• Private School in San Gabriel Valley | Pasadena Private Schools | Experiment in Classroom

Kindergarten to Grade 5

Clairbourn's elementary school program provides educational experiences in an atmosphere where children feel safe, valued, challenged and encouraged. A love of learning is fostered by a  dynamic and balanced program. With an emphasis on exploration, observation, and critical thinking, students develop knowledge and life-long skills.

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 research, 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.

    When additional practice or enrichment is needed, teachers use a variety of resources to meet the needs of individual students. 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.

    Our program is designed to enable all students to master comprehensive mathematical content, appreciate the inherent beauty of mathematics, and become confident mathematical thinkers. Cross-curricular application of mathematics helps our students understand the relevance and real-life applications of math.
  • Language Arts

    The elementary 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 work in small groups and with individual students to ensure 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.

    Students respond to literature in a variety of ways, through writing, projects and public speaking. They learn the structural elements and forms of various genres and participate in grade-level literary criticism lessons.

    The library program supports the classroom reading and literature programs. Sustained silent reading and independent reading at home are important activities in all grades.
  • Writing

    Effective writing is crucial, not only to academic achievement, but also to personal fulfillment and professional success.  Writing instruction at Clairbourn develops each student’s talent for self-expression while expanding and deepening their ability to express themselves.

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

    Oral communication and speaking skills are woven into every area of the curriculum in each grade level. Through class sharing, oral reports, presentations at Morning Assembly, plays, classroom discussions, readers theater and role playing, students are taught to speak with poise and confidence.
  • Science & Engineering

    Clairbourn’s elementary grade students learn about science from participating in hands-on activities which encourage them to experience 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.

    Clairbourn’s campus provides an environment that nurtures students’ interest in scientific observation and experimentation along with science-related communication skills, as integral parts of the school’s science program. Clairbourn’s science goals are closely aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (S.T.E.M.) are an important part of our program.

    An annual Engineering Design Challenge provides an opportunity for students to design and build an object or structure which solves a predetermined engineering problem or 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 interconnectedness and cause-effect relationships of their world.

    Moving upward through the grades, the scope of the curriculum expands outward from the study of 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 reading, writing, science, geography and math. The use of plays, simulations, online videos, biographies, historical fiction and outside speakers help students develop a sense of history and an understanding of both the past and the present.

    Clairbourn’s social studies program lays the foundation for our students’ future as they learn to  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.

  • Spanish

    Acquiring languages other than English and understanding other cultures are important skills; Clairbourn’s Spanish language program lays the foundation for our students in these critical areas.

    Students in grade one through grade five participate in a program that consists of exposure to the Spanish language and to the geography and cultures of countries in which Spanish is spoken.

    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 another language; and acquisition of basic words and phrases in Spanish in a safe and stimulating environment which stresses oral communication.
  • Library

    The library is at the center of Clairbourn’s educational resources and its literacy programs, with over 15,000 volumes and extensive 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 weekly class visits to the library, students listen to a story, discuss books, learn about authors and check out books. The librarian works with classroom teachers to ensure that  activities support classroom instruction. Clairbourn’s librarian is an important resource for students, whether for suggestions on books for interest-based reading or for help in locating information for reports and research.

    Library-sponsored programs encourage and support literacy, including the annual book fair and our “California Young Reader Medal Club” for grades four and five,  introducing students to the best in children’s literature.

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

    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 access classroom technology for whole and small-group instruction, and interactive whiteboards are important instructional tools in every classroom. In addition, Clairbourn has a dedicated Innovation Lab with 3D printers, programmable robots, and a full-time innovation specialist teacher. In weekly 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

    Students in grades kindergarten through three have twice-weekly music classes in the Music Room, where they learn to sing and play percussion, string, and wind instruments and begin to develop an understanding of the elements of music. In grades four and five, students have twice-weekly group instruction on a wind instrument plus instruction to further increase understanding of the elements of music. Art lessons and experiences focus on both conceptual development and technical skills. Art is approached from a global perspective, and art appreciation and aesthetics are explicitly developed through analysis and discussion of art and artists as well as through each student’s analysis of his or her own work. Students work in a variety of media. The annual Art Show showcases art produced by every student.
  • Physical Education

    Starting in kindergarten, students have regularly scheduled physical education classes with our two full-time PE specialist teachers. First through fifth grade classes meet four times a week for primarily single-gender physical education classes. The physical education program emphasizes skill-building for team and individual sports while incorporating activities that promote coordination, fitness, and physical development.  Swimming instruction and free swim time is provided for all ages during warm weather.  A regulation P.E. uniform is required beginning in fourth grade. Middle school classes meet five times a week and students participate in competitive sports with other area independent schools.

Characteristics of the Program

  • An emphasis on the development of strong written and verbal communication skills

  • An inclusive learning community which appreciates the unique individuality of each student and their contributions to the community. 

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

  • A rigorous, sequential curriculum which emphasizes critical thinking and intellectual habits

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

  • Extensive classroom libraries and individual student iPads in grades K-5

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

  • Field trips, assemblies and outside speakers which expose students to diverse experiences and perspectives

  • Co-curricular enrichment classes: art, library, Innovation Lab, music, Spanish and physical education—all taught by subject specialists

  • Regular use of technology as a learning tool

Gardening Expands Clairbourn's Education

Only in a garden can one experience the technicolor tartness of biting into a fresh tomato, enjoy the smell of sun-warmed, scented herbs, and delight in the buzzing bees, who offer a pollinator's promise of good things to come. In today's technology-centric world, Clairbourn School's gardens provide students with a way to connect with life's simple, outdoor pleasures.

1st Grade Classroom Store Teaches Economic Principles

Early entrepreneurship experiences are becoming increasingly important as an education tool to teach students a host of important lessons that can pay off later in life.

"Character Matters" Second Grade Play

Clairbourn's second grade is known for ramping-up opportunities for students to express themselves and to learn how to present ideas in a public setting.

8400 Huntington Drive | San Gabriel, CA 91775 626.286.3108 | info@clairbourn.org
Private School Education for Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary School & Middle School. Serving Families in the Pasadena Area and San Gabriel Valley. Clairbourn is a 501(c)3 charitable organization (K-12 Private Schools) and accredited by CAIS and WASC.