Curriculum Overview (K-2)
The language arts program develops a mastery of skills for reading, spelling, writing, and speaking the English language proficiently. Daily lessons promote the development of auditory, visual, and memory skills. The reading instruction is based on the phonetic structure of English and includes techniques for developing expressiveness and comprehension. Students begin learning basic grammar in first grade as a tool of comprehension. The study of grammar continues at each grade level with increasingly complex features of the language learned, practiced, and applied throughout the curriculum.
The mathematics curriculum focuses on students acquiring strong basic computational skills, developing an understanding and proficiency in core concepts, and sharpening logic reasoning and problem solving skills. The students also learn to understand how math relates to everyday life. This instruction supports a strong computational base that is the foundation for more advanced, complex, mathematical thinking.
Life science and California natural history are explored through the science program. Students observe a sense of order in nature, learn adaptations, and study practical applications of earth and physical science. The lessons are tactile with few virtual activities in the classroom. Students experience fascinating creatures, specimens, and creative lessons that capture the imagination and instill a love of nature. The indoor and outdoor classrooms of our nature center allow for authentic experiences that emphasize close observation, experimentation, and application in an aesthetic setting.
Students follow the Core Knowledge sequence for history and geography as outlined by the Core Knowledge Foundation. This progression provides rich content as knowledge and skills build cumulatively from year to year. Students study American history, world history, and geography. The goals of the program are to have students internalize a passionate fascination with history and enter each new grade ready to learn the next layer of subject matter. The artfully planned sequence also prevents repetitions and gaps in the history curriculum.
Participating in activities, songs, and games, students develop listening comprehension skills, a vocabulary base, and correct pronunciation of the Spanish language. They learn of different cultures in a creative and participatory way; generating understanding and respect for these various cultures and countries.
The tradition of theater at Pinewood School began with our founder, Gwendolyn Riches, and her commitment to a program that promotes confidence and develops dynamic communication – vital life skills. The theater experience trains students to express themselves through voice, body, and facial expressions. Each class has the opportunity to practice and perfect a musical production performed for the school and families.
In music class, students experience a complete, active involvement in music-making that includes singing, speech, movement, and basic instrument instruction. The curriculum encourages a creative and expressive response to music. Throughout the year, students learn and perform a variety of musical genres including traditional, folk, patriotic, holiday, and contemporary age-appropriate songs. They also become familiar with some of the world’s greatest composers and musical works.
Art class is a creative time to discover and explore one’s own unique talents by using a wide variety of mediums, tools, and techniques, as well as having the opportunity to experience the joy of the art process. Peer critiquing and an introduction to art history further deepens an understanding of the creative process, enhancing the art experience and providing inspiration for personal creativity.
Physical activity not only improves fitness levels but also enhances academic stamina. Students participate in a variety of individual and team activities at least once a day. The goal of the program is to develop a foundation for a lifelong habit of daily physical activity by learning athletic fundamentals, sports skills, and sportsmanship in a joyful, active environment.
Social and Emotional Learning
Each week, students are involved in engaging lessons that promote positive behavior which contributes to a successful school experience. Pinewood Lower Campus uses the Kimochi's program that is designed to give students the skills, knowledge and attitudes they need to manage their emotions in a positive way, learn how to get along with others, and develop the correct vocabulary to express their feelings constructively. Students are introduced to “emotional vocabulary" that gives teachers, parents and students a common language to guide decision making and one's behavior. Through the unique Kimochi characters, students will learn how to problem-solve, interact with others and communicate in ways that will serve them in school and in life. Key goals of the program are the development of emotional competence and creating a culture of kindness, respect and inclusivity.