Dr. Jane Goodal and Margarita Pagliai

Dr. Jane Goodall and Seven Arrows Head of School and Founder Margarita Pagliai in 1994 and 2022

The Seven Arrows umbrella of schools started with Little Dolphins by the Sea preschool nearly 30 years ago. Seven years later, Seven Arrows Elementary School was born. The Roots & Wings TK Center is the most recent program to join the Seven Arrows family and was formed shortly after the school’s acquisition of the Aldersgate Retreat Center in 2021. While each school is unique, they were all founded by visionary Margarita Pagliai and together they share “The Seven Arrows Way of Education.”

Sourcing inspiration from Dr. Jane Goodall’s work in conservation, Seven Arrows schools share a deep connection to nature and commitment to bettering oneself, the earth and the community.

Academically, the Seven Arrows Way of Education is a best practices approach informed by brain research, child development, and the latest and best pedagogical practices. The school communities maintain that a meaningful education is ever-evolving and responsive.

In fact, each individual student at Little Dolphins, Seven Arrows, and Roots & Wings has a personalized educational plan that charts their areas of growth and moves at their individual pace.


Twenty-eight years ago, among the sprawling oaks in Temescal Park, Dr. Jane Goodall brought her message of hope to a group of educators and preschool students. Even then, Dr. Goodall’s goal was to inspire children to protect the planet. Among the attendees were students from Little Dolphins by the Sea and its founder, Margarita Pagliai.

“When I asked Dr. Goodall twenty-eight years ago how to create a great science program, she said, ‘By giving [children] enough time to be in nature…’ ” said Ms. Pagliai. Hence, the creation of a nature-based curriculum rich with hiking, exploring and even surfing.

Little Dolphins by the Sea Preschool was initially located at Ms. Pagliai’s Pacific Palisades home and soon moved to Temescal Park where it remained for sixteen years before finding its current home in Santa Monica.

Now Little Dolphins features a robust anti-bias curriculum, kindergarten readiness TK program. A deep connection with nature, combined with a rich multicultural curriculum have always been a part of the school’s DNA. As the program expanded, the connection with nature has remained one of its core tenets.


In 1999, a group of parents moved by the rich curriculum at Little Dolphins came together and encouraged the formation of an elementary school that could expand upon the Little Dolphins ethos. Shortly after, Seven Arrows Elementary School was born. Located in the heart of the Palisades, between the mountains and the ocean, Seven Arrows is the optimal mix of intentional academics, community service, and culture.

Last September, Seven Arrows had the honor of bringing Dr. Jane Goodall back to Temescal Park, where she inspired a crowd of nearly 600 students from across Southern California. Sixth Graders in the Seven Arrows Nature Society also took the stage with Dr. Goodall and presented their work in nature conservation.

Within the Seven Arrows Way of Education there is a strong link between academics, culture, and nature. The goals go beyond helping students reach academic excellence: the community is committed to promoting positive changes in the world.

Throughout the school year, students lead Ethical Leadership Projects that support causes they care deeply about. Some recent projects include beach clean-ups, creating libraries for underfunded schools, supporting cancer research, combating climate change, and joining Dr. Goodall’s mission to plant a trillion trees.


With the recent acquisition of the Aldersgate Retreat Center, a new opportunity to expand the Seven Arrows Way of Education came to fruition through the Roots and Wings Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Center.

Nestled within the Aldersgate campus amongst the redwood trees, Roots and Wings is a multidimensional program with an emphasis on the environment, STEAM and hands-on learning. This program is ideal for children who are ready for academic challenges and a more structured day. It is a true Kindergarten readiness program.

The Roots and Wings TK Center also benefits from the resources of Seven Arrows Elementary School, such as master specialty teachers, an expansive edible garden, and top of the line facilities.


The Seven Arrows Way of Education has enriched the lives of thousands of families over the years. “My proudest moments are when I learn about how kind and well-prepared our alumni are at their respective middle schools and high schools,” shared Ms. Pagliai.

In fact, these successful alumni have paved the way for future Seven Arrows graduates, making them sought after by top middle schools throughout Los Angeles. In turn, Seven Arrows students ultimately grow into adults who are successful, passionate and care deeply about the world around them.