Primary School

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

JK

Math

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.

In junior kindergarten, students participate in hands-on, interactive learning experiences using concrete materials. This helps the students develop an understanding of and insight into the patterns of mathematics. Some specific math activities include sequencing, counting, sorting, shape identification, and problem solving. 

Goals and Objectives

Number Sense:

  • Identify and writes numbers to 10 
  • Count by ones to 20
  • Count with one to one correspondence to ten
  • Identify numbers greater than or less than to 10
  • Sequence numerals to 10
  • Skip count by 10

Measurement:

  • Compare objects by size 

Geometry:

  • Sort concrete objects by one attribute
  • Discuss and interpret data in simple bar graphs
  • Create and identifies AB patterns 
  • Identify one dimensional shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle); 
  • Sort objects in 2-4 groups
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 as students learn how to work together, navigate conflict, and become productive members 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 through the grade levels. 

Acting as a bridge between preschool and elementary school, social studies in junior kindergarten eases the transition between the preschool environment and the larger community of the primary and middle schools. Children learn about friendship as they meet their new classmates and negotiate play and games, participate in decision-making for the classroom, and spend time experiencing how individuals relate to the classroom community. As the year progresses, children expand the focus to the larger school community, the neighborhood surrounding Marin Primary & Middle School, and then the larger world. Basic map skills are introduced and students learn where they live. JK students also learn about different customs and traditions among their classmates and learn about respecting all types of differences. Play is the means through which much of the social studies curriculum in JK is experienced as children participate as members of a classroom and a community.

Goals and Objectives

Social Skills:

  • Follow classroom rules
  • Work together in different group settings
  • Accept responsibilities
  • Respect others’ rights and property
  • Seek help when needed

Culture:

  • Identify differences among people
  • Identify and compare family customs and traditions and explain their importance
  • Share knowledge of customs and culture of a studied country

Geography:

  • Navigate school campus with confidence
  • Recognize a map
  • Provide the name of the city and country they live in
  • Provide name of the street they live on
  • Begin to learn that there are other places in the world
Spanish

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 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.

At the JK level we create an environment where the children can enjoy and develop an eagerness to learn a new language. Teachers use active and engaging activities for the students to experience the curriculum, concentrating on basic vocabulary. The students learn through songs, visuals, hands-on materials, TPR (total physical response) and TPRS (total physical response to story telling).

Goals and Objectives:

  • Listen to and act to a song
  • Reproduce sounds and words in the target language
  • Understand and respond to classroom commands
  • Demonstrate active listening skills
  • Respond to simple commands
  • Sing out loud
  • Respond to questions about self and others
  • Tracing words
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 junior kindergarten, children are exposed to a variety of engaging and interactive literacy experiences. Songs, games, letter/word work, and read-alouds foster beginning phonemic awareness and a love of reading. Words Their Way, a developmentally-based spelling program, is introduced in junior kindergarten and kindergarten and continues through the second grade. The Lucy Calkins Units of Study for the writing workshop are introduced in junior kindergarten, providing foundational experiences in writing, beginning with phonemic spelling, labeling, and learning about the writing process by telling stories about their lives.

Goals and Objectives

Reading:

  • Participates actively during story time
  • Relates books to personal experiences
  • Selects books for independent reading
  • Recites poem, songs and chants with others in chorus and alone
  • Demonstrates understanding of concepts of print
  • Compares and contrasts books and authors

Writing:

  • Demonstrates awareness that writing conveys meaning
  • Participates in writing workshop
  • Labels pictures in writing
  • Writes words independently

Handwriting:

  • Forms capital letters and writes numbers 1-10
  • Follows top-to-bottom and left-to-right directionality
  • Develops fine motor skills

Listening and Speaking:

  • Listens respectfully when others are speaking
  • Raises a hand to take a turn
  • Answers and asks questions in group discussions
  • Gives pertinent information during share time
Science

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) taking advantage of the wonderful ecosystems flourishing there, observes weather, and seasonal changes, and explores ways to help the environment. 

In junior kindergarten, children explore the five senses through interactive experiences, spend time in the Outdoor Education Center as they observe plant growth, learn about the life cycle of a seed, and discover how worms help the garden. The children spend several weeks on a unit of study about the human body, learning about essential organs and their purpose through demonstrations and songs, talking about how to be healthy, and spending time cooking healthy foods. 

Goals and Objectives

Scientific Investigation:

  • Classify insects and animals
  • Develop a hypothesis
  • Experiment with food coloring

Earth Science:

  • Observe patterns of change with seasons, from month to month
  • Identify patterns of change
  • Predict weather based on observations
  • Name weather words

Physical Science:

  • Observe objects that float and sink

Life Science:

  • Observe plant growth
  • Identify the cycle of seeds: structures, dispersal, germination
  • Identify what lives in the ocean
  • Observe worm anatomy
  • Observe the life cycle of a frog
  • Discover and name the human body parts
  • Discover how to take care of our body
  • Explore the food pyramid
  • Explore cooking and learn about measurement
  • Explore how to take care of pets
  • Explore and describe the five senses

Engineering and Design:

  • Develop personal boats from wood
  • Explore measurement
 
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