We approach curriculum in the broadest possible way, proceeding from the concrete to abstract concepts. Self-direction, strong social skills, sound study habits, and a healthy attitude toward learning are fundamental elements in our learning environment. As our students progress through the elementary levels, critical thinking, responsibility and time management become central tenets. We promote an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competition to develop a positive self-image and confidence in our students. Our students are working at multiple levels within each classroom. They develop responsibility and time management skills which foster independence.
CLASS LEVELS AND SIZES
Our elementary school is organized into two levels: Primary and Elementary. At the Primary level, there are six mixed-age classrooms ranging from ages 5-6, 6-7, and 7-8 years of age. Each classroom has two teachers to 24 students. At the Elementary level, there are 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade classrooms with 24 students and one teacher.
The curriculum at the Primary level is a continuation of the Montessori curriculum which students began in Children's House.
The Reading Program consists of the Individualized Montessori Phonetic/Grammar program coupled with the leveled Phonetic readers. The students progress into our first basal readers which are phonics-based and later are introduced to a Whole Language series when they are proficient readers.
We use the Wordly Wise 3000, 2nd Edition as our Vocabulary building series. The series focuses on improving students' vocabulary by furthering the understanding of new words and concepts.
The Elementary Math program is a continuation of the use of Montessori math materials and Mortensen Math Manipulatives to insure a complete grasp of math concepts. Singapore Math has been chosen as our basal math series. It is a highly successful program designed to equip students with a strong foundation in math. Concepts are taught which when partnered with our Montessori and Mortensen Math Manipulatives take them from the concrete, to the pictorial, and then to the abstract. A consistent step-by-step model drawing strategy is begun to help students organize their thoughts and make solving word problems a more manageable and successful task.
The Social Studies program moves from a continuation of the basic Montessori study of landforms and continent identification. World and continent puzzle maps are introduced. Basic map skills are taught. Individual continents are studied through units that include cultural boxes and biomes of each continent. A basic introduction to the Elementary Social Studies “Neighborhoods and Communities” series is also utilized along with a study of current events.
We use the Write Source writing program for our Writing Program. It explains the Writing Process and includes units covering Descriptive Writing, Narrative Writing, Expository Writing, and Persuasive Writing. It includes a Proofreader's Guide which covers the rules for capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and grammar. It also helps with speaking, listening, and test-taking skills. Primary students begin the process that will help them develop into expressive writers at the Elementary level.
Primary classes also have Spanish, Chinese, Science, Music, and Computer classes, art, and physical education regularly in their weekly schedules.
In our Elementary program, the upper division consists of five classrooms ranging from 3rd through 6th grade age children. These classes are multi-level programs consisting of core academic subjects including reading, math, social studies, language arts, creative writing, and spelling/ word study utilizing the Wordly Wise 3000 vocabulary series. (The 3000 stands for the 3000 vocabulary words they face on the SATs) All areas covered are done at an advanced level to prepare the students for private Middle School if that is their intention.
The Reading Program consists of a Whole Language Basal Reader series along with the use of many novels and nonfiction works to encourage independent readers and creative thinkers.
Wordly Wise 3000, 2nd edition, is used as the vocabulary series. It focuses on improving students' vocabulary by furthering their understanding of new words and concepts. It encourages wide reading and basic strategies for using context clues. Prefixes, suffixes, and root words are analyzed. A study of Greek and Latin roots enhances this procedure.
The Social Studies curriculum includes a general US History/ geography for 3rd grade, California History for 4th grade, American History for 5th grade, and Ancient History for 6th grade. The curriculum is enhanced with novels, coordinated field trips, original plays written by students, and cooperative activities that relate to the period of study.
The Math Program is kept at an advanced level progressing to a 7th / 8th grade level including Pre-Algebra. Mortensen Math, a manipulatives-based math program, is used as a hands-on approach to math. It consists of multi-level strands that include Algebra, Arithmetic (Base 10 Operations), Calculus, Measurement (Geometry), and Problem Solving (solving for X). Singapore Math is being integrated into the Upper Division math program and partnered with the Mortensen Math Manipulatives, students are taken from the concrete to the pictorial, and then to the abstract. A consistent step-by-step model drawing strategy is utilized to help students organize their thoughts and make solving word problems a more manageable and successful task.
The Language and Creative Writing Program is based on the Write Source program which encourages each student to raise the level of his/her writing skills and become able to express themselves through poetry, creative prose, and analytical creative writing.
The students also participate in Speechmasters which is a children’s version of Toastmasters. It really helps them to become organized writers and to be comfortable expressive speakers before a group.
Along with the Core curriculum, they have pulled out half a class at a time for Computer, Science, Music, Spanish, PE, and Art classes. Chinese is available after school for students 3-6 grade.