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Curriculum

Students at The Oaks learn by doing. Our experienced faculty use teaching methodologies based on progressive learning theories to design curricula that integrate program subjects in order to enhance children's ability to grasp concepts, construct meaning, see relationships, and retain meaning. Students are in a safe environment for asking questions, making mistakes, and becoming life-long learners. Through literature, projects, field trips, and by integrating multiple perspectives into the curriculum, we are also preparing students to meet an increasingly diverse and multicultural world.

Learning experiences are designed to be stimulating, thought-provoking, and challenging. With at least two co-teachers in the classroom there is room to differentiate learning for the unique learning styles of each student. Students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning process by being deep thinkers, scientific observers, creative writers, collaborative problem solvers, risk-takers, and empathetic friends.


Language Arts

From being able to name letters to selecting reading material based on their own interests, Oaks' students are immersed in a world of language early and often. Students develop an appreciation and respect for literature and turn to reading for enjoyment, insights, and information. Through word study, guided reading, and book groups, students build their comprehension skills while exploring a variety of genres. Using the Writer’s Workshop framework, students develop their writing voices to articulate a point of view, as well as clearly and elegantly construct arguments to support a specific perspective.


Reading

Writing

Kindergarten and
Multi-Age

Building strategies for experimenting and emerging readers; naming letters and letter sounds to developing fluency and reading comprehension; simple rhymes; story structure including characters, settings, plots, problems and solutions; book discussions around read alouds; making predictions.

Forming foundations of a developing writer; writing stories using pictures to adding words to picture stories; story development with a beginning, middle, and end; using classroom resources to strengthen spelling; multiple forms of writing such as journals, stories, paragraphs, poetry, response to prompts; writing process of drafting, editing, revising, publishing; descriptive language and language structure (grammar).

Third and Fourth Grade

Reading for information and higher-order thinking; building expression and speed; developing tools to think critically about content and structure of a text; summarizing using key ideas and interpreting implied meaning and information; guided reading and reading groups; strategies for reading in all subject areas.

Developing language, organization, and mechanics to express ideas and write with purpose; explore genres of writing including instructions, poetry, informational, descriptive, and narrative pieces; using the writing process to effectively communicate ideas and purpose; strengthening of writing by planning, revising, and editing; applying rules of spelling, grammar, and writing conventions.

Fifth and Sixth Grade

Strengthening comprehension of fiction and non-fiction texts; developing ability to draw inferences and summarize material from multiple texts; formulate arguments with textual evidence.

Reading with confidence to make inferences, analyze, and synthesize information effectively.

Using and understanding different modes of writing (summarizing, fictional, analytical, and expository writing); writing with organization and research (citing evidence, organizing and linking ideas, paragraph/essay development); draft/revision process; writing mechanics.


Math

Our progressive math curriculum is based on Piaget’s theory that children construct their own knowledge in response to their experiences. Students develop mathematical thinking and numerical reasoning by engaging in activities that build physical knowledge, social (conventional) knowledge, and logico-mathematical knowledge. Students continue to explore multiple ways of approaching challenging mathematical problems to build problem-solving skills, computational fluency, application of math skills to real-life problems, and effective communication of mathematical thinking.


Math

Kindergarten and Multi-Age

Developing mathematical thinking with a focus on developing strategies for math fundamentals such as 1:1 correspondence, number values; addition/subtraction; word problems; patterns; 2D and 3D shapes and measurement; Practicing how to explain mathematical reasoning behind solutions to math problems; developing social (conventional) knowledge such as time and money.

Third and Fourth Grade

Build on learned strategies and further build foundation for higher level problem solving through practice and review of concepts such as numbers and operations, data and probability, and geometry; strengthen fluidity of basic math facts in addition, subtraction, and multiplication.

Fifth and Sixth Grade

Strengthening of number sense and relationship between numbers; daily practical uses such as percentages, fractions, decimals, data analysis and graphing, measurement, and probability; introduction to algebraic concepts and expressions.

Social Studies

Social Studies

With a focus on project-based learning and hands-on activities, students learn to understand their own identities, to appreciate human differences, and explore history and how it connects to the present. Through study from multiple perspectives, students gain knowledge and understanding of how peoples of the past and present have been shaped by geography, history, belief systems, economics, socio-political systems, and culture.

Kindergarten and Multi-Age

Understanding the concept of self and others in the community and learning to recognize the points of view of others; exploration of community, culture and connection through class discussions, writing activities, hands on art activities, physical games, shared reading experiences and field trips.

Third and Fourth Grade

Third grade: extend thinking about community and human collaboration by exploring the needs of humans in different contexts around the globe; using texts, maps, tables, graphs, photographs, and charts to organize and absorb information about people, places, and environments; integrating literacy, geography, math, and science to understand how needs are fulfilled by adaptation and collaboration.

Fourth grade: Study of California history through the lens of fairness; examining the history of the native people of California, the idea of ownership of the state between Spain and Mexico, and westward expansion of the U.S. and statehood of California; discussions regarding the lasting impacts decisions deemed fair throughout history have had on the community socially and economically.

Fifth and Sixth Grade

Fifth grade: Focusing on the founding of the U.S., students develop understanding of history through multiple perspectives; critical questions are about whose history is being told and what biases may be present; students look for connections and implications of historical events as they apply to the present day.

Sixth grade: With a focus on ancient civilizations, study on how civilizations are formed and developed, when and why they declined, where they settled, and how geography influenced their success; analyzing and gathering information from primary and secondary resources to interpret cause and effect relationships.


Science and STEAM

The Oaks science program engages the natural curiosity of students.

Our STEAM program (science, technology, engineering and math) engages students in hands-on project building and creating. In the Maker Studio, students discover, experiment, and collaborate in a meaningful way. Physical, earth and life sciences are explored using a hands-on, inquiry based approach both in and out of the classroom. Students develop an understanding of how science impacts today’s modern life. They become scientific thinkers and are encouraged to research, design investigations, predict, classify, observe, describe, infer, and hypothesize, creating a foundation to utilize the scientific method and more systematic interpretations.

Science and STEAM

Kindergarten and Multi-Age

Introduction to the scientific method by making observations, collecting data to make comparisons, and using drawing or writing to demonstrate understanding of scientific concepts; students engage in hands-on experiments, whole class discussions, and physical games; Studies include plant life, states of matter, and basic engineering.

Third and Fourth Grade

Third grade: Students investigate structures of organisms and how the structures solve problems for growth and survival; using design thinking to guide investigations, students observe problems, brainstorm solutions, prototype and test their designs, reflect and redesign, and self-assess their thinking, learning, and process. Investigations include: food chains, dissection (owl pellets) and reconstructing skeletons, and design building of towers and watercrafts.

Fourth grade: Students formulate and justify predictions based on cause and effect relationships and differentiate observations from inference; students continue to build basic scientific terms and concepts by discussing, evaluating, and justifying predictions based on evidence; use observation, measurement, and record keeping skills. Investigations include: living and non-living parts an ecosystem; biomes across the world including flora, fauna, and weather conditions.

Fifth and Sixth Grade

Fifth grade: In an atmosphere of inquiry, students plan, carry out, and document investigations, then construct and communicate explanations based on data and evidence; areas of study include indigenous science and Western science, human growth and development (body systems, neuro-science and brain development in pre-adolescents), sustainability themes in connection to solar energy studies.

Sixth grade: With a focus on Earth Science, students learn about the processes that take place on and beneath the surface of the Earth; Change through time of the living organisms that inhabit the Earth; areas of study include investigating Earth’s layers, identifying types of folds and faults, modeling stresses that affect the Earth.

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