Primary School

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

Kindergarten

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. 

Kindergarten students gain an understanding of community awareness by starting small in the classroom and working their way to becoming global citizens. Students learn what it means to be active and responsible participants in society, with specific focuses on environmental awareness, manners, and how self relates to others. Much of the community study involves walking field trips to local services and businesses, learning how people in Larkspur help make it work as a community. Through this study, students learn to recognize traffic signs and make simple maps or 3-D reproductions of their school and community. Students also participate in a self-study of “myself and my family,” learning about heritage and cultural uniqueness in their own families.

Goals and Objectives

Social Skills:

  • Work together by sharing, taking turns, and taking care of themselves and their possessions with respect
  • Build a sense of self and self worth by assuming individual and group responsibility in classroom activities
  • Discuss why problems arise and how to deal with them together
  • Understand their own Class Agreements
  • Exercise body-spatial awareness through daily mindful breath work and yoga

Community:

  • Explore their neighborhood and the people that work in the school and town community
  • Recognize the importance of environmental awareness as global citizens who care for the earth (i.e., reduce, reuse, recycle)

Culture:

  • Develop an awareness of culture, places and people through using all senses
  • Explore our own family’s culture and traditions through projects

 Geography:

  • Learn basic street signs and structures in their town community
  • Explore other countries and the continents by viewing maps
  • Investigate local waterways and their landforms
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 the four main skills. Spanish classes meet twice a week in preschool, three times a week in junior kindergarten through third grades, and four times a week in fourth and fifth grades.

The Spanish curriculum is designed to captivate students’ curiosity about language, take advantage of young learners’ auditory abilities, and lay the groundwork for foreign language acquisition. Since students at this young age learn faster and more easily by verbalizing and dramatizing, the second language is introduced through activities that include role playing, games, drama and singing. We also introduce pre-reading and writing skills in Spanish.

Goals and Objectives

Listening Comprehension:

  • 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

Speaking:

  • Respond to simple commands
  • Sing out loud
  • Respond to questions about self and others

Reading:

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

Writing:

  • Copy single words
  • Tracing words
Math

The MP&MS 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. 

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 support in classrooms, 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.

Kindergarten students develop their number sense and operational skills through multiple, diverse experiences with concrete objects in a setting that fosters academic and social-emotional growth.  Many mathematics activities are woven into the monthly themes, and are significant to students because they are relevant to their daily lives.

Goals and Objectives

Number Sense:

  • Count with one to one correspondence (number to sound and number to object) to 20
  • Understand the concept of zero
  • Count by ones to 100
  • Identify numbers to 100
  • Write numbers; counts by 2s to 20
  • Count by 5s and 10s to 100
  • Identify numbers greater than or less than to 100
  • Count tally marks to 20 (in groups of 5s and 1s)
  • Identify ordinal numbers to 5 

Data Analysis:

  • Interpret simple bar graphs

Measurement:

  • Compare lengths of objects using longer, shorter, and same as
  • Identify and names the value of penny and nickel 
  • Identify time to the hour; identifies morning, afternoon, evening, today, tomorrow, and yesterday
  • Identify tools to measure time 

Operations and Computation:

  • Create addition number stories with objects or pictures to 10
  • Create subtraction number stories with objects or pictures to 5
  • Identify the symbols +, - , and = 

Geometry:

  • Identify size, shape, color, and thickness of attribute blocks
  • Identify basic 2-dimensional shapes (square, circle, triangle, oval, rectangle)
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, our school garden) taking advantage of the wonderful ecosystems flourishing there, observes weather, and seasonal changes, and explores ways to help the environment. 

In kindergarten, teachers seek to support the development of observational and inquiry skills through exposure to the natural world. The children explore states of matter through experiments and observations of matter in nature that demonstrate matter’s constancy and adaptability. They  explore magnetism, forms of energy (heat, light, and sound), the solar system, study the life cycles of organisms, and engage in many other smaller integrated explorations.

Goals and Objectives

Earth Science:

  • Learn about the four seasons, and why they change 
  • Learn about the layers of the earth (crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core), its        atmosphere, and the impact of humans on the Earth
  • Explore fossils, rocks and crystals
  • Learn about the oceans, waterways, the water cycle, and the ways in which humans affect the oceans
  • Learn about our solar system and the planets that orbit the sun
  • Learn about the uses of man made satellites

Physical Science:

  • Explore matter and its basic properties
  • Understand the states of matter
  • Observe and explore the states of matter in nature
  • Engage in experiments that demonstrate actions and reactions between substances
  • Explore magnetism, force, and motion
  • Explore the size of push or pull effects on the speed of objects

Life Science:

  • Grow plants from seeds
  • Emphasize the word/process of germination
  • Learn about photosynthesis
  • Study nutrition, hygiene, and health
  • Learn the life cycle of a butterfly
  • Learn about dinosaurs, reptiles
  • Study insects and garden life
  • Study animal habitats
  • Study sea creatures and habitats
  • Explore plant and animal adaptations
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.

Kindergarten students build on the foundations for phonemic awareness through multiple methods, including word work, sight word games, and beginning reading activities. Through read alouds, teachers model strategies for comprehension and students begin to explore how to think about and discuss the texts they experience in class. Students also participate in readers workshop. In this format, they spend time engaged independently, with a partner, or with a teacher in individualized literacy activities that are designed to meet early readers where they are and support them as they progress. Students are exposed to different genres of literature throughout the year.Though some students are reading at the end of the year, we do not expect all children to be reading by the end of kindergarten.

Writing workshop is an important part of kindergarten, and children become more confident in drafting stories. Beginning conventions of punctuation are taught, and students begin to learn about the editing and revising process. The Words Their Way program provides support for both reading and writing as children learn more about word families, vowels, and spelling patterns.

Goals and Objectives

Reading:

  • Identifies all upper case and lower case letters and knows their sounds
  • Segments and blends sounds
  • Uses one to one matching
  • Demonstrates understanding of how print works; identifies basic concepts in print
  • Reads books at their independent level alone and with other students
  • Reads books at their instructional level with teachers one on one

Writing:

  • Writes legibly using invented spelling
  • Demonstrates understanding of the structure of a sentence and writes with appropriate spacing between letters and words
  • Uses capitalization and appropriate end punctuation
  • Uses knowledge of story structure (beginning, middle, end) to write their own stories

Handwriting:

  • Writes capital letters legibly and begins to write lower case letters correctly

Listening and Speaking:

  • Listens and responds to oral communication
  • Listens attentively and raises their hands when they wish to speak
  • Answers questions in response to literature
  • Listens and responds to others in class discussions, staying on the topic
  • Delivers brief recitations and oral presentations about personal experiences or interests, and orally shares information from assignments
 
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