About Peck

Traditions at Peck

Peck Traditions

The Peck School has a long history of honoring enduring and meaningful traditions that emphasize community and belonging. While much about the school has transformed through the years, certain elements timelessly retain the heart and soul of Peck. Here are some of the most notable:

Downy vs. Redhead

Students are assigned team membership at random upon enrollment. Throughout the year students earn points for their respective teams through structured competitions, by earning “Job Well Done” tickets for exhibiting behavior that exemplifies the core values, and in the culminating event of the year, Downy/Redhead Day, a field-day event where students compete in a multitude of physical and mental competitions. 

Reach Across

Reach Across is one of the important elements in Peck’s community-building toolbox.  Students are paired across grade levels, from K to 8, for special projects throughout the year that emphasize getting to know each other, providing support, and working together to better the community.

Service Partnerships

Peck’s belief that in life, knowledge must be guided by values, is aptly paired with our dedication to showing consideration of others. While our students live that by showing respect and kindness to all, they also work each year with several amazing service-learning partners to help those in need right in our local community. Peck is proud to partner with Preschool Advantage, Toys for Tots, the Interfaith Food Pantry, Hunger Walk, and more! 

Grade-Level "Signature" Events

Rich learning and bonding experiences abound at Peck, especially within our structured “signature” events for each grade. These are hands-on, group experiential learning opportunities for team-building, creative problem-solving, academic immersion—as well as, of course, just having fun as a grade together! From student-led performances to outdoor adventure trips to the annual Eighth Grade vs. Faculty Basketball Game, these events contribute to each year at Peck feeling special, memorable, and part of the exciting journey towards young adulthood.

Kairos Nights

Kairos is a Greek word meaning timeless or extraordinary time; time that cannot be measured or scheduled; a moment of grace or experience. On Kairos Day the entire student body enjoys a day with reduced technology and mindful lessons. Students are given no homework and families celebrate Kairos Night at home with quality time together.

Consideration of Others

Since Former Head of School Rudy Deetjen coined the phrase ‘Consideration of Others’ in the 1960s, it has become a hallmark in the Peck lexicon. It speaks to our core values (Respect, Resilience, Integrity, Gratitude, Courage, and Care) in ways both big and small, from how we greet each other with warmth and individual attention each morning with handshakes or elbow bumps, to how we care for our campus and our community.

Eighth-Grade Leadership

In a K-8 school, eighth graders are the leaders of the pack.  Whereas this crucial developmental stage can be “lost in the middle” in a K-12 or 7-12 model, at Peck, we ensure that not only do our students progressively learn and practice leadership skills throughout their time here, but also that eighth graders undertake significant community leadership roles. From Kindergarten Helpers to yearbook editors to sports captains to Student Council, these expectations help prepare eighth graders to assume leadership roles in high school and beyond.

The Sings

Twice a year (in December and May) the entire school joins together in a celebration of music! Parents and friends join us for these performances which highlight our vocal and instrumental music programs in both Upper and Lower Schools. The Spring Sing is paired with our annual Art Expo to also celebrate the visual arts work done by students all year. 

Family Dining

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then our family dining program is the heart of our community. At Peck, lunchtime means truly sharing a meal together. In grades 1-8, dining tables consist of rotating assignments of two students per grade level for each division, with a faculty or staff member, and everyone takes turns with table setting, serving, cleanup, and conversation.

Welcome Back Dinner

At Peck, we value our parent partnership. On the first Friday of each school year, our parents, faculty, and staff join together for a celebratory welcome back dinner to kick off the school year. At this annual event, the administration and Board of Trustees also honor teachers who have reached 20 years of service to Peck.

Milestone Celebrations

Childhood is a tapestry of milestones, from first steps to birthdays to evolving friendships. At Peck, we acknowledge our students’ academic and personal growth by celebrating important transitions, such as when our Lower School fourth graders ‘graduate’ to the fifth grade in Upper School. Or when our eighth graders move on to live, learn, and lead at the high school level of their academic careers. 

Eighth-Grade Speeches

The confidence to speak in front of others is a key learning outcome for Peck students. Students practice this skill beginning in kindergarten with read-alouds at Lower School assemblies, performances, and sharing about their family traditions, culture, and identities with classmates. They enjoy formal public speaking training in sixth grade, and culminate their eighth-grade experience with a personal speech at an Upper School or All School Assembly. This also provides each student the opportunity to tell their own story, celebrate differences, and explore their identity.

One such eighth-grade speech perfectly capturing "timely transformation"—the extraordinary inner transformation that happens through personal growth, through self-awareness, and through exploring one's identity and place in the world—came from Kosi Okonkwo '21, who delivered her speech at an all-school assembly in January.  Watch her speech here.