The elementary division, which encompasses Kindergarten through fifth grade, is composed of unique learners and a dedicated teaching staff, who utilize the latest instructional technologies to implement a progressive curriculum designed to provide students with a solid academic foundation. Through a variety of cross-curricular lessons and activities, teachers foster the development of core competencies, such as collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Throughout the school day, elementary students have a number of courses that help lay a strong foundation for future academic, physical, social and emotional achievement. Students receive a well-balanced education that focuses on the whole-child, ensuring that each individual learner is engaged, healthy, safe, supported, and challenged.
To learn more about our Elementary school curriculum, simply click on the subject headers below or explore the comprehensive curriculum guide.
The Elementary English Language Arts curriculum is designed to provide students with a rich, integrated, and measured path to growth in reading, writing, and communication. It is built to foster a lifelong appreciation for literature, independent thought, and competency in the use of oral and written English. Young readers are provided with a variety of engaging and authentic reading materials and activities to develop critical thinking, imagination, creativity, and the ability to communicate with precision and clarity. Emphasis is placed on literary analysis, collaboration with peers, expanding vocabulary, improving grammar and spelling, as well as developing reference and study skills.
The mathematics program combines the development of concepts, computation, and application skills. Math instruction is based on children’s concrete experiences, employing a variety of manipulative materials. The program moves from the concrete to the increasingly abstract in all strands in the upper elementary grades. Problem solving is a major objective of the math curriculum and students are given instruction and training in working through the logical stages of problem solving. The math curriculum teaches students to understand the structure and language of mathematics in theoretical and real life situations.
The Science curriculum helps students experience the wonder of science through doing, questioning, and digging. Based on the California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the curriculum ensures that students understand and apply concepts and skills through hands-on approaches. The curriculum uses relevant local interests to build on what students know, encourages them to ask questions, and challenges them to solve real-world problems. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively with their peers and articulate their knowledge and findings with clarity through writing and speaking.
The Elementary Social Studies curriculum covers the history and culture of people in our community, state, country, and the world. It aspires to help students learn and appreciate other ways of life and time periods, and in the process, develop an understanding of and respect for diverse people and cultures. Through active participation, as well as projects and field trips, children gain knowledge of the wide array of similarities and differences that distinguish people and cultures of the world. They also gain a sense of responsibility about their role in their community and knowledge that their actions can make a difference in this world.
Armenian language, history, and religion form an integral part of the school curriculum, and families are able to choose from either Eastern or Western Armenian for their student(s) to study. Mastery of the Armenian alphabet, its phonetic characteristics, word formations, spelling, basic grammar, composition, and fluent reading form the basis of instruction in the elementary grades. The program is enriched through the many performances of Armenian patriotic poems, songs, and plays in the classrooms, during assemblies, and during public celebrations of Armenian holidays. Armenian history and religion are essential components of the Elementary Armenian curriculum, giving students a sense of their Armenian identity, while emphasizing the importance of values and character development.
The Elementary Art curriculum is designed to build concepts, skills, knowledge, and aesthetic awareness corresponding to the development of young students. The curriculum builds observation skills, encourages exploration of the imagination, and introduces students to a variety of past and present artists. Students will build skills gradually, which will help to build their confidence as artists and critical thinkers and will expand their knowledge base about art and the world, as they will have a wide variety of experiences in the visual arts. The knowledge and skills that every student will gain through these courses of study will lay the foundation for a deeper study of art on the secondary level.
Students have the opportunity to visit the chess classroom each week to learn the rules and states of chess with the teacher and their peers. The goal of the curriculum is to improve each child’s cognitive development and critical thinking skills. Through weekly practice, students learn to analyze, evaluate, and calculate their strategies towards victory. Students are prepared to play in the annual Kaham tournament, as well as participate in local, state, and national chess tournaments.
Music is an essential component of the elementary curriculum because it has been shown to help students develop the skills and attributes that support learning in other subjects, namely spatial-temporal reasoning skills and the ability to think in patterns and pictures. In addition to the music played in the classrooms, students have the opportunity to attend weekly music classes where they are introduced to the world of music and singing. During music class, students in grades Kindergarten through 5th are taught skills gradually based on the National Standards for Arts Education.
The curriculum introduces students to musical terminology and notations, as well as gives them the skills to differentiate between instrument families. Over the years, they will become familiar with different genres of music and music history. As students of an Armenian school, they will learn to appreciate the contributions of famous Armenian composers and be exposed to a variety of Armenian music.
The physical education program promotes physical growth and skill development of each student, while cultivating a positive spirit of teamwork and sportsmanship. Students participate in a variety of units, including physical fitness, nutrition, rhythm and movement, motor development, and team sports.
The Elementary curriculum would be incomplete without a focus on social-emotional learning. There is immense value in educating not only students’ minds, but also their hearts. The teaching of mindfulness is integrated into the curriculum with an emphasis on helping develop each child’s emotional intelligence. It begins with learning about the critical parts of the brain and strategies to help better solve problems and control emotions. The teachings of age-appropriate brain physiology are combined with monthly social and emotional topics, based on CASEL’s SEL Framework, that students get to explore through hands-on lessons, assemblies, and department-wide projects.
16 years AGBU MDS
26 years as a teacher
My favorite class to teach is Armenian history. I am continually inspired by my homeland and the history of my nation and I find it very special to be able to teach the newest generation of Armenians about their roots.
42 years AGBU MDS
47 years as a teacher
My school year is never what I want it to be without cooking! Stone soup, green milkshakes, deviled eggs, beignets, these are some of my most memorable classroom traditions. Each has a purpose and is related to a theme, concept or book study. This is the stuff my students come back years later with memories of.
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