LOWER ELEMENTARY - MAGPIES
Who am I as a citizen of my community, of California, and of my world? How have the histories of my ancestors, my community, and California formed me, and what are my responsibilities to my community, my environment, and my world?
The lower grades in elementary school strive to teach children how to read and write so that they can absorb and express information through the English language. These grades also teach children to be members of a learning community, where people create, communicate, and question information through the processes of reading, writing, oral presentation, and discussion. In such a community, students learn to be producers as well as receivers of information, participating in what the Common Core Language Arts Standards call “collaborative conversations.” These standards provide guidance for our work, and are reflected in the Columbia Reading and Writing project, which we use as a curriculum guide.
Like language arts, mathematics is extremely developmental, meaning that students vary in when they are ready to understand and apply mathematical concepts. We attempt to meet the needs of each student through a constant process of teaching, monitoring, and assessment. Small group instruction is central to our work, since different students are ready for different skills.
SOCIAL STUDIES & SCIENCE
At Peregrine School, our goal is to incorporate and go beyond state standards to provide young children with a deep understanding of the natural and social systems that surround them. We begin with responsible citizenship in their own community, which we believe must come before an understanding of state or national issues. Students form an intentional community with each other in a physical place, such as our native area, where they must “buy” and share resources such as fabric, bamboo, garden seeds, and crafts materials to create a community which can govern itself. At first, many students choose oligarchy or even authoritarianism, but they soon learn that such systems are inequitable, and eventually vote in democracy. Students then write their own constitutions, having gained an understanding of why government really matters.
First and second grade students develop a great deal as individuals and as members of a classroom community. Students are encouraged to learn to identify their emotions, to manage them, and to express them constructively.