Primary School

Children are naturally eager to question, develop their own theories — even change a point of view.

First Grade


The mathematics program emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Students are actively engaged in skill- and concept-building exercises and activities in individual, small group, and whole-class lessons at every grade level. Our program focuses on real-world experiences, integrating our outdoor education center, projects lab, and other classes in lessons and projects to support the development of higher-level thinking skills. Our problem-solving and critical thinking based curriculum teaches step-by-step approaches to solving problems while encouraging students to develop and utilize their own problem-solving strategies.

All grade levels junior kindergarten through fourth grade address developmentally appropriate benchmarks following the following strands: number sense, geometry, measurement, operations and computation, patterns and functions, and data and probability. 

The junior kindergarten through fourth grade classes use the Bridges in Mathematics from The Math Learning Center. The program focuses on math literacy, emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking, and utilizes hands-on, real-world components. “Number Corner,” a component of Bridges in Mathematics, is an integrated daily calendar activity which focuses on patterning, prediction, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Math support specialists from the Learning Resource Center provide student support, and also work with small groups and individuals to be sure all students are receiving individualized instruction (enrichment or remediation) as needed.

In addition to classroom mathematics instruction, students work in the projects lab and use measurement, computation and problem-solving skills to build woodworking projects. This allows our students to apply their mathematical knowledge to something relevant and meaningful and experience math in the real world. Junior kindergarten and kindergarten children build small boats and a project of choice. First graders work on a more complicated paddle boat and a project of choice. Second graders spend the year working on building and learning to play a box guitar, even measuring the proper distance for the placement of the frets. Third and fourth graders use their skills to build projects of choice, and depending on the level of difficulty, might create one to three projects during the course of a school year. Through the primary school years, students have the opportunity to create something from scratch, using math, problem-solving, and collaboration with their peers.

First grade meets students engage through highly interactive ways fwith materials and resources as they develop basic counting, money, time, measurement and computational skills. Cultivating strong number sense is the primary aim. Bridges in Mathematics emphasizes problem solving and daily hands-on experience with manipulatives. Students are encouraged to express their mathematical thinking through discussions and writing. Students build basic addition and subtraction fact knowledge through games.

Goals and Objectives

Number Sense:

  • Count by 2s to 100
  • Count by 5s and 10s to 200+
  • Sequence and compare 1, 2, and 3-digit numbers using the symbols < > and =
  • Name the place and value of each digit up to 4-digit numbers
  • Read and writes 2- and 3-digit numbers

 Data Analysis:

  • Interpret simple bar graphs and charts


  • Identify time to the hour, half hour, and quarter hour on an analog clock
  • Identify and name the value of penny, nickel, dime, and quarter
  • Add combinations of coins to $1.00
  • Measure accurately to the nearest half inch and centimeter
  • Name and sequence months of the year and days of the week

 Operations and Computation:

  • Add one digit numbers using strategy of choice
  • Demonstrate the ability to count on when adding
  • Demonstrate automaticity of addition facts for +0, +1, doubles, and sums that equal 10
  • Create and solve simple addition and subtraction stories to 20+ and writes the corresponding number model (equation) using the symbols +, -, and =


  • Identify basic polygons (trapezoid, rhombus, and hexagon)


  • Creates, continues, and identifies ABCD patterns

The primary school Spanish program is led by two native Spanish speaking teachers. Students are expected to develop four interrelated skills: auditory discrimination (listening), comprehension (understanding), production (speaking), and communication (the ability to use language meaningfully in new situations). We introduce the Santillana curriculum beginning in kindergarten and continuing through fourth grade. Our goal is for students to develop communicative competence in the Spanish language through cultural awareness activities that focus on the gradual development of listening, speaking reading, and writing skills. We use arts and crafts, role playing, music, visuals, hands-on materials and technology as teaching tools. The student’s progress is evaluated through periodic formal and informal assessments targeting the four main skills. Spanish classes meet three times a week in junior kindergarten through third grades, and four times a week in fourth and fifth grades.

In first grade we continue promoting enjoyment and awareness of the Spanish language. We expect that early exposure to the four main skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) will create a greater ease in later study, facilitating the understanding and speaking of the Spanish language. There is a greater expectation of language production making communication with their classmate fun and exciting, and we continue building reading and writing skills. We use technology, interactive games, arts and crafts and role playing as tools for learning. TPR (total physical response) is also used to help students internalize the mechanics of the language.  

Goals and Objectives

Listening Comprehension:

  • Develop basic listening and speaking skills
  • Understand simple directions and commands
  • Understand and interpret pictures in context


  • Respond to oral questions about self and classmates
  • Ask and respond to simple questions


  • Match the written word with the picture
  • Begin to read and recognize single words


  • Put together simple sentences
  • Copy words and sentences
  • Write words from dictation
  • Keep a journal
Social Studies

Social Studies in the primary school has a universal focus on community awareness and global citizenship. Daily interactions provide much of the foundation for social studies as students learn how to work together, navigate conflict, and be a productive member of the classroom and community. The beauty of diversity is explored, and there is a central focus on cultural competency, or the understanding of difference. Studies of people, the community, and how these are related help to connect the social studies curriculum between the grade levels. 

The first grade social studies program focuses on developing independence, responsibility, and interpersonal skills. As a continuing thread, students learn more about themselves, their community, and the world. Children explore differences among people with a concentration on differing abilities. Appreciation and respect for uniqueness of each individual is emphasized. In addition, students recognize and describe different family structures as well as describe personal family traditions and interests. Continents and cultures are explored more in-depth, and students learn the names of the seven continents, the climate of each, and recognize similarities and differences in food, housing, clothing, languages and lifestyles of the various continents. Basic American symbols and and traditions are highlighted, as well. The “Make a Difference” series highlights the contributions and accomplishments of significant leaders in areas including civil rights, music, art, science, literature, and many more.

Goals and Objectives

Social Skills:

  • Define and give examples of respect, fairness, self control, cooperation, honesty, perseverance, citizenship, and optimism
  • Identify various emotions in stories and role playing situations
  • Portray various emotions with facial expressions and body language


  • Recognize and describe differing family structures and the various traditions, customs, and values

Differing Abilities:

  • Identify similarities and differences among people including physical features, size, age, clothing

Continents and Cultures:

  • Name and identify the seven continents
  • Name two landmarks, animals and plants associated with each continent
  • Identify water, land, polar regions, and equator on maps and globes
  • Describe the common needs of all humans

Environmental Awareness:

  • Demonstrate and express ways to reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle

Our Country:

  • Recognize symbols and icons of the United Stated
  • Identify the significance of national holidays
  • Explore civil rights struggles including racial discrimination, suffrage, workers rights
Language Arts

The goal of the MP&MS language arts program is for students to develop a lifelong love of reading, writing, and learning. Small class sizes and the expertise of our Learning Resource reading specialists allow for individualization and small group work in all primary classrooms.

The primary school utilizes the Writer’s Workshop framework for writing instruction and practice in the classroom. Similar in format, the Reader’s Workshop model teaches students strategies for reading and comprehension. Students in the early primary grades focus on spelling, phonics, and vocabulary through the Words their Way developmental program.

In first grade, students continue to explore the world of literature and participate in large and small group reading experiences in the reading workshop. Writing workshop continues to provide writers with experiences in writing for readers as they look at the books they read through the eyes of an author. Children build on experiences in editing and revising and move toward more conventional spelling in final drafts.

Goals and Objectives


  • Uses reading strategies such as context clues, sight word recognition or phonetic cues to derive meaning from the text
  • Recognizes letter/sound relationships including short vowels, digraphs and blends
  • Reads with appropriate expression and increasing fluency
  • Draws upon a variety of comprehension strategies to enhance understanding
  • Reads a variety of texts with increasing independence, fluency, accuracy, and understanding
  • Introduces a range of literary genres and undertake specific author studies
  • Begins to recognize nouns, verbs, and adjectives


  • Begin to produce pieces of writing independently using complete sentences, some capitals, and periods
  • Writes stories showing some understanding of beginning story structure, utilizing openings, characters, and events
  • Progresses through the emergent skills of the writing process (e.g. prewriting, drafting, revising, editing)
  • Capitalizes proper nouns and beginning of sentences
  • Spells simple, monosyllabic high frequency words that follow common patterns correctly


  • Prints legibly and spaces letters, words, and sentences appropriately
  • Forms letters correctly and efficiently
  • Uses upper and lower case letters appropriately
  • Listening and speaking
  • Listens attentively and waits turn to speak
  • Listens and responds appropriately to oral communication
  • Speaks in a manner that guides the listener to understand important ideas
  • Uses descriptive words when speaking about people, places, things, and events
  • Asks questions for clarification and understanding

Science at Marin Primary & Middle School is taught through the innate curiosity of children using a hands-on, experiential method. Questioning, exploring, experimenting, and discovery are essential components of the science curriculum at all grade levels. Students begin learning about scientific investigation as early as junior kindergarten, conducting experiments and observing nature. Each grade level spends time in the Outdoor Education Center (OEC, our school garden) taking advantage of the wonderful ecosystems flourishing there, observes weather, and seasonal changes, and explores ways to help the environment. 

The first grade science curriculum enables students to continue to explore the natural world around them and to begin to think of themselves as scientists. Students spend time in the Outdoor Education Center making predictions, observations, and conclusions as a very broad introduction to the scientific method. Animals are a focus of the first grade science curriculum, discovering everything from adaptations, the food chain/web, the components of a habitat, and more. The students learn about the difference between invertebrates and vertebrates, learning specifically the 5 classes of vertebrates and characteristics of each. This unit is integrated throughout the curriculum, including a research project on a vertebrate of their choice. Landforms, the water cycle, and other natural elements of our Earth are also explored.

Goals and Objectives

Earth Science:

  • Describe how sand is formed
  • Identify landforms in the ocean
  • Introduce concept of plate tectonics
  • Describe and draw the water cycle, including weather vocabulary
  • Describe why the ocean is salty
  • Identify sources and forms of water on Earth
  • Study maps and what they identify

Physical Science:

  • Predict movement of rotocopters and paddleboats  based design and location
  • Investigate how sound waves travel

Life Science:

  • Explore the science of the five senses
  • Observe and compare fingerprintsdescribe photosynthesis and represent the concept using drawings
  • Name the parts of a plant ( leaf, stem, roots, flower, seed)
  • Classify leaves according to various attributes( toothed edged, smooth edged, lobed)
  • Name what plants need to survive ( sun, soil, water air, space)
  • Observe and draw selected tree in O.E.C. during four seasons
  • Describe a food chain and food web
  • Name the components of a habitat (food, water, air, shelter, space)
  • Describe sample causes and effect of habitat destruction
  • Explore the biodiversity of the coral reef
  • Describe the difference between carnivores, herbivores and omnivores
  • Name the five classes of vertebrates and describe specific characteristics of each
  • Research a chosen vertebrate and describe its body, habitat, food and interesting facts
  • Study penguins integrated with math program
  • Name adaptations that animals use for defense, protection and eating


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