We are proud to provide our students with the opportunity to learn alongside a diverse group of children and families who reflect the racial, cultural and socio-economic diversity of the community surrounding our school. Our standards-based program provides an academically challenging, creative and emotionally supportive environment for our students and is designed to continually expand students’ knowledge and understanding of concepts, ideas and information. This educational philosophy, called constructivism, is the cornerstone of our instructional delivery at Larchmont Charter. We offer our students materials and strategies for gathering information, a classroom climate of shared inquiry, and hands-on experiences making use of a variety of materials. Teachers design projects to promote collaboration between students, connect concepts between curricular areas, and anchor state standards in meaningful contexts like those students will experience in their lives beyond the classroom. Projects are shared with our community in performances, simulations, art shows, and displays as we celebrate together the continuing joy of lifelong learning.
COURSES OF STUDY
English Language Arts
Our English language arts program is keyed to the notion that reading and writing are components of one process and that each supports the growth of the other. Using the Columbia University Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop models, students spend extended periods of time reading and discussing literature, and have continuous, repeated exposure to the process of writing. In this manner we are building the skills and developing the interest and confidence needed to support lifelong readers and writers, as well as the skills and strategies to ensure success in middle school and beyond.
Our goal for mathematics instruction is to produce students who recognize and appreciate the mathematical components of their world and the important role that mathematics will play in their future. We strive to develop student fluency with numbers supported by a strong mathematical vocabulary and solid skill base. Challenging projects that implement skills and concepts support the development of mathematical reasoning and algebraic thinking building confident problem-solvers throughout the grades. Our early focus on the application of skills readies our students for increasingly challenging math curricula.
Our standards based science curriculum is built on the belief that science is a hands-on inquiry–based collaborative endeavor. Hands-on scientific experiences, supported by content rich classroom libraries, Internet resources, speakers and field trips provide a context for discovery. Students test hypotheses, expand their knowledge base, and work with classmates to develop new insights. Projects include collaborative presentations as well as more formal written research. There are many opportunities to share the joy of scientific discovery with classmates, teachers and parents.
We consider our social studies curriculum to be an opportunity to promote a culturally sensitive historical perspective and to inspire civic-minded participation through community service. Our social studies curriculum is aligned with California State Standards, following core content expectations. Instructional delivery is focused on guiding questions and projects as we build student understanding of various historical perspectives, providing opportunities for students to explore, analyze and deepen their understanding of community, diversity and multiculturalism.
Visual and Performing Arts
Currently we expose students to the arts in two different ways: within the academic classroom setting, and in weekly subject-specific arts instruction in visual arts and music. When students learn visual and performing arts from skilled specialists, they develop a deeper and more focused appreciation and skill set than they would from integrated arts alone. For example, children learn about color and elements of line in art, and about rhythm and phrasing in music. Art and music specialists showcase student work through performances, an annual student art show, and during our weekly community tradition, Morning Sing. Specialists also work with classroom teachers to enhance integration of the arts in the other subject areas. Students use the arts to deepen their understanding of a subject, or share what they have learned with others. Classroom lessons often include music from the period of study, or opportunities to select art as a way to demonstrate what has been learned.
Physical education, nutrition, as well as our healthy food policy, promote a connection to an active life-style as well as healthy eating habits. Our physical education program emphasizes the importance of activity, and physical education specialists use a variety of strategies to promote engagement and teambuilding as well as fitness. Dance and the use of music are both integral components of our program.