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Curriculum

Primary | K-2

English/Language Arts
The curriculum in kindergarten through second grade fosters students’ understanding and knowledge of concepts of print, the alphabet, phonics, word recognition, reading fluency, and writing. These skills are taught in a developmentally appropriate manner with small group lessons designed to meet children’s individual levels of readiness. Each student is given the time and support needed to become a confident and competent reader and writer. The Writing Workshop program empowers students to choose story topics and create authentic "published" books. Students see themselves as authors, as their letters and drawings on a page tell the exciting and important stories they have created. Writing instruction includes proper formation of letters, phonetic spelling, spelling rules and conventions, sentence and paragraph writing, practice with different writing genres (narrative, informative, persuasive, and creative), writing mechanics (capitalization and punctuation), and grammar. Writing proficiency is encouraged alongside of reading comprehension to demonstrate the interrelatedness of these skills. Rich language arts activities are integrated into all areas of the curriculum, building on students’ interests and fostering personal connections in literacy.

Mathematics
In kindergarten through second grade, math instruction is applied across the curriculum to better demonstrate real-life applications. Building a sequence of experiences in a gradually enlarging spiral, lessons encompass number sense, place value, arithmetic with the four math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), problem solving, fractions, geometry, graphing, measurement, time, and money. The math program is structured to help students understand number relationships, practice logical thinking, and demonstrate problem solving strategies. Basic computation skills are taught and practiced on an ongoing basis. Through hands-on learning activities, ongoing assessment and review, and continuous practice of foundational skills, students leave second grade with a fluency in foundational skills and a strong conceptual understanding of basic math operations. 

Science 
In kindergarten through second grade science, instructional methods and strategies are designed to inspire awe for nature and the workings of the universe, curiosity for the amazing interplay of life, and critical thinking to deepen students’ understanding. Science lessons are part of thematic units integrated with literacy, history, math, art, and other subjects. Students discover, explore, manipulate, contemplate, and experience real science through hands-on activities that foster critical-thinking and problem-solving skills with real world connections. In addition to integrated science units in their homerooms, first and second graders also benefit from classes with the primary-grade science specialist in the lab classroom and the school garden. 

History/Social Studies 
The kindergarten through second grade curriculum integrates and reinforces lessons from a variety of other subject areas. Kindergarten approaches social studies and history by focusing on hero figures from all walks of life, including women and men from a broad spectrum of cultures, countries, and ethnic backgrounds. The hero figure acts as a role model for integrity, selflessness, internal moral strength, and action in the world. First grade students compare and contrast ancient civilizations and cultures, including a study of geography and how the course of human history helped to expand our global community. Second grade integrates social studies, science, and other curricular areas in units about mapping, famous people and biographies, and an in-depth study of medieval times.

Social and Emotional Learning
The social and emotional learning program in kindergarten through second grade focuses on building an emotional vocabulary so students are better equipped to express their feelings and needs, as well as recognizing emotional states in others in order to adapt their interactions with them. Students begin using "I statements" and other positive communication techniques as a foundation for conflict resolution. They also learn to practice active listening while in academic and social situations. 

World Languages 
All students in kindergarten through second grade receive instruction in both Spanish and Mandarin. Language acquisition in these early years builds on children’s natural curiosity and their motivation to have fun. Students are actively engaged through songs, games, dance, art, and thematic units integrated into the core curriculum. The teacher speaks in the target language (Spanish or Mandarin) as often as possible, supporting comprehension with actions, props, and developmentally appropriate activities. The emphasis is on listening to, understanding, and communicating common phrases and basic vocabulary.  

Visual Arts
In kindergarten through second grade, the art program fosters the creative spirit of students by providing a safe environment where imagination, self discovery, exploration, problem solving, and self esteem flourish. Children learn the fundamentals of art—color, color theory, spatial balance, perspective, form, and design—through a variety of mediums including ceramics, drawing, painting, and sculpture. Cultural studies, history, science, literacy, and other subjects are interwoven into the curriculum.

Music 
Music in kindergarten through second grade emphasizes the development of a strong singing voice, as this is the children’s primary instrument through the fourth grade. Students explore a repertoire of songs carefully chosen to illustrate musical concepts. Often, students accompany the songs playing multi-part orchestrations using the special Orff instrumentarium. These instruments include xylophones, metallophones, and unpitched hand percussions. Lessons are carefully sequenced to provide step-by-step development in both skill and understanding. Full participation in the musical experience is nurtured through a combination of aural, visual, and kinesthetic learning modes. The musical elements of steady beat, rhythm, melody, texture, form, color, and expression are experienced through exploration of a variety of media: speech, song, movement, games, and instruments. These experiences are carefully sequenced to provide step-by-step development in both skill and understanding. 

Library and Media 
Reading is a foundational skill for learning, personal growth, and enjoyment. The degree to which students can read and understand text in all formats (picture, video, print) and all contexts is a key indicator of success in school and in life. Consequently, the main focus of the library program in the lower grades is on story. Students are exposed to a broad pallet of literature, from classic to rhyming to multicultural tales, as well as folk and fairy tales, to expand their understanding of and appreciation for other cultures. Readings are frequently tied to the classroom curriculum, and students have opportunities to engage with narrative through puppets, readers theater, or writing and illustrating their own books. They learn about specific authors and illustrators while working on listening skills and the proper care of books. They learn basic organization in the library, including how to locate, select, and retrieve texts, and to identify favorite authors, titles, and characters. They begin to examine the constructs of narrative, and the significance of illustration to story, participating in comparative literature projects such as the California Young Reader award. They tell their own stories, listen to others, read to each other, watch storytellers, and participate in author visits, effectively engaging in story in all its forms and developing a strong literary foundation. 

Motor Skills and Physical Education 
The motor skills program in kindergarten through second grade offers a caring environment that promotes physical activity, fitness and wellness, movement skills, and knowledge. Embedded in every lesson is a spirit of cooperation, supportive communication, and doing one’s best. Character education is an integral part of the lessons. Each week a different character trait is selected as an area of focus. Students are asked to observe this trait in others and themselves. Through practice, students learn about their bodies and how to be successful in a variety of physical activities.

Click here to access our curriculum map, which holds more detailed information on concepts and skills in each grade level and subject area.

Sonoma Country Day School

4400 Day School Place
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
phone: 707.284.3200
fax: 707.284.3254
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We are…

The premier, fully accredited, independent TK-8 college preparatory school in Sonoma County. Located in northern Santa Rosa and proud home of The Jackson Theater, SCDS offers a challenging academic program rich in fine and performing arts, music, world languages, and social and emotional learning. For more than thirty years SCDS has been the school that brings learning to life.