Kindergarten to Grade 5

Clairbourn's lower school school program provides a wide array of experiences in an atmosphere where learning is natural and enjoyable, with a dynamic, balanced program that teaches traditional core content, develops 21st century knowledge and skills, and emphasizes exploration, observation, and reasoning.
  

Characteristics of the Program

  • Regular use of technology as a learning tool

  • An emphasis on the development of strong communication skills 

  • An inclusive learning community that appreciates individual strengths and contributions

  • Small classes and a highly-qualified teaching staff that values and encourages each child

  • A rigorous, sequential curriculum emphasizing critical thinking and intellectual habits

  • A Code of Ethics that promotes positive values such as honesty, respect, and responsibility and builds an inclusive and ethical school community

  • Extensive classroom libraries and individual student computers (for classroom use) in Grades 4-5

  • Individual, group, and whole-class activities with cross-curricular teaching units that support individual and cooperative learning experiences

  • A wide array of field trips, assemblies, and outside speakers that expose students to diverse perspectives and a breadth of experiences

  • A strong array of co-curricular enrichment classes in art, library, computer/technology, music, world languages (Grades 3-5), and physical education—all taught by subject specialists

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Lower School Program Components

List of 7 items.

  • Mathematics

    In grades kindergarten through five, the Everyday Mathematics curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project forms the foundation of Clairbourn’s mathematics program. There is a systematic progression of skills, a strong focus on real-life problem solving, and many opportunities for hands-on learning in every grade.

    When additional practice or enrichment is needed, teachers may use a variety of other resources to meet the needs of individual students or the class. At each stage of learning there is an emphasis on critical thinking, development of a deep understanding of the concepts being taught, and on the acquisition of solid computational skills.

    In addition to daily instruction in mathematics, there are many opportunities for students to use math in other subject areas. This helps our students understand the relevance and real-life applications of math outside the classroom. Our program is designed to enable all children to master comprehensive mathematical content, appreciate the inherent beauty of mathematics, and become confident mathematical thinkers.
  • Language Arts

    The Lower School language arts curriculum is built upon three essential and interrelated strands: reading, writing, and speaking.
  • Reading

    Because the reading skills of young children develop at different rates, teachers in the primary grades provide reading instruction using materials for a wide range of ability and interest levels.

    Teachers often work in small groups and with individual students to assure that every child is advancing, whether as a beginning or increasingly fluent reader. Comprehension, the ultimate goal of all reading instruction, is explicitly taught and practiced at every grade level and is the primary emphasis in grades three through five.

    Literary response and analysis is a natural outgrowth of the school’s emphasis on critical thinking. Even our youngest children engage in discussions of stories and poems being read in the classroom.

    At all grades, students respond to literature in a variety of ways, whether in writing, orally, or through projects. They learn the structural elements and forms of stories, and participate in grade-appropriate literary criticism activities.

    The library program supports the classroom reading and literature programs and provides many literacy-related events. Sustained silent reading and independent reading at home are important activities in all grades. There is required summer reading for grades four through eight.
  • Writing

    Good writing is crucial not only to academic achievement but also to personal fulfillment and professional success. Like many excellent private schools, the purpose of writing instruction at Clairbourn is to develop each student’s talent for self-expression while expanding and deepening his or her ability to express those talents through the acquisition of good writing technique.

    Clairbourn’s writing workshop program focuses on the concepts of ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions (grammar, spelling, and punctuation), and presentation. Students write in virtually all subject areas and in a variety of forms, including journals, stories, essays, research reports, poetry, newspaper articles, and personal letters.
  • Speaking

    Attention to oral communication and speaking skills is woven into virtually every area of the curriculum in each grade. Through class sharing, oral reports, presentations at Chapel and other assemblies, plays, classroom discussions, readers theatre, and role playing, students are taught to speak with poise and confidence, whether in front of their classmates or in front of the entire school.
  • Science & Engineering

    Clairbourn’s elementary grade students learn about science not only from books and videos but also from participating in hands-on activities that encourage them to experience for themselves the processes, joy, and fascination of science. The ultimate goal of Clairbourn’s science program is to actively engage our students in scientific inquiry and empower them to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly scientific and technological world.

    A dedicated lower-school science lab and a variety of natural outdoor spaces on the campus provide an environment that nurtures students’ interest in scientific observation and experimentation. Clairbourn’s science goals are closely aligned to Next Generation Science Standards. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M.), along with science-related communication skills, are integral parts of the school’s science program.

    An annual Engineering Design Challenge provides an opportunity for students to design and build a device that solves a pre-determined engineering problem. Students in grades one through three engage in the challenge as a whole class rather than competitively, while students in grades four through eight compete in pairs to produce the most effective solution to the challenge.
  • Social Studies

    Clairbourn’s social studies program is designed to help students understand the world in which they live, including the geographic, cultural, political, and economic systems of their own and other nations. While gaining a sense of the placement of important historical events in time, students develop a respect for the rights of others, gain insights into how people can effectively live and work together, develop an understanding of their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and begin to understand the inter-connectedness and cause-effect relationships of our world.

    Moving upward through the grades, the scope of the curriculum expands outward from the study of the home and school in kindergarten to our local communities, our state, the nation, and the world. In all grades the social studies curriculum is integrated with a variety of subjects such as reading, writing, science, geography, and math. The use of plays, simulations, online videos, biographies, historical fiction, and outside speakers helps students develop a sense of history, an understanding of both the past and the present, and a feeling of being “in” history.

    As our students move into middle school, and then on to private high school and college, Clairbourn’s elementary social studies program will have laid the foundation for helping those students identify, understand, and work to solve the challenges facing our diverse nation in an increasingly interdependent world.

Co-Curricular Enrichment Subjects

List of 5 items.

  • World Languages

    Acquiring languages other than English and having a basic understanding of other cultures are important skills in today’s world, and Clairbourn’s language program lays the foundation for our students in these critical areas. In first grade, students are exposed to American Sign Language and use it to “sing” common patriotic songs and communicate simple words and phrases.

    Students in grades three through five participate weekly in a Foreign Language Experience Program (F.L.E.X.) that consists of exposure to the French and Spanish languages and to the geography and cultures of the countries in which those languages are spoken today. Students with family ties to other countries and cultures often share the languages and stories of those cultures during language classes.

    The primary goals of the third, fourth, and fifth grade language program are: increased awareness and appreciation of different cultures around the globe; an understanding of the value of communicating in other languages; and, acquisition of basic words and phrases in French and Spanish in a risk-free and stimulating environment that stresses oral communication. Our elementary languages program prepares students for the formal study of either French or Spanish in middle school.
  • Library

    The library is the heart of Clairbourn’s educational resources and its literacy programs, with over 15,000 volumes and extensive pre-filtered, age-appropriate on-line resources. A dedicated online Clairbourn Library class area, accessible through the school's intranet, provides safe and useful information and links which can be accessed at school and at home.

    During their weekly class visit to the library, students listen to a story or chapter being read aloud, discuss books, learn about authors, and check out recreational or curriculum-specific books. Many library activities support classroom instruction.

    There is an array of library-sponsored programs that encourage and support literacy, including a book fair each year and our “California Young Reader Medal Club” for grades four through eight, which introduce students to the best in children’s literature.

    Each year the library and the Clairbourn Families Association sponsor several assembly presentations by local and nationally known authors and illustrators.

    Clairbourn’s two librarians are an important resource for students, whether for suggestions on books for interest-based reading or for help in locating information for reports and research. Parents are encouraged to make use of the library as well, especially to check out books to read aloud to their children.
  • Computer/Technology

    Teachers and students in the elementary grades access classroom computers for whole or small-group instruction, and interactive white boards such as SMART Boards are important instructional tools in every classroom. In addition, Clairbourn has a dedicated Innovation Lab with 3D printers, new computers, touch-screen monitors, programmable robots, and a full-time technology specialist teacher. In the weekly technology classes, students receive computer/technology instruction designed to enhance their use of technology in their daily lives. The ethical and safe use of online technologies is an important element of the curriculum.
  • Visual and Performing Arts

    Elementary students meet twice weekly with our art and music specialist teachers, and both drama and public speaking are a part of the curriculum.
  • Physical Education

    Starting in kindergarten, students have regularly scheduled physical education classes with our two full-time PE specialist teachers.
  

Come Visit Us!

Clairbourn School is a coeducational, private school for students in preschool through middle school (JPK-Grade 8) that has continuously served the greater Pasadena area since 1926. We are known for excellent academics, our welcoming community, our attractive campus, and a strong record of sending graduates to top area high schools.
Private School Education for Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary School, & Middle School Grades - Serving Families in the Pasadena Area and Surrounding Cities
Clairbourn is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. (K-12 Private Schools)