During the Elementary years, students are empowered to take risks as they explore their capacity for learning in a safe and inclusive environment.

Our passionate teachers will guide your child to think critically, practice collaboration, and assume authentic leadership roles. Here, students discover their individual strengths and challenges, and articulate a keen sense of inclusion, social justice, and fairness. They are encouraged to think creatively rather than memorize formulas, and to meaningfully connect knowledge to their own lives.

Our Elementary program provides a strong foundation in fundamental academic skills while also nurturing and guiding students’ social and emotional growth and development. The curriculum is rigorous, supportive, and developmentally appropriate. Study tours (field trips) extend classroom instruction out into the world, while cross-curricular themes and connections within all aspects of the program help our students bring learning into focus. Our instructional learning teams use a variety of methods to reach all children, including a combination of direct instruction, independent practice, hands-on learning, and cooperative group work.

Language Arts

The Lower Elementary Language Arts curriculum balances skill development, conceptual understanding, real life application, and empowers students to share their thinking. Our K-2 reading curriculum combines Guided Reading and Daily 5, which together helps students tackle increasingly challenging texts and develop accountability. This approach pairs well with our focus on small group and differentiated instruction.

Daily 5 is a literacy framework that instills behaviors of independence, creates a classroom of highly engaged readers, writers, and learners, and provides teachers with the time and structure to meet diverse student needs. Guided Reading involves small, teacher-led groups in which the teacher supports and develops problem-solving strategies geared toward independent reading.

Turning Point is dedicated to fostering independent, confident writers at every age. We facilitate student growth through a thoughtful combination of modeling, direct instruction, practice, and reflection. Students develop the skills to clearly and confidently articulate their thoughts in their own authentic voice.

Our anchor writing curriculum, “Units of Study in Opinion/Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing,” developed by Lucy Calkins, enhances our thoughtfully constructed, individualized instruction around writing skills, strategies, and concepts. Students also practice creative storytelling, personal narratives, and poetry, and they proudly publish their work. Our emphasis on regular student-teacher conferences encourages students to take an active role in their learning and allows teachers to differentiate instruction based on each writer’s needs.

Mathematics

Across the Turning Point math curriculum, teachers guide students in utilizing strategy, discipline, and flexibility in thinking in order to develop mathematical habits of mind that lead to a deep conceptual understanding of numbers and equations.

Students build a strong foundation of number-sense, helping them work towards understanding increasingly abstract tools, numbers, and symbols. Our anchor text, Singapore Math, reflects our pedagogical understanding that as students work with and manipulate numbers, they develop fluency and mental math strategies. Process-based lessons are presented in a concrete, pictorial, and abstract sequence, and fluency (e.g. sprints, skip counting, and sequenced call response drills) is included as a major component. In addition to our anchor text, we utilize a variety of multi-modal approaches such as project-based learning, interdisciplinary connections, games, and math centers in order to ensure that all learners are able to comprehend material in the way they individually learn best.

In Kindergarten, students build a strong foundation in number relationships and develop their mathematical vocabulary, which is strengthened in Grade 1 with work on place value, addition, subtraction, and regrouping. In Grade 2, math is integrated into a variety of cross-curricular areas, and students develop critical thinking skills through experimental and experiential math activities.

SCIENCE

The Science program in Kindergarten – Grade 2 inspires intellectual curiosity and promotes environmental stewardship by involving students in hands-on, experiential learning as they explore and understand the world around them. Students learn how to form questions, make predictions, and experiment. By the time students complete Grade 2 Science, they have engaged in study of the scientific method, the engineering process, research methods, and scientific report writing.

Social studies

In Kindergarten and Grade 1, the social studies program centers on the social milieus most familiar to young children: self, family, school, and neighborhood. Students expand their capacity to understand self and others, and work cooperatively to problem solve and negotiate differences. In Grade 2, students explore geographic regions of the earth, learning how to use globes, maps, and compasses to bring context to the wider world. They engage in constructive problem solving, connect with similarities and reflect upon differences, acknowledge interconnectedness, and explore their capacity to become change makers and affect positive change in their classroom, school, community, and world.

Spanish

In Kindergarten – Grade 2, students build upon the Spanish language, vocabulary, and cultural instruction they began to explore in Preschool. Students develop listening comprehension, a vocabulary base, and verbal proficiency skills by engaging in imaginative, personalized, and inquiry-based activities. Song and rhythm, active play, art, and stories stimulate curiosity and engagement in Spanish-speaking cultures. Students explore themes related to self-awareness, empathy, and curiosity about their world as they work collaboratively to develop cultural literacy.

Library and research

Turning Point School’s Luis de Torres Memorial Library is home to a collection of over 10,000 print, digital, and multimedia resources. Through its wealth of diverse resources, the library aims to support students’ intellectual curiosity, appreciation of literature, and drive to become lifelong learners. In Kindergarten, students are introduced to book selection and check out, book care, and library arrangement. As students advance through the grade levels, research and media literacy skills are also taught, as students develop essential skills of inquiry, critical thinking, and reasoning.

Technology

In K-2, students learn how the responsible use of technology enhances learning by developing and honing skills in introductory keyboarding, digital citizenship, technology-supported project based learning, and basic programming. Inquiry, critical thinking, and creativity are developed as students apply their knowledge of technology and computer science to devise innovative solutions to the essential questions asked in their core curricular classes.

Music

Music in K-2 focuses on creative self-expression, understanding essential music skills, and exploring the history of styles of music around the world. Turning Point utilizes the Orff Schulwerk method, a music and movement pedagogy that helps students develop strong fundamentals of rhythm, melody, harmony, form, timbre and tempo through singing, movement and dance, games, and percussion instruments. Several formal and informal concerts and recitals throughout the school year help students develop collaboration skills, ensemble technique, and performance etiquette.

Performing Arts

Workshops incorporating drama games and story dramatizations open students’ imaginations and develop their natural sense of play into drama skills. Led by Specialist and Head Teachers, workshops are closely linked to the classroom curriculum, taking learning off the page and linking lessons to students’ emerging creativity and communication skills.

Visual Arts

The Elementary Visual Arts program provides students with skills that enable understanding of the creative process, aesthetic perception, and self-expression. In grades K-2, students learn basic techniques, including color, lines, shape, and texture. Students engage in drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, and mixed media projects as they develop familiarity and comfort with the language of visual art. As students explore these media, they are encouraged to be inventive and take risks in their artwork. Projects are based on process and often tied to an artist or art history. Lessons are integrated with the core curricula in all subjects, allowing students to connect their intellectual pursuits with artistic expression.

Physical Education

In our gymnasium and on our turf fields, students engage in individual and team-based skill building as they learn fundamental movement patterns, develop agility, and value the well-being of themselves and others. PE classes are delivered in a fun and structured atmosphere that emphasize joy in pursuing an active lifestyle. Sportsmanship, celebration of best effort, and enjoyment of game play are developed as students learn constructive reflection, resilience, and tolerance of imperfection.

Citizenship and Ethics

Character education and intercultural competence is interwoven into Lower Elementary instructional practice and play. By engaging in frequent collaboration, small and large group discussion, mixed-age opportunities, and school-wide learning opportunities, students bond, navigate conflict, and make positive choices when moments that test character inevitably occur.

Human Growth and Development

Lower Elementary students learn fundamentals about the brain and human body. Students study organs through age-appropriate lessons and hands-on activities. The importance of health and hygiene and the impact of the outside world on our internal systems are investigated and discussed.

Optional After School Care and After School Classes

Students may participate in supervised After School Care and/or Enrichment Courses until 6:00 pm. (Fees apply beyond tuition.)

Want to learn more about our premier Elementary School program? Start the conversation.

Language Arts

The Upper Elementary Language Arts curriculum balances skill development, conceptual understanding, real life application, and the ability to explain thinking. Class activity includes small group instruction (guided reading and book clubs), teacher-directed whole-class lessons (phonics and core literature), and student-led presentations. Students are challenged to think beyond the text, identify themes and messages, question authors’ choices, and appreciate perspectives.

Writer’s Workshop allows students to focus on and deepen writing skills through personal narratives, nonfiction, poetry, persuasive letters, and argument pieces. By Grade 5, students have learned to think critically and analyze information as they work to determine its relevance, which prepares them for the rigorous critical reading and writing demands of Middle School. The five steps of the writing process, from pre-writing to publishing, become second nature to our students.

Mathematics

Across the Turning Point math curriculum, teachers guide students in utilizing strategy, discipline, and flexibility in thinking in order to develop mathematical habits of mind that lead to a deep conceptual understanding of numbers and equations.

Students build a strong foundation of number-sense, helping them work towards understanding increasingly abstract tools, numbers, and symbols. Our anchor text, Singapore Math, reflects our pedagogical understanding that as students work with and manipulate numbers, they develop fluency and mental math strategies. Process-based lessons are presented in a concrete, pictorial, and abstract sequence, and fluency is included as a major component. In addition to our anchor text, we utilize a variety of multi-modal approaches such as project-based learning, interdisciplinary connections, games, and math centers in order to ensure that all learners are able to comprehend material in the way they individually learn best.

In Grades 3-5 students develop an in-depth understanding of the underlying logic of numbers. Instruction is geared toward sophisticated, student-centered learning within a relevant, personal, and engaging classroom environment. Teachers know how to expertly vary instruction so that all learners develop procedural fluency, understand abstract concepts, and can explain and justify their thinking.

Science

In Grades 3-5, students learn to design experiments, record and graph data, make predictions, and draw conclusions based on supporting evidence. By immersing themselves in hands-on, open-ended discovery, students investigate and draw conclusions about topics that ignite and inspire their imagination. Specific concentrations in earth science, animal and plant adaptations, the human body, and life science encourage students to develop a lifelong desire to use critical thinking, inquiry, and curiosity to make sense of the world around them. Students design and carry out experiments and communicate their applications of the scientific process to peers and a general audience.

Social Studies

Throughout their Upper Elementary years, students will explore the history, geography, and citizenship of California history, geography, economy, and government (Grade 3 and 4), and US history (Grade 5). In each area, the program’s main objective is to help students understand the depth and richness of history and how it informs our lives today. A cross-curricular approach integrates literature, mathematics, science, art, language, and technology to create well-rounded units. Students collaboratively work to master constructive problem solving, connect with similarities and reflect upon differences, acknowledge interconnectedness, and investigate challenges facing their communities.

Spanish

In Grades 3-5, students build upon the Spanish language, vocabulary, and cultural instruction mastered in their early Elementary years. Students become proficient in listening comprehension, vocabulary, and verbal proficiency by engaging in imaginative, personalized, and inquiry-based activities. They begin to express their language comprehension by writing pieces using the grammar and vocabulary they have developed throughout their years in Spanish. They explore themes related to self-awareness, empathy, and curiosity about their world as they work collaboratively to develop cultural literacy. To help make the transition to Middle School Spanish, Grade 5 students participate in written assessments that emphasize vocabulary-building, grammatical structures, and reflections on the links between Spanish and English.

Library and research

Turning Point School’s Luis de Torres Memorial Library is home to a collection of over 10,000 print, digital, and multimedia resources. Through its wealth of diverse resources, the library aims to support students’ intellectual curiosity, appreciation of literature, and drive to become lifelong learners. In Grades 3-5, students advance their familiarity with literary genres and make connections with themselves and their world through literature. Inquiry, critical thinking, and reasoning are honed as students learn to responsibly find and use information found in print and digital sources.

Technology

In Grades 3-5, students advance their skills in keyboarding, digital citizenship, and computer programming as they engage in project-based lessons and assignments. Turning Point’s innovative software, hardware, and state-of-the-art multimedia labs provide students with the tools and space to learn from trial and error and use technology as a means of exploring their curiosities. Inquiry, critical thinking, and creativity are practiced as students apply their knowledge of technology and computer science to devise innovative solutions to the essential questions asked in their core curricular classes.

Music

Using the Orff Schulwerk method of music instruction, students in Grades 3-5 develop a sense of rhythm, an ear for harmony, and an understanding of how to identify and appreciate musical beauty in their world. Students learn musicality by singing, dancing, and playing music on percussion and wind instruments. As students progress, emphasis is placed on musical literacy and ensemble skills, with notation and music theory integrated into instruction. A number of formal and informal concerts and recitals throughout the school year help students develop ensemble technique and performance etiquette.

Performing Arts | Theatre

Workshops incorporating drama games and story dramatizations are closely linked to classroom curriculum, incorporating increasingly intensive process dramas which explore a variety of personal, social, and global topics.  Students build communication and collaboration skills, with a focus on developing empathy and self-knowledge.

Visual Arts

The Elementary Visual Arts program provides students with skills that enable understanding of the creative process, aesthetic perception, and self-expression. Students engage in drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, and mixed media projects as they develop a deep understanding of and comfort with the language of visual art. In grades 3-5, students are able to work more independently. They learn about value and hue in color, three-dimensionality and viewpoint, basic perspective, and positive and negative space. As students explore various media, they are encouraged to be inventive and take risks in their artwork. Projects are often tied to an artist or art history. Lessons are integrated with the core curricula in all subjects, allowing students to connect their intellectual pursuits with artistic expression.

Physical Education

In Physical Education, the focus for Grades 3-5 is on cooperative play that fosters joy in an active lifestyle. Constructive reflection and a tolerance for imperfection are reinforced as key components of athletic development. As students learn and grow, increasingly complex sport specific skills and strategies are taught, continually emphasizing that “team” comes first, that cooperation is essential to growth, and that healthy competition means not just striving to win but respecting opponents, teammates, and ourselves.

Citizenship and Ethics

In Upper Elementary, students define friendship, retain and form bonds, develop conflict navigation skills, and build a network for trusted counsel and perspective. Students demonstrate an understanding of how they can contribute as citizens of their local and global communities through process-oriented workshops, school-wide service opportunities, and essential questions as developed through our global citizen benchmarks.

Human Growth and Development

In Grades 3-5, students learn how to build a foundation for healthy living by exploring topics such as sleep, hygiene, nutrition, and emotional and physical development. Collaborative projects and group discussions inspire students to be observant and inquisitive about the world around them. As students near the end of their Elementary education, they participate in sessions, separated by gender, in which they are given the knowledge necessary to better understand and communicate about their physical maturation.

Want to learn more about our premier Elementary School program? Start the conversation.

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