In addition to the classroom teacher, students in Lower School see specialists in Music, Art, Spanish, Physical Education, Technology and Library. Please select a subject below to read the details.
Our Lower School Students develop their receptive and expressive World Language skills by gaining a metalinguistic awareness of the similarities and differences between Spanish and English. They explore new terminology, begin to understand the grammatical and syntactical aspects, and work toward creating meaningful usage of the language. In addition, each Unit of Inquiry highlights a cultural component, with students learning about the various places throughout the world in which Spanish is considered a native language. Cross-curricular cultural connections are made between each classroom’s Units of Inquiry and those dedicated specifically to Spanish, as in the case of students being able to compare and contrast California Missions with South American ones. With a deep understanding and appreciation of the need for differentiated education in language acquisition, teachers assess the development of each student on their individual growth.
Nuestros estudiantes de la Escuela Primaria desarrollan una habilidad más perceptiva y expresiva sobre el lenguage mundial. Durante esta etapa, se desarrolla una conciencia metalinguística de las similitudes y diferencias entre español e inglés. Los estudiantes exploran nuevas terminologías, comenzando a entender aspectos sintácticos y gramaticales del uso del lenguage. Cada unidad tiene un aspecto investigativo de los componentes culturales que caracterizan cada país que posee la lengua española como lengua oficial. Nuestro curriculum en español realiza conexiones con las unidades de cada grado haciendo el estudio de las mismas mucho más profundo. Por ejemplo, los estudiantes pueden comparar las misiones desarrolladas en California con aquellas desarrolladas en Sudamérica. De esta manera, los alumnos tienen una visión mucho más globalizada y compatible con el mundo de hoy. Las maestras de español evalúan a los estudiantes dependiendo del progreso individual de cada estudiante dándoles la posibilidad de ser los propios protagonistas del proceso de enseñanza-aprendizaje.
The lower school art program is saturated with all the life lessons art making can teach such as problem solving, generating ideas, revising, experimenting with materials, allowing oneself to think outside of any boxes, trial and error, building up technical skills, and self expression as well as the all important care and maintenance of tools and materials. The discipline of visual arts is alive and well at CHA. The students in kindergarten through 5th grade experience studio art every week. They are exposed to contemporary artists as well as those from art history; both well known and obscure, western and non-western. They develop their artistic voices in a graduated but open-ended scope and sequence in a nurturing way that allows for divergent thinking and individual expression. They create art through experiences in ceramics, painting techniques, drawing tools, printmaking, collage and mixed media. They learn about the elements and principles of art and design and see how artists communicate in unique ways through a variety of styles. They document their artistic journey in a process journal, which travels with them from 3rd to 5th grade. They connect their classroom learning with connections in the art studio; which reflects the ongoing collaboration between the classroom teachers and the specialist teachers. They reflect on their creative endeavors and are encouraged to continue to develop the sensitivity, skills and understanding that come from hands on creativity.
Our rigorous Performing Arts Program prepares students to perform two and three-part songs, utilizing round, partner songs descants and counter-melodies to reinforce the concept of harmony. Orff and Kodaly methods are used when singing and playing music instruments. Chord structure is introduced and explored. There is an emphasis on producing a steady beat at different tempos with proficiency. Students are expected to identify, read and write melodic notation and various rhythmic patterns. Kodaly hand signs and staff notation are both presented as ways to identify melody. Various musical symbols and related vocabulary appropriate for each grade level is introduced. Students will learn to identify and understand theme and variations as it relates to song form. Movement with music in the form of dances, circle games and creative movement, help the students to internalize the music and rehearse more difficult concepts. Music from various genres and cultures will be discussed and explored. In addition, we concentrate on interdisciplinary units that weave together music and the classroom units of inquiry. Each homeroom teacher has strategic planning time with the music teacher to coordinate exciting new ways to include music in as many units of inquiry as possible. There are also various musical performances throughout the year that are designed to support the core curriculum unit shares. A highlight of the year is when the lower school students showcase their musical talents as they perform at the winter concert.
The Lower School Chorus is made up the entire of 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes. The Choir rehearses once a week. Our repertoire includes pop, jazz and traditional music. The Choir performs two major concerts a year and also participates in California’s Forum Music Festival where the students consistently win awards for outstanding musical performances.
Research shows that children who play (exercise) increase the capacity of function of their organs as adults. If children do not get the opportunities for exercise as their organs are growing, that functional capacity can be lost forever. Children come to school at many different levels of physical development. Some children need the experiences that will help orient their body in space while others are ready to be more challenged with ball skills and strategies developed through games. CHA Physical Education program is designed to create a fun, developmentally appropriate, safe, supportive, and structured environment that will enhance the motor skills, fitness levels, interpersonal skills, and cognitive abilities of each student.
Children come to school at many different levels of physical development. Some children need the experiences that will help orient their body in space while others are ready to be more challenged with ball skills and strategic development through games and activities.
In our PE program it is important students understand that regular exercise; hydration, nutrition and rest are essential components of healthy lifestyle. Throughout lower school years students will respect the individuality of each student and recognize that others may have both similar and opposing emotions, feelings and perspectives. Additionally they will understand that some students will have different physical and academic qualities. It is important they value interacting, playing and learning with others. Cooperate with others. As well as share ideas clearly and confidently: able to manage relationships and support each other.
In the early years of lower school students will be able to use and adapt basic movement (gross and fine motor) in a variety of activities such as skipping, galloping, running, jumping, and learning that creative movement can help express different feelings, emotions and ideas. Once they have mastered those activities they will learn manipulative skills such as tossing, throwing, catching, kicking, striking, and rolling. As they move up in grade level students will begin to apply more attention to technique and regular practice to improve effectiveness of their movements. The activities and games will involve more complex movement (fleeing and dodging, change of pace and direction) and require more abstract thinking and tactical planning.
Eventually students will understand how planning, performing and reflecting can influence an outcome. Through team games and activities students will appreciate the importance of teamwork, communication and the need to act responsibly to help ensure the safety of themselves and others. These activities will force students to think critically and guide them to make more effective decisions during physical activity. The classes will include traditional American sports, world sports, and modified activities to help with teaching these fundamental skills. An important aspect of our PE program is the collaboration with teachers to to make sure the concepts, skills, activities and games will support what students are learning in the classrooms.
Following the lead of the International Society for Technology in Education (“ISTE”), our goal in lower school is to transform learning with practical use of educational technology resources. Through routine collaboration with our media specialists, our Lower School Faculty integrates the development of 21st century media literacy skills directly into our units of inquiry so that students grow to become creative communicators and empowered digital citizens. Our lower school students do not simply learn how technology works; instead, they learn how to make technology work for them. Our students learn to discern what tools best, suit their needs, and their preferred methods of showcasing their learning. They strive for proficiency in using those tools, some of which include:
- Google Apps for Education (“GAFE”) and their Apple/Microsoft counterparts
- Seesaw (a classroom blog, digital portfolio creation, and parent engagement platform)
- Pixelmator (an image creation and editing tool)
The CHA Library seeks to act as a support to the International Baccalaureate program of the school as well as providing a place that inspires students to improve their reading skills. The library teaches students that books can be sources of information as well as read for pleasure.
The Librarian meets regularly with teachers to collaborate and plan activities to support the Units of Inquiry of each classroom. Books are read to the students that help them develop a strong understanding of the Learner Profile Attitudes and Attributes of the IB program. The Librarian also provides teachers with books that support each Unit of Inquiry so that students may access them in their classrooms.
Library visiting time is provided for Early Childhood students as an opportunity to spark the interest in written materials and provide a foundation for literacy. As students advance to Kindergarten and First Grade, they are given the responsibility and privilege of selecting books to borrow and read on their own. Read-alouds with the school librarian are important to support their emerging reading skills. Selections include books for word recognition and vocabulary as well as selections that support the Unit of Study in their classrooms.
As students reach Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth grades, the Library provides separate times for their growing needs. The joint Technology/Library times provides opportunities for students to research questions they have relating to their Units of Study through both online resources and selections offered on our bookshelves. The library provides work areas as well to complete the learning environment. In addition, each class is allowed additional time in the library to follow individual reading interests. Students in these grades earn the privilege of checking out several books to enhance their reading skills and foster the IB Learner Profile Attitudes of Curiosity, Enthusiasm, Confidence, Appreciation, Respect, Integrity and Independence.
Students in Middle School may visit the Library and use the resources need on a individual basis. The integrated use of the Library with Technology is viewed as a valuable Media Center and is available for the support of all CHA students, staff and parents.