junior kindergarten through fourth grade
We engage children academically in an environment that embraces growth and honors the journey of learning. Each student is encouraged to connect to the people and ideas around them in the context of a joyous, creative, and challenging learning atmosphere.
Our unique teams of teachers and low student-teacher ratio foster the development of meaningful relationships between teachers and students. Students feel grounded and known, which is crucial for strong social and emotional intelligence as well as engagement in learning. Our teaching model also facilitates a natural differentiation for individual learners. Students work in small groups or one-on-one with a teacher. Collaboration is key, and children spend much of their time learning by doing.
Our 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. We focus on hands on and 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. Teachers encourage students to embrace growth and bring their authentic selves to school every day.
Our approach provides students with opportunities to bring their own interests, passions, and learning styles to the classroom. In addition to core subjects which include language arts, math, science, social studies, and Spanish, the primary school program is enriched by specialist classes including drama, art, music (with chorus beginning in second grade), projects lab, physical education, library, and garden. Specialist teachers complement the classroom curriculum with enhanced content to enrich the learning experience and create a diverse program for our primary school students.
- Social Emotional Learning
- Library Media Center & Technology Integration
- Outdoor Education
Our multidisciplinary approach is augmented by our exemplary specialist programs, including art, drama, music, projects lab, and P.E. All primary school students participate in specialist classes throughout the school year. Students attend specialist classes in half class groups to provide a smaller student-teacher ratio.
Specialists offer a unique perspective to students as they create, perform, and develop new ways of thinking. These programs inspire our students to connect, to analyze, to create, to achieve, and to identify undiscovered talents and interests.
Marin Primary & Middle School has a longstanding commitment to social emotional learning (SEL) as a key component to every child’s success in school and in life. Our goal is to provide a safe, kind and supportive learning environment for all students where they grow to understand themselves, to develop empathy, and to make responsible decisions. All students participate in creating and maintaining a supportive community that embodies the agreements we refer to as “Be A SPARK,” which stands for:
B - Balanced
E - Ethical
A - Accountable
S - Safe
P - Personal Best
A - Active Listening
R - Responsible
K - Kind
We sustain a positive learning environment in which children grow academically, socially and emotionally and where all feel safe and free to learn. To be successful academically, children need to develop the social skills reflected in the acronym “Be A SPARK,” as well as cooperation, advocacy, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. Our integrated SEL program serves as the foundation for this important work.
The digital landscape available to today’s students offers them unprecedented access to powerful tools and resources for learning. From developing a love of reading to understanding appropriate internet use, our media literacy program is an important foundation of the primary school experience.
The school library promotes cultural competency and celebrates diversity in different forms. The Library Media Center collection proudly includes materials that encompass the beliefs and ideologies of the diverse groups represented within and beyond our school, as well as materials that help students develop respect and appreciation for global cultures.
Primary school students use age-appropriate technologies to acquire digital literacy and design practice, conduct research, showcase and publish content, and improve skills across the curriculum. Each JK to third grade class has a laptop, projector, speakers, and a half-class bank of iPads to facilitate learning. In the fourth grade, a 1:1 iPad program is designed to introduce students more directly to the use of the iPad to support learning.
Marin Primary & Middle School provides an extensive outdoor education program. Using our own Outdoor Education Center and garden on campus, in addition to the Bay Area’s vast natural and cultural resources, this program benefits students at all grade levels with a deep sense of connection and community.
The school garden is a living lab where students study math, science and the basic processes that sustain life: the life cycle of plants, the process of natural decomposition, the water cycle, the effect of insects, bacteria, weather and pollutants on soil and the environment. Through gardening, students become responsible caretakers who engage in agricultural practices on a small scale, learning about the impacts of land cultivation.
In addition, field trips are important integrated elements within each grade’s curriculum. Each year, beginning in third grade, students participate in an overnight field trip, in addition to the many day-long trips that fill the calendar. Students from various grades can be found hiking in nearby Baltimore Canyon to understand the cycle of water or touring the local recycling center. In addition third and fourth grade take part in overnight field trips which provide an immersion experience that brings the content of their studies to life.