- CSCA follows the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English/Language Arts.
- There is flexibility within a framework, so we present a framework for learning. Within it, there is a great deal of wiggle room to accommodate for every single learner’s needs.
- The curriculum is written by Holly Wu, NBCT.
- Technology is naturally integrated into instruction on a regular basis.
- Please click here to see weekly parent newsletters which provide details of our academic experience happening right now!
- Bottom line: we differentiate instruction so that your child’s exact learning needs are met at his/her level and learning style for success.
If my room is noisy and
There’s paper on the floor,
Overlook it. We are learning!
If two kids are laughing and talking
As they pick up spilled crayons,
Overlook it. They are bonding!
If the artwork is not perfect and
Our story words are misspelled,
Overlook it. We are creating!
If we wiggle, squirm and question…
Sometimes out of turn,
Overlook it. We are seeking!
– Faye Konopike
Problem solving/application, conceptualization, computation/practice
- Small group instruction and centers for math, including math journals (conceptualization)
- Independent practice (computation/practice)
- Number Literacy (problem solving/application)
- Practice fluency with facts, once developmentally appropriate
- Remaining assessments are performance based which includes progress monitoring
Listening, speaking, reading, writing
- Interactive or shared reading and writing
- Small group reading instruction: dynamic reading groups based on level and/or interest
- Literacy Centers include listening, speaking, reading, writing, word wall sight words, making words (phonics) when developmentally appropriate, and handwriting when needed (using Handwriting Without Tears program)
- Science, Social Studies and Spirit topics will be integrated into Literacy instruction
Weather permitting, we walk to the park for picnics and play on a daily basis. When we choose to remain indoors, we have lunch at our (sanitized) tables and integrate a great deal of playful movement afterwards, as well as free creative play. Children need motion and play.
- Daily meditation, including guided imagery
- Spiritual and healing lessons: basic goodness principles shared in all beliefs and practices, Eastern and Western traditions. We celebrate diversity in thinking.
- At times, guest teachers may present a variety of spiritual topics such as energy and healing work, meditation, yoga, and more.
- Occasionally, lessons include the teachings of Jesus Christ (the lessons of love, healing and goodness) with the understanding that we all have that “Jesus-potential,” that Christ Consciousness
- There are multiples paths, and students are given choice as to what principles they embrace and participate in.
- The structure of this portion of the day will vary between whole group, small group, and one on one. Independent study is offered as an option.
- Students are encouraged to evaluate how they feel about the spiritual lessons, and they are not expected to embrace every spiritual method being taught to them. “What resonates with your heart?”
- Parents are notified of the topics of study so they can facilitate conversations with their child within the context of their own family values.
- Students are given the opportunity to rest. Bring small pillow and blanket from home that fit in the backpack, if desired
Science and Social Studies
- Generally taught in 4-8 week units
- Taught as both stand-alone topics and integrated into literacy and math
- Deep and rich concepts, hands-on learning
- Inquiry and research projects with philosophy that we are a community of thinkers
- Curriculum designed with open-ended study to accommodate multi-age learning
- Life is our Classroom Day/Thursdays provide weekly opportunities to enhance and enrich Social Studies and Science topics.
Music, Art and PE
- Music: we currently have a two-hour music class taught by a consultant (teacher) from New Mexico School of Music. During this class, students are learning musical foundations in rhythm and song, and they are learning to play violin with a modified Suzuki approach (modified = parents invited but not required to attend). This is included in the tuition, but parents are asked to provide the instrument (approx $15-20/month rental).
- Music, art, and PE are taught as both stand-alone and integrated with other subjects. As stand-alone subjects, art and PE are taught at least one hour per week; music is taught two hours per week.
- Enhanced with Life is our Classroom Day/Thursdays
- We value giving children the opportunity to explore their talents and interests to become well rounded- musically, artistically, and physically
- At times, guest teachers may be invited to share their talents with the students.
- Students can move and express themselves during this part of the day
- Emphasis on process and creativity
- At times, teachers model by being writers themselves during this time
- Teachers conduct student-tailored conference sessions for various teaching points
- Small group mini-lessons as needed to teach specific skills
- Students are invited to sharing circles to share their process or product
- When appropriate, the whole writing cycle is demonstrated and completed in order to publish a writing piece
- A peaceful, magical way to end each day
- The academic year is divided into trimesters
- Parent/teacher conferences are required twice a year and optional a third time. These conferences are greatly valued, as our teaching is energized by the collaboration of fresh ideas and insights between parents and educators.
- Goals are habit-of-learning-type-goals, which extend to all content areas, so all content areas can be measured.
- No letter grades, as a general rule
- Assessments are artfully embedded into instruction, mostly performance-based and progress monitored along the way, in order to guide instruction using rubrics, observations, and more.
- Reporting methods may vary from checklists, portfolios, narratives, presentations, and more. Generally, reports document observations as to whether a student is or is not able to meet each standard.
- Standardized tests are not required for CSCA, but they are available upon request.
A Note about Parent Involvement
- We greatly value parent involvement and input. Parents know their children best, and we all want the best for all children.
- We invite parents as experts in sharing talents with students.
- We invite parents to volunteer to help in the classroom or for field trips, but certainly there is no obligation to do this.
- Parent newsletter is emailed on a weekly basis with information about the curriculum and upcoming events.
- For those parents that are interested, parent meetings may held with opportunities for discussion about topics such as spiritual lessons, instructional approaches, schedule, calendar, fundraising, and more.
Life is Our Classroom Thursdays
A rich part of our weekly experience takes place on Thursdays when we go out into the community for field trips related to the classroom or service projects. The teacher, along with volunteer parent chaperones, escort the kids. This is an opportunity to apply what we have been learning in the classroom, pique an interest, gain experience, and so much more!
On Teaching The Whole Person
CSCA K-8 curriculum teaches the whole person, as a spiritual being. We are able to integrate spiritual lessons into the day to day classroom happenings naturally. We are teaching young people to grow up to be who they are here to be with confidence and resilience for what life hands their way.
A Note about our unique Kinder-Pre-First-Experience
We have a unique kindergarten opportunity for families who wish their child to begin kindergarten “early.” Generally, schools have an age requirement that your child turn 5 years old on or before September 1 to begin kindergarten. While we honor that September 1 cut-off as a guideline, we also consider individual needs of children, along with parental input. If your child closely misses this cut-off, but you feel (s)he is developmentally ready to begin kindergarten, you have the choice to offer your child a Kinder-Pre-First Experience. Via individual student assessments, we can structure your child’s kindergarten experience on a two-year plan, rather than a one-year plan. At the second Parent/Teacher Conference, a decision will be made as a team (parents, educators, and student) to decide if your child will continue onto pre-first grade for year two, or your child may be developmentally and academically ready to advance to first grade.
A Note about our 6th – 8th Grade Experience
Our 6 th – 8 th grade model is one of a nurturing extension of the elementary years. This allows the pre-teen to learn in a family-structured, multi-age atmosphere, without the need to feel like growing up rapidly. We will continue to use Common Core State Standards and New Mexico standards to guide curriculum selections. Due to our multi-age classroom and small group approach, the instruction will continue to be differentiated to each student’s needs. Part of the criteria for a 6th-8th grader to be enrolled at CSCA is that his or her personality lends itself to our nurturing model, one that considers all ages of learners with compassion and respect.