The Lower Elementary program offers students an opportunity to study art in a structured and safe environment. Students experiment with a variety of art techniques and materials such as printmaking, painting, sculpture, drawing and collage. In addition to art creation students will also improve their art vocabulary and investigate art history through visual reference, group discussion and critique.
Projects are designed for each class based on three criteria:
Students' previous knowledge and experience
Goals outlined in the Visual and Performing Arts Framework for California
Each art activity will introduce a new art material and technique, encourage critical thinking and problem solving, and promote original thinking and art making.
It is the goal of the music program to provide students with classroom and performance experiences in music, dance and drama. The curriculum broadens their cultural perspective, encourages creativity and inspires students to deepen their study in the arts. When possible, the activities are correlated to core subject areas and classroom themes. The students have two music classes in each six-day cycle.
The music curriculum encourages all students to:
Sing alone and with others using a varied repertoire of music
Perform on instruments alone and with others
Improvise melodies, variations and accompaniments
Read and notate music
Listen to, analyze and describe music
Evaluate music and music performances
Understand relationships between music and other disciplines
Understand music as an expression of history and cultures
The library curriculum seeks to support and extend the language arts, social studies and science skills that are being taught in the classroom. Responses to literature may include math, science and/or writing activities. A wide variety of literary genres and cultures are represented in the books used for story time. The library program encourages independent reading through book talks, provides individual help with book selection and promotes the idea that reading is fun as well as valuable.
The library curriculum encourages students to:
Select appropriate materials for independent reading
Identify the title, author and illustrator of a book
Relate the events of a story to his/her life experiences
Recap the sequence of events
Make predictions as to outcome or behavior of characters
Demonstrate comprehension of the text though discussion
Use Venn diagrams, charts and graphs to organize ideas
Learn library vocabulary
Understand the specific arrangement of materials in the library
Use nonfiction and reference books to find information
Students are encouraged to work as young scientists using an inquiry method. Inquiry is central to what it means to be a learner: a curious and involved person. Students also benefit from, and are motivated by, being able to pursue answers to questions they ask. Engaging in active investigation and analytical thinking, they learn how to implement experiences and advance their scientific understanding as they develop hypotheses, take risks, and record their results. The science curriculum is developmentally appropriate and interdisciplinary in scope.
Using many of the ideas and concepts from the Council for Elementary Science International, California Department of Education Science framework and the National Science Teachers Association, the Lower School Science program focuses on four areas of curriculum:
Technology at Curtis is not taught as a separate discipline. Instead, students absorb technology skills by using computers in the classroom and the lab. The focus is on teaching computer concepts and skills that can be applied regardless of platform or application. The technology specialist works closely with the classroom teacher to develop lessons to support the curriculum, and teachers remain in the lab with their students during the lab sessions. The technology program for Lower Elementary (grades DK-2) focuses on six major concepts: