The curriculum at Village School is both innovative and varied. Students are invigorated by the hands-on approach to learning and they are interested because their experience is relevant and engaging.
Our broad and balanced program is taught in small classes where the individual child can be nurtured as well as challenged in a rigorous academic setting. Class projects are designed to spark imagination, promote intellectual curiosity and foster shared discovery. At Village School, we recognize that educating young people goes beyond academics. We encourage independence as well as collaborative work, and we recognize the importance of respecting oneself and the rights of others.
The Transitional Kindergarten program is an ideal way to start children on the path to success! TK is a full day program starting at 8:00am and ending at 3:00pm. Each week is integrated and balanced between academics and specialty classes. The children spend time in math, language, science, social studies, art, music, Spanish, social play, P.E., library, technology, fine motor practice, and exploration. The specialty classes offer the children the broad range of experiences and ways of learning. The TK year reflects the child’s growth through exploration and discovery.
The kindergarten program establishes the academic foundation for the rest of a child’s life at Village School. Children are introduced to Reader's and Writer's Workshops, models that allow for student voice and enthusiasm to grow while cultivating their understanding of these key facets of literacy. Children are exposed to a number of mathematical concepts through the Everyday Math program. Children also compare and contrast nine nations as part of a global exploration. During the school year kindergarteners travel to three continents, visiting three countries within each continent.
These travels allow students to explore each country’s literature and culture through stories and poems, music, dance, art, science, cooking, games and dramatic play.Kindergarten students visit each of our six specialist classes on a regular basis. Library, music and art specials are visited once a week. They attend Spanish and PE three times a week. Technology is regularly incorporated into small and whole group classroom lessons. Additionally, students attend class in our technology center every other week to learn new skills and explore technology tools.
It is in kindergarten that teachers also introduce the children to the six Village Values: respect, responsibility, trust, fairness, caring, and courage. These Values are reinforced through Community Circle and Family Circle activities, our Village Values song, everyday conversations, and school wide events.
The strong foundation provided by Village School’s rigorous kindergarten program imparts the literacy and numeracy skills needed to excel in first grade and beyond. Students are known and valued for who they are and feel safe to truly grow to be the best version of themselves. The academic and social-emotional skills combine to create passionate and enthusiastic learners who are well equipped for the future.
The first grade program reinforces the foundation laid in kindergarten, providing a deeper respect for the environment and our responsibility in it. The year-long theme, “On Wings and Fins,” presents children with opportunities to make real life connections between the world outside of school and the skills and concepts taught in school. It also integrates the impressive migrations of the monarch butterfly and the local whale population into the students’ classroom experiences.
All subject skills are taught within this thematic framework. In language arts, first graders experience a variety of literary genres, read independently, in partnerships and begin to study parts of grammar. In math, first graders learn about place value, measurement and collecting and organizing data in various ways. Science focuses on the analysis of migratory animals and their importance in the balance of nature. In addition, knowledgeable educators provide an environment that promotes the joy of learning through collaboration and hands-on experiences.
Blanketing the first grade curricula is an emphasis on the social environment within individual classrooms and the school as a whole. Children and adults are expected to share in the practice of the Village Values as a means to nurture an environment in which children can explore, stretch, succeed, and learn from their mistakes.
The second grade program challenges and engages students, allowing them to strengthen and develop their skills, and emerge as fluent readers and writers.
In language arts, second graders will be introduced to critical thinking skills by making inferences, predicting outcomes, and comparing and contrasting literature. They practice oral fluency and expression, continue studying grammar, and read and write in a variety of genres such as narrative, prose, and expository styles.
In math, children strengthen their abilities to tell time to 5 minutes, identify and discuss polygons, construct and interpret graphs and solve single step word problems.
Social studies provides students the opportunity to explore, in long-term units of study, topics such as ancestry, historical biographies and the rainforest. Second graders learn mapping skills, study America’s past and government, and make direct connections to their science class during the rainforest unit.
In second grade, teachers become facilitators as the students are guided to become active participants in their learning and to become more independent in both their academic and social lives. Self-motivation, completion of work in a timely manner, resolving conflicts independently, and developing a sense of being a life long learner remain goals for all second graders.
The third grade program marks the beginning of the “ Upper School” at Village. Third graders complete the transition from a more developmental “ Lower School” environment into one that is more traditionally academic while engaging in challenging, experiential learning projects across the curriculum. They participate in cooperative and collaborative learning activities designed to develop their social and academic skills.
The language arts curriculum encompasses both a traditional approach to grammar and writing as well as a more progressive approach with projects extending from the novel studies. Students solidify literacy skills, in addition to constructing genuine responses to literature. The writing program, one of the hallmarks of the third grade program, is integrated extensively throughout the curriculum. Students practice writing in a variety of genres, where they learn the writing process. Writing is an essential skill that transcends all academic disciplines.
The Everyday Math series is used as a way to explore math concepts such as place value, positive and negative numbers, measurements, decimals and fractions. This exploration of math concepts is supplemented with skill building activities to assist students in making calculations transparent so that they may more fully focus on their problem solving skills.
The social studies curriculum includes the study of Native Americans, communities, government, and the history of Los Angeles. Students study the ways various groups of people lived, how they interacted with others, and how geography shaped their lives.
The fourth grade program focuses on discovery: discovering learning styles, becoming self-aware of how you learn best, what skills you need to improve, and how your actions impact a group. The study of California, its history, and the people who settled here provide the foundation of the curriculum, that is integrated whenever possible.
In language arts, students explore a variety of genres through both whole class novels as well as book groups. Developing the ability to critically analyze a work of literature is the core to the program as students learn to examine an author’s purpose, style, and tone. Students become thoughtful readers who have transitioned from learning to read to reading to learn.
The Everyday Math curriculum becomes more complex, capitalizing on the students' higher level thinking skills. Fourth graders continue to master the concepts of large numbers positive and negative numbers, measurement, decimals, fractions, geometry, patterns, functions, sequences and algebra.
In social studies, students participate in a year-long exploration of the history and people of California. A highlight of the year is playing “The Great and Glorious Gold Rush Game,” where students maintain a journal and balance a bankbook, recording the events and expenses as if living during the Gold Rush era. The year culminates with a trip to Sacramento where fourth graders tour the capital, visit the gold fields and experience panning for gold firsthand.
Fifth Grade begins the departmentalization of our Upper School with students receiving instructions from content specialty teachers. This allows for a more in-depth exploration of writing and social studies as well as preparation for the structure of secondary school. The Fifth Grade program is a partnership between teachers, parents, students, and the school community, that guarantees the effective use of all available resources to create, provide, and support quality instruction and environments. Every student will develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors needed in order to be a responsible, productive citizen and a lifelong learner in a diverse and changing global society. As Morris Adler once said, "The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live." It is this continued growth of the mind that we strive to develop and bolster in the fifth grade.
In Language Arts, students will read and respond to historically or culturally significant works of literature. They will develop their abilities to discern main ideas and concepts presented in texts, identifying and assessing evidence that supports them. They will also draw inferences, conclusions, or generalizations about text and support them with textual evidence and knowledge. Fifth grade students will write narrative, expository, persuasive and descriptive texts, as well as develop the skills needed to edit and revise their writing to improve its meaning and focus by adding, deleting, consolidating, clarifying, and rearranging words and sentences.
Using the University of Chicago's Everyday Math program, fifth grade students will increase their facility with the four basic arithmetic operations applied to fractions, decimals, and positive and negative numbers. They will learn to use common measuring units to determine length and area, and use formulas to determine the volume of simple geometric figures. Students will learn the concept of angle measurement and use a protractor and compass to solve problems. They will also learn how to use grids, tables, graphs, and charts to record and analyze data.
In Social Studies, students in the fifth grade will study the development of the nation up to 1850, with an emphasis on the people who were already here, when and from where others arrived, and why they came. Students will learn to recognize that ours is a nation that has a constitution that derives its power from the people, that has gone through a revolution, and that experienced a conflict over land with the original inhabitants. They will also develop a fundamental understanding of how the principles of the American republic form the basis of a pluralistic society in which individual rights are secured. Students then take all of this extensive knowledge and visit important sites in Boston and our nation's capitol on a five-day trip back East.
Sixth GradeSixth grade is the culminating year at Village, so the program strives to balance students’ current needs while preparing them to transfer to middle school. A strong emphasis is placed on students' developing greater responsibility and independence. The year begins with a three-day trip to Astrocamp which allows the students to bond and commune before embarking on their final year together at Village
In Language Arts, students closely study and analyze literary works that include short stories, novels, and poetry. Sixth graders develop an appreciation and understanding of the craft of writing by heightening their awareness and examination of figurative language, symbolism and theme. Students also continue their mastery of applying correct spelling, grammar and mechanics to their writing.
In anticipation of the upcoming transition to secondary school, our sixth graders use Pearson Course 1 Mathematics. This text provides the strong algebraic exposure needed to succeed in higher level math. In addition, our students learn to use a textbook, transfer problems, and show their mathematical thinking, all of which are essential study skills. Sixth graders work to express multiple strategies when solving word problems, understand coordinate graphing and practice the use of a compass to form geometric constructions. The students continue to work with algebraic variables in addition to working with formulas and equations. Students learn rates, ratios and map scale while identifying, expanding and creating complex patterns and sequences. Students at all levels work together, but opportunities are included both to enrich advanced students and to give additional support to students who may work at a slower pace.
The Social Studies program starts with a focus on archaeology and the development of ancient civilizations, from pre-historical communities, to Mesopotamia, and through ancient Greece. Later in the school year, the focus shifts from archaeology to a study of foreign countries. Students research a country, write a complete report, then celebrate and present the studied country during Village School’s annual World’s Fair. To enrich their understanding of foreign cultures, students study five major world religions and take field trips to corresponding sites of worship. The sixth grade ends the year with a three-day excursion to Catalina Island, providing an opportunity to utilize the concepts learned in science and history, while having a final community bonding experience.
Responsibility doesn’t just appear in the Village Values. Responsibility also appears in several long-anticipated projects and programs set aside for sixth graders because of their ability to see beyond their immediate concerns. Sixth graders are paired with a kindergarten “buddy” with whom they participate in many activities both on and off campus. Sixth graders participate in a community service partnership with the St. Joseph's Center of Venice, providing the priceless experience of working with pre-school age children. Beginning in January, St. Joseph's students come to Village bi-monthly to read and do craft projects with sixth graders. Also, in the spring, the sixth grade puts on a musical play for the school.
Being a sixth grader at Village means that you look beyond yourself. You look for ways that you can use your talents to improve the community and lives of those around you. In essence, the students become philanthropists, altruistic ambassadors for the school, their families and their communities.