“Jasmine Star Horan has compiled a fascinating account of the educational community of the Gazebo school, a program immersed in the lands and learning of Big Sur’s Esalen Institute along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean in California. By interviewing former students, such as herself, and teachers of this path-breaking school, Horan offers educators and parents an intriguing account of how children grow within their relationships—with nature, with each other, and with their inner lives. Spanning the many years of the school’s evolution and weaving in her own education as a teacher, this book provides an important lesson into how our modern culture needs to bring play, the natural world, and imagination fully back into our children’s experiences, at school, at home, and in our communities, to remind the new generation of the desperately needed awareness of the interconnection of life on this precious and magnificent planet, this home we call Earth.”

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D
New York Times Bestselling Author, Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence; The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are

“Jasmine Horan has cast a wide net in her investigative reporting to describe the vital interrelatedness of Gazebo to community, Gazebo to Early Education, and Gazebo to transformative ways of being. It is an anthropological perspective, and personifies what Janet Lederman would be so proud to hear: that each person’s deep dive into the Gazebo Experience profoundly affected them, empowered them, and deepened their awareness of authentic relationships within a connected community. May we all take the jewels of wisdom presented in Jasmine’s work, and sew them into the fabric of the future.”

Lia Thompson-Clark
Director of the Children’s School at Sonoma State University and Former Director of Gazebo Park School

“Jasmine Horan has insightfully captured an important part of Esalen’s history. This account of the Gazebo school shares the experiences of the parents, teachers and children who have been exposed to the Gazebo’s emotionally intelligent and nature-connected approach to early life education. In this fascinating, heart-full and well-crafted book, Horan—herself a former Gazebo student then teacher—takes on big questions of how to best allow children their experience in learning, growing, and sharing in being responsible for their emerging selves. I personally learned a lot from this thought-provoking book, and as a father, teacher, student and psychologist, I highly recommend it.”

Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D
Psychologist, Gerontologist, CEO of Age Wave, Author of BODYMIND, Age Wave and Gideon’s Dream: A Tale of New Beginnings

“Horan entices you with a myriad of structures and incarnations supporting early childhood education as children demonstrate treasures of unfolding possibilities. With children as the nucleus of Gazebo in a natural setting, she embraces the learning styles and behaviors of Janet Lederman’s treasured philosophy of transformation at an early age. I recommend this valuable reading as it is the seed of human potential.”

LaVerne McLeod
Author of Corn Hollow, and Founder of Bridge Building to Equity Workshops

“The Esalen Gazebo, tucked safely among the trees on the Big Sur coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean, has been a forty-year joyful experiment in early childhood education, a nurturing cradle of play, exploration, and healthy development for several generations of fortunate children. Begun in 1977 by Janet Lederman for the children of Esalen staff members, the Gazebo has served from its start as an extraordinary combination of preschool, all-year camp, and gentle gestalt awareness workshop. Jasmine Horan has brought us all a special gift with this wonderful account of that remarkable school. Educators and parents alike will find here many stories and ideas to inspire and inform them, perhaps allowing the life-enhancing methods developed at the Gazebo to now ripple out into the wider world which could so much benefit from that benevolent influence.”

Richard Tarnas
Author of The Passion of the Western Mind and Cosmos and Psyche, Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, California Institute of Integral Studies