Values-Focused Education at Pacific Oaks

Pacific Oaks College and Children’s School occupy a unique place in the city’s educational landscape. This historic institution has shown a commitment to the values of equality, peaceful conflict resolution, and the unique potential of every individual regardless of difference. The Children’s School was founded in 1945 by several Quaker families who saw a need for forward-thinking education for diverse communities. The college was added in 1959 to prepare teachers for the unique educational environment created at Pacific Oaks Children’s School.

“The school is very progressively-minded,” said Dr. Patricia Breen, President of Pacific Oaks College. “We develop students who will be lifelong learners.”

Pacific Oaks College now has three schools – Education, Cultural and Family Psychology, and Human Development – which support values-based learning. Their newest program is a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Change, which includes a hands-on applied project that ties into the student’s workplace.

“There’s a lot about children’s and adult education that requires the same approach – it’s about nurturing growth and challenge to build the confidence needed for a lifetime of curiosity and learning,” she said.

Just as Pacific Oaks responded to the emerging educational needs of diverse communities in its early days, Breen explains that The College and Children’s School continue the same responsiveness today. New programs includetrauma-informed care in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) specialization for teachers in early childhood education.

Breen explains that many Pacific Oaks College students come into the classroom as adults with their own life experiences. The college fosters a progressive approach to teaching and learning, valuing real-life experience in addition to academic achievements. Pacific Oaks supports the challenging priorities of students who also have jobs and families with flexible schedules, online learning options, and offsite classes. They most recently opened a campus in San Jose, Calif. and host offsite cohorts based on students’ schedules and enrollment.

“We really learn from each other – everyone is a student and a teacher.” she said.

Pacific Oaks College is located at 55 Eureka Street. For more information, call (626) 529-8061 or (626) 529-8500 or visit




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