Kindergarteners make connections to math, history, geography, and one another through language
Pinewood celebrates children’s incisiveness and spontaneity while also expecting them to master foundational skills and knowledge.
Our curriculum works to make this core knowledge automatic, giving students the academic stamina to forge ahead. Our small class sizes allow teachers to get to know each student as an individual. From kindergarten on, our students learn math, art, science, language arts, Spanish, P.E., and music from an expert in each field.
- Language Arts
- Musical Theater
- Visual Arts
- Physical Education
- Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
Our language arts curriculum develops a mastery of skills in literature, conventions (grammar, spelling, vocabulary), and writing. Daily oral reading in small groups with the teacher provides training in reading accuracy, meaningful expression, and comprehension skills. Students learn principles and components of English grammar as it is essential for writing skills as well as for comprehension of spoken and written language. The foundations of reading, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar instruction culminate in the writing program. Students understand each stage of the writing process and gain the capacity to work diligently on every phase of creating a fine written piece through studying and practicing the Six Traits of Writing.
Our 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. Through teacher-directed class instruction in the core math classes and opportunities for independent trial and group activities in math enrichment classes, students are able to show logical steps in their written work, compare strategies for finding solutions, and develop an understanding of each concept. Student review previously studied material for retention and automaticity which improves speed and accuracy while also mastering the fundamentals which supports an understanding of new concepts.
Our science curriculum focuses on discovery and experimentation. There are very few “virtual” activities in the classroom; everything is real. Students in 3rd-8th grades follow Next Generation Science Standards by studying Amplify Science, a phenomena-based curriculum that blends hands-on investigations, literacy-rich activities, and interactive digital tools to empower students to think, read, write, and argue like real scientists and engineers.
Our history curriculum follows 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.
Our Spanish curriculum at Pinewood is based in a spiraled six-level educational program where students develop functional skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish. The complexity increases in each level and previous knowledge is reinforced. Students learn about Hispanic cultures in a creative and participatory way that facilitates understanding, tolerance, and respect for different cultures and countries. The elementary program ensures the understanding of fundamentals of the language and accommodates the children’s growth.
The tradition of musical theater at Pinewood School began with Pinewood’s 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 which totals sixteen musical plays each year where students not only learn performing skills but audience skills as well.
In music, students experience a complete, active involvement in music-making that includes singing, movement, incorporating basic music theory, and instrument instruction. Our curriculum encourages a creative and expressive response to music. Much of the program centers on the methodologies of the ORff approach and the Kodaly method. 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.
Our visual arts curriculum includes studies in art history, art criticism, and studio art which allow students to express themselves artistically and to appreciate the creative connections between art and life that are essential to the community. Students develop a personal vocabulary of expression while building confidence in creativity and a wide range of artistic strategies. They learn to see detail, to envision, to persist and learn from mistakes, and to make and justify critical judgments.
Physical activity not only improves fitness levels but also enhances academic stamina. The Pinewood physical education program includes daily classes for all grade levels. Students participate in an extensive array of activities that includes competitive and non-competitive team sports that strive to develop good social behavior with other students. The goal of the program is to develop the lifelong skills of sportsmanship and physical fitness, as well as foster an overall enjoyment of athletics.
We believe that coding, design, and engineering skills are all fundamental aspects of a 21st-century education and necessary in almost every career path our students may take. We utilize technology when doing so elevates the learning experience for our students as well as the effectiveness of our teachers. Our K-6 technology curriculum is designed to scaffold over a seven-year path. This helps our students build a solid foundation and comfort level in coding and design/engineering, and–if a passion is discovered–develop and explore it further.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
Our Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum is based on the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning’s (“CASEL”) Core SEL Competencies which include: Self-Awareness; Self-Management; Social-Awareness; Relationship Skills; and Responsible Decision-Making. We use class meetings, open sessions, check-ins, and assemblies to heighten awareness of and develop skills in core SEL competencies. We also use those same methods to help build a common language and to establish community goals and expectations. Our overarching goal is to build a community at Lower and Middle Campuses that is encouraging, inclusive, and conducive to the growth mindset necessary to maximize student learning.
- What is the academic environment at Pinewood?
- How would you describe a Pinewood student?
- Why do students have subject-specific teachers in the elementary grades?
- What opportunities do parents have for involvement at Pinewood?
- Where can I find information about curriculum?
- How much homework do you give and how long does it take a student to complete it?
- Can I help my child with his/her homework?
- How will I know how my child is doing in school?
- How often will my child receive a report card?
- What clubs and activities does Pinewood offer?
- Do you have a lunch program?
- How do you engage your students throughout the day?
- What are your behavioral expectations for students?
- Middle Campus | Do new students transition well into Spanish when they have not studied the language before?
What is the academic environment at Pinewood?
Mutual respect and camaraderie of all community members characterizes the relationship between Pinewood students and their teachers. This results in a positive environment that enables maximum development of personal potential. Inside the classroom, minimal distractions allow students to focus on learning. Consistent individual assessment provides opportunities for positive reinforcement as well as suggestions designed to enhance skills. Outside of the classroom, students flourish among their peers. Kindness, integrity, and an appreciation for education are evident at each campus.
How would you describe a Pinewood student?
Pinewood students embrace individual responsibility, have a keen desire to learn and as a community, they support one another in all endeavors. The students value the talents of their peers and develop deep friendships that continue beyond their years at Pinewood. The faculty encourages student participation in a broad array of extra-curricular activities from sports to student government, the arts, and community service. Click here to view our student Expectations and Values.
Why do students have subject-specific teachers in the elementary grades?
Pinewood carefully selects instructors who are well educated in their specific field and who possess the personal dynamics vital to fine teaching. Discipline-specific courses taught by experts from kindergarten through high school are a major strength and distinction at the elementary and high school levels. Among the advantages of teachers teaching specific subjects are the maximization of teacher preparation time, a rich array of teaching styles, and professional enthusiasm for each subject. Teachers meet monthly at grade level meetings to collaborate on the best way to support or challenge a student. At Pinewood, teachers lead, inspire, assess, enlighten, and challenge their students.
What opportunities do parents have for involvement at Pinewood?
Pinewood welcomes and encourages parents to get involved and make a difference in their child’s school experience. Each class has a Grade Level Representative (GLR) who serves as a liaison between the administration and the parent community. Volunteers are also part of our grades 4-6 athletic program, serving as team parents or coaches.
Where can I find information about curriculum?
How much homework do you give and how long does it take a student to complete it?
As each child is different, the amount of time needed to complete an assignment will vary from student to student. Independent projects, papers, and reports may also affect the amount of time students will spend on their homework. Homework may be assigned each night, Monday through Thursday, and occasionally on weekends or over school breaks when students are doing a long- term project. The following are intended as general guidelines only:
Grade 1: 15 minutes
Grade 2: 25 minutes
Grade 3: 40 minutes
Grade 4: 50 minutes
Grade 5: 60 minutes
Grade 6: 75 minutes
Can I help my child with his/her homework?
We ask that parents/guardians be involved in the homework process by consistently setting aside a quiet area and a specific time in which the student may do his/her homework. There may be times when a student does not understand a homework lesson or cannot complete it. Please write a brief note stating the reason for the incomplete assignment. If parents give their children too much help in doing the homework, teachers might assume that the student fully understands a concept when in actuality he/she does not.
How will I know how my child is doing in school?
If a child is struggling in school either academically or socially, the teacher will contact the parents, usually via email. In addition, students bring home all their tests for a parent signature so parents know how well their child is doing on the tests. If they have questions or concerns, parents are encouraged to email and/or call the teachers if they have questions regarding homework.
How often will my child receive a report card?
What clubs and activities does Pinewood offer?
Do you have a lunch program?
Yes. The Epicurean Food Group is responsible for our on-campus lunch program; fresh, healthy, organic meals are prepared each day in our own on-site commercial kitchen. Families have the option of purchasing meals for their children or sending them with a lunch from home. Peruse a sample menu here.
How do you engage your students throughout the day?
Personal productivity and close interaction with teachers who instruct at a brisk but comfortable teaching pace engage and energize Pinewood students. Teachers ensure equal student participation during class, requiring all students to remain alert and attentive. At Lower Campus, technology helps enrich our program and is readily available for teacher and student use. It is woven throughout the curriculum as developmentally appropriate. All 3rd- through 6th-grade students are assigned an iPad for on campus use and have access to Apple laptops, and our Design Thinking space, the iMaginarium. Our structured classes are balanced with “hands-on” science instruction, daily physical education, and music and art.
What are your behavioral expectations for students?
Pinewood expects students to act in an orderly and respectful manner, maintaining high standards of courtesy, kindness, language, and honesty. School should be a pleasant and enjoyable place where students learn in a setting that is safe, caring, and cooperative. Everyone respects the rights of others and we do not tolerate disrespectful behavior. Review our student Expectations + Values here.
Middle Campus | Do new students transition well into Spanish when they have not studied the language before?
Students who enter Pinewood in the third grade transition easily as there is ample review at the beginning of the year. During the first semester, new fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students progress smoothly with teacher modifications on assignments and assessments at the beginning of the year. During classroom exercises, new students are paired up with strong, experienced students. Occasionally, the teacher may ask new students to attend a lunchtime review session and spend some extra time reviewing outside of class.
"Pinewood's faculty is simply a cut above! They bring passion, compassion, and expertise every day."
– Pinewood Parent
K-2 teachers offer resources to help parents promote a grateful mindset
Upper Campus students in the Pinewood Scholars Program engage with real-world issues through podcasting
Pinewood teams take home three big awards from the first-ever Virtual Tech Challenge Showcase
Pinewood's K-2 teachers offer SEL resources to help parents promote sensitivity