Curriculum – Elementary

Kindergarten Through Fourth-Grade

Bible

Our Bible curriculum is designed to nurture each child’s spirituality and to strengthen individual faith. We support what is learned with the classroom by encouraging a close relationship with Jesus and daily personal prayer and by providing frequent opportunities for formal worship and community service.

Worship is held every morning followed by activities to illustrate lessons from the Bible. For Sierra View students, Bible classes focus on personal communication with God, gratitude for God’s gifts to them and their families, and faith in God’s love for them and for the entire world.

Art

Lessons provide opportunities for creative self-expression, the development of perceptual awareness including art appreciation, and recognizing beauty in both the natural world and the constructed environment.

Students learn to manipulate color and form using a wide variety of materials, tools, and techniques in drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, printing and architecture. Information on the role of art in human history and the development of artistic styles and periods is integrated into every lesson.

Computer Studies

Sierra View Junior Academy is equipped with a computer lab with internet access and CD-Rom capability, as well as software that supports the core curriculum.

Kindergarten students begin to learn how to control the mouse and navigation of computer menus through games which encourage them to practice phonics and language skills.

Students in Grades 1 and 2 learn keyboarding skills and basic word processing, graphics and spreadsheet applications such as Microsoft Word and Powerpoint.

In grades 3 and 4, students improve their keyboarding skills and increase their confidence using multiple software applications. They do research using appropriate search engines and design basic PowerPoint presentations.

Language Arts

In language arts, our students learn critical thinking, effective communication, and the skills necessary for proficiency in spelling, vocabulary, grammar, phonics, reading and writing. Always building on what each child knows we present individual students with materials that will offer a challenge yet permit success. We monitor each student’s progress closely through monthly evaluations.

Our balanced reading program consists of four components that are used each day: reading aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading. We introduce new texts by reading aloud, inviting students to share the reading when they encounter words and phrases they know.

We move on to guided reading, in which the teacher helps a small group of students of similar ability to read a book. At each session, the children learn basic reading skills, including phonics and comprehension. The teacher helps them develop strategies to deal with increasingly difficult texts; these strategies include recognizing familiar words by sight and understanding the meaning of words from clues in a sentence. The children also learn to correct themselves if a guess doesn’t make sense.

Our goal is to help each child advance to fluency, capable of reading silently and independently and filled with enthusiasm for books.

Mathematics

We teach mathematics using a program that encourages discovery of mathematical concepts, emphasizes the traditional learning of basic arithmetic facts and gives a strong foundation in computational skills, particularly mental computation.

In Kindergarten, our goal is to nurture students’ emerging abilities to count, match, sort, order compare, see patterns, do simple addition and subtraction, and understand space and time. They learn to graph, measure, tell time, read a calendar and perform simple money exchanges.

In grades 1-4, our students advance their knowledge of mathematical concepts in 13 topic areas: problem solving, communication, reasoning, connections, estimation, number sense and numeration, whole number operations, whole number computation, geometry and spatial sense, measurement, statistics and probability, fractions and decimals and patterns and relationships.

Each year, our student’s grasp of mathematical concepts deepens with repeated exposure at increasingly higher levels to the same topic areas.

Music

Our music instruction for students in Grades K-2 emphasizes singing and basic instruments and music theory. In addition to these activities, students in grades 3-4 begin to read music and study music theory and history.

Physical Education

In Grades K-4, Physical education is integrated into the daily schedule of classes. At every grade level, we help children develop and refine their movement and object control skills, stress the importance of physical fitness for a healthy life, emphasize safety and encourage self-discipline, cooperation, sportsmanship and respect for equipment and property. Kindergarten students work on skills like skipping, jumping, galloping and jogging. In grades 1 and 2 students learn to play simple ball games and to pace themselves while jogging longer distances. Students in Grades 3 and 4 continue to increase their endurance in jogging and able to play complete games. During these games they learn skills including rules and scoring, that will prepare them to play soccer, volleyball, basketball and field games.

Science

Our science curriculum combines life science, earth science, physical science and chemistry. Students at each grade level receive progressively more sophisticated instruction in the scientific method: They gather existing information, form hypotheses and predict expected outcomes, experiment and collect data, organize results, and draw conclusions based on their own work. Each year they become increasingly confident using the equipment and tools of science. Every student in the school is expected to enter the Science Fair.

Our instruction emphasizes age-appropriate activities using hands-on inquiry techniques and field experiences. Kindergarten students, for example, grow their own plants and watch live caterpillars turn into butterflies. Students in Grade 1 learn about the properties of solids and liquids and study the life cycles, structures, and behaviors of a variety of insects and animals. In Grade 2, students become aware of scientific laws as they study balance and motion and study weather and the propagation of plants.

Students in Grade 3 make a comprehensive study of their own skeletal and muscular systems and explore the properties of water. In Grade 4, studies in earth science focus on rocks and minerals, landforms, erosion and deposition of land and volcanoes and earthquakes. Students learn about lever and pulley systems in physical science and explore the history of scientific ideas and inventions.

Social Studies

In our social studies program, Kindergarten students start their exploration of culture and history by studying themselves, their families, and their communities. They begin to understand human diversity as they talk about how people are the same and how they are different. Classroom activities focus on developing leadership skills and good citizenship and on nurturing the children’s sense of responsibility to improve the human condition.

As our students mature, we introduce at each grade level information that will help them understand human and environmental interaction, the movement of people, goods, and ideas and cultural development through science and mathematics, literature, art, music, dance, and language. Students also master specific skills, such as the reading of globes, maps, graphs, and diagrams and they learn to use the research tools and methods of historians.

In Grade 1, we help students understand the concept of “history” as it relates to themselves and to their families as well as to our country, focusing on Colonial America. Students in Grade 2 study individuals who have “made history” and learn the goals of government and democracy. 

Our curriculum for Grade 3 focuses on human rights, minorities, and social classes; students develop an appreciation for our democratic, pluralistic, society as they study the American Constitution and American ideals. Students in Grade 4 make a yearlong study of the Regions of America by looking at the history, geography, and natural resources of each, as well as the communities present there today.

Grades 5-8

Bible


In the middle school Bible class, as in the primary program, all students participate. Students study the life of Jesus and the role of the church in our society. Every week, our Bible worker teaches an advanced Bible study to all the students.
 
It is important to enable students to gain a better understanding of themselves and their relationships with others. Students learn precepts of human virtues–what they look like, what they are in practice, how to recognize them and how they work. To this end, students study the Bible and other literary sources and participate in class discussion.

Students gain a better understanding of personal beliefs and values as well as the study of ethics and moral dilemmas. Bringing together their study of faith and religion, students examine who they are, their moral codes and how their actions and decisions affect others. Students practice communication and decision making skills with an emphasis on developing healthy relationships and moral maturity–knowing right, desiring right and doing right.

Once a week, we visit the church for chapel to reinforce these values. Each class sponsors several chapel programs during the year. Sierra View Junior Academy hosts two Week of Prayer events each year, run by our pastor and guest speakers.

Art


The 5th – 8th art program is designed so that the lessons lay groundwork for those that follow and reinforce those that have come before. Perceptual skills and media skills are repeated within grade levels and from one level to the next. Art techniques are developed in sequences to build students’ confidence with materials and equipment. New and challenging applications follow the acquisition of basic skills. The art curriculum at each grade level is organized around three main themes: Creating Art, Looking at Creation and Growing closer to our Creator. Aspects of these themes are developed within each year and across all nine years of the program. Within each year, students create in two-and three-dimensions and study drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, graphics, design, architecture, textiles, collage, ceramics and crafts. Artistic achievements of women and ethnic groups, past and present, are represented.

English


The 5th – 8th grade English curriculum is designed to prepare students for the demands of high school academics. The emphasis is on study skills, reading, writing, vocabulary building and research. Students are actively involved in shared inquiry discussions led by the teacher or students as they examine literature. The writing process teaches the student to write with purpose, clear organization, and adequate and relevant development and to use an original voice, applying effective sentence structure while following the conventions of mechanics and formatting. Understanding how to access information from reference books, magazines and online sources is taught.

The essay format is introduced and practiced in narrative, descriptive, persuasive and expository writing throughout the year as compositions are related to the literature being studied. Grammar, punctuation, syntax, and vocabulary studies, although taught as separate units, are involved in the writing process and are included in the assessment of all written work.

Mathematics


The goal is that the student will learn to value and enjoy the process of learning mathematics, become a mathematical problem solver, learn to reason mathematically, become confident in his own ability and learn to communicate mathematically. There is a focus on the content standards for number and operations and for geometry and measurement.

Algebra is taught to eighth grade students capable of successfully completing the course. The course teaches solving linear and quadratic equations and problems.

Math is a comprehensive program which emphasizes thinking skills, problem-solving strategies, real applications, mental arithmetic, estimation, approximation, measurement, organizing data, geometry, probability, statistics and algebra. Computational skills are drilled and reviewed daily. Skills and concepts are taught and re-taught in different contexts, never in isolation. Exploration, practice, problem solving and projects address a variety of learning styles. Once a skill has been introduced it is integrated, practiced, and reviewed in context and mixed practice. Throughout the course, games are used which provide extensive practice and extend the student’s knowledge to real-world situations.

Music


Students in grades 5-8 experience more complex music studies. Students, having had exposure and practice in theory and site singing in the keys of C, F, and G and having played and sung polyphonic lines of music, are now ready to “spread their wings.” Using the Orff instruments or their own instrument, students are taught how to improvise and how to solo.

Physical Education


As students progress to the middle school, a variety of physical education activities are offered within the context of a school day. Students are introduced to a wide range of sports skills and are encouraged to develop skill in all sports rather than specializing in one. The curriculum includes games, sportsmanship and endurance. All students are taught to participate regularly and to value the role of physical activity and the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. In addition to physical education instruction, middle school students may participate in after school interscholastic competition.

Science


Much of the middle school science program uses constructivist theory and tools. Students generate much of their scientific knowledge and understanding through labs and research. Labs, projects and quests comprise much of the class time with the remaining time used for lecture, homework, evaluations and discussion. One of the major goals of the middle school science program is to force students to have confidence in their own observations and to rely on themselves and their peers for answers to confusing or difficult questions. Students are compelled to use evidence to support their conclusions and to always ask the question “WHY?”
 
While the topics covered are important, they are primarily used as backdrop for integrating the instruction of the scientific method, theory and philosophy to students. Included in the curriculum is adolescent development which focuses on nutrition, drugs and alcohol, sexual development and puberty and peer related issues.

Every student in the school is expected to enter the Science Fair.

Social Studies


In middle school, the social studies focus alternates yearly between World and United States history. As they study World history students learn about the geography, history, and culture of ancient civilizations, the Medieval era, and the rise of the modern world. Studies in United States history lead students on a path of discovery as they delve into the geography, history and culture of the early civilizations of the Americas, the conquests of the European explorers, the Revolutionary era and the early republic, expansion and the Civil War, the World Wars and the emergence of the United States as a world leader, the Civil Rights movement, and the country’s leadership role and the challenges it faces in the modern world. Literature is used throughout the program to enhance study and give students the opportunity to make personal connections with history.

Technology


The middle school student uses basic word processors, spreadsheets, databases and graphics programs, integrating technology with course curriculum. They use library links, web based search engines and web sites to conduct more discerning research than in earlier years. Graphics productions include web pages, videos and multimedia productions.