaching at Primavera, but also for his own personal education. He noted that in his time enrolled at Prescott College he felt like he was the teacher designing the curriculum as well as the student learning it. Though this posed challenges occasionally, Jannone discovered that he was able to directly apply the things he was learning in his master’s work to real-time classes Primavera. Though rigorous, he reflects fondly on his experience at Prescott College and notes that it was an incredibly rewarding experience.
The history of Primavera School is rich with exploration and play. This transition of leadership in an unpredictable time has given the school momentum to continue to challenge the standard boxed education. They continue to communicate with parents of the students and build a flexible road map to ensure reopening in the fall is safe for everyone. More information and up to date announcements can be found at https://primaveraschool.org/ or on Primavera School’s Facebook page.