Lower School

Education comes alive for our Lower School students through fully integrated, project-based curriculum and grade-specific themes.

Kindergarten: Connections

Our youngest students explore the world of connections –– between self and others, our culture and other cultures, home and the environment. They also connect with eighth grade buddies and the wider school community. By focusing on what it means to be part of something bigger than oneself, kindergarten lays the foundation for the years ahead.

First Grade: Relationships

First graders study the complex relationship between environmental habitats and their own families and homes. They use Design Thinking to learn about empathy and mindfulness techniques to understand how to work together with their classmates and how to be their best selves. Jewish values serve as guideposts in teaching students to consider the importance of their own behavior and their relationships at home, at school and in the larger community. Additionally, students ponder the rhythm of the calendar year by tracking the connections between Jewish holidays and the phases of the moon.

Second Grade: Explorations

In second grade, the literature hero, Flat Stanley, serves as a tour guide on student adventures around the world. Second graders investigate and compare different cultures and customs, from the tea ceremony in Japan to life on a Kibbutz in Israel. The worldliness of this grade compels students to discover their place in the big picture and how they as individuals can effect change, one action at a time. Second graders also explore the natural and human world through scientific methodology, physics concepts, insects and plants, numbers, idioms, poetry and literature. They uncover connections between the contemporary world and the values and the stories of the book of Genesis, locating their learning within a Jewish context.

Third Grade: Communities

Third graders examine the theme of community. The children explore and define the many communities in which they belong. Along the way they create personal “All About Me” newspapers and research leaders who help(ed) guide and strengthen communities. Through service learning and our Buddy programs, students have frequent real-life opportunities to give back to their communities.

Fourth Grade: Perspective

Fourth graders view every area of the curriculum from multiple perspectives. They study the development of the State of California and the modern State of Israel first through their own eyes and subsequently through the lens of contemporary people who migrated to these lands. Hands-projects, literature studies, numerous field trips, observations and critical thinking bring the lessons to life throughout the year. Fourth graders apply the values learned from each of these units to their own lives, reflecting on the effects of their personal actions and how to use empathy while making decisions.

Fifth Grade: Leadership

Fifth graders are our lower school leaders and role models. They train as recess leaders and help our younger students solve issues on the playground. In their classes, they reflect on the notable leaders of our country and on leaders in the Torah. From the successes of early settlers and political visions of the founding fathers to the moral authority of Moses, fifth graders study what characteristics make a successful leader –– and apply them to today’s world.

Spotlight on Lower School

boys and girls standing near a creek in a beautiful woodsy setting

Third-grade students completed an engaging science unit on the life cycle of trout by releasing their hatchlings (called 'fry') during an adventurous field trip on recently.

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