The course of study involves an interactive process of learning and is concerned with the development of the whole child and the preservation of each student's unique personality. In addition to the enriched academic program, the curriculum supports the development of self-confidence and self-assurance, cooperative learning skills, community awareness and involvement, leadership skills, and the application of cognitive skills to real life situations.
All elementary classes are capped at 24 students with 2 full-time teachers. This enables us to provide individualized attention, challenge and support support to students while also creating the perfect size social group. Our team teaching model also enables us to run innovative developmental programs, such as the balanced literacy model pioneered at Columbia University Teachers College. Instruction is individualized to help children progress along a learning continuum, or spectrum. The combination of our team teaching model, 12:1 student to teacher ratio, and developmental curriculum makes Woodland Hills Private School a school where all children succeed!
All areas of the curriculum areas meet or exceed the requirements stated in the California State Frameworks and the National Education Standards.
One of the goals of the Woodland Hills Private School program is to help our students develop into respectful and responsible citizens. Through discussion, role playing, vocabulary development and literature study, our students gain an understanding of the character traits and values that will help them develop good citizenship. Our Character Counts program focuses on six main character traits. These character traits are:
Each month the students have an in-depth study of one of these traits with activities and projects that emphasize these values, helping the students gain a better understanding of the trait. Recognition is given to students for their performance of that value. At our monthly assembly, classes put on performances that highlight the understanding of the specific character value for that month.
The internalization of these traits is evident in the many activities in which the students are involved. These include a peer tutoring program, their participation in many community service activities (Math-A-Thon, Red Ribbon Week, Pennies for Patients, Jump for Heart, etc.), the success of the cooperative learning groups, concern for the environment and the application of these values in their everyday lives.
The language arts curriculum involves all of the elements of language: speaking, listening, reading, writing, and thinking. It utilizes a variegated approach - whole language and phonics programs combined with core literature and theme-based units along with and supplementing state-approved textbooks. Language arts activities are interwoven into all areas of the curriculum. The ability to read, write and speak fluently in a logical manner encourages the growth of self confidence for all our students.
Begins with familiar words and sounds and teacher-directed activities, then moves on to stories that are diverse and challenging. Instruction is done with small groups of students who are on the same level and includes a wide range of activities to promote phonics, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension skills, communication skills, and critical thinking.
Creative expression, logical sequencing of ideas, clarity, fluency, spelling accuracy, grammar, punctuation, and handwriting skills, are all essential elements of the Woodland Hills Private School writing program. Through daily writing experiences (i.e. journals, book reports, creative writing, research reports, etc.) our students become proficient at expressing themselves through the written word and learn to appreciate the writing of others.
Expressing ideas in a logical manner, discussing options, utilizing an expanding vocabulary, exploring new meanings, evaluating and responding, negotiating, and promoting common ground solutions lead to strong verbal skills for our students. Oral language exercises involve both formal and informal discussions, public speaking, role playing, leadership training, and decision making.
The mathematics curriculum emphasizes the overall structure of math and its relationship to the real world. Activities range from the extensive use of concrete materials in the primary grades to the more abstract, higher level thinking skills of the upper elementary and cover six main areas.
- Numbers - Counting by 1’s, then 2’s, 5’s and 10’s the students progress through addition, subtraction, multiplication and division operations, interpretation of word exercises, the use and understanding of fractions, decimal values, mathematical expressions and sentences, estimation, and ratios.
- Measurement - Students develop familiarity with customary as well as non-standard units of measurement, digital and analog clocks, Celsius and Fahrenheit thermometers, and how to calculate perimeter, area, and volume.
- Geometry - Visual attributes and concrete materials are used to identify 2 and 3 dimensional geometric figures, congruency and symmetry, using geometric tools (compass, protractor, ruler and straight edge).
- Patterns and Functions - Sequencing of objects and numbers, reading a table, and how to identify and graph points on a grid are the skills taught.
- Statistics and Probability - Includes learning how to collect, organize, represent and interpret data, and how to predict and record the results of simple probability experiments.
- Logic - Drawing logical conclusions as a result of observation, classification, and generalization is a skill that will be of value throughout each student’s life.
Through the use of investigative, hands on exploration techniques, students develop the rational thinking processes of observation, communication, comparison, organization, relation, inference, and application. The goals of the science curriculum include the attainment of rational and creative thinking processes, the attainment of manipulative and communicative skills in science, and the attainment of scientific knowledge. Students utilize the scientific process as they explore physical, biological, chemical, earth and environment science topics. Examples of three of the subject areas are provided below:
Biological Science which includes the study of plants, animals, human beings, ecosystems, and cells.
Earth Science involves the study of astronomy, geology, natural resources, ecology, meteorology, and oceanography.
Physical Science explores the study of matter, mechanics, and energy (light, heat, electricity, magnetism, and sound).
Health is designed to help students make decisions that will promote personal health, healthful family living and the development of community health resources. Integrated with the science curriculum, ten main areas are covered within the health framework:
- Personal Health
- Mental/Emotional Health
- Environmental Health
- Use and Misuse of Substances
- Family Health
- Diseases and Disorders
- Community Health
- Consumer Health
- Accident Prevention & Emergency Health Services
The Social Science discipline includes history, geography, economics, political science, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and the humanities. There are three main goals in the social science curriculum:
Knowledge of Cultural Understanding - students develop a respect for the dignity of all people and an understanding of different cultures and ways of life. Appreciation of the uniqueness of people and cultures through the study of historical events, geography, economics, ethics, and traditions.
Democratic Understanding and Civic Values - studying the pluralistic, multi cultural nature of our society and our nation's constitutional heritage, students begin the process of becoming responsible citizens.
Skills Attainment and Social Participation - working in a group while maintaining their own individual ideas, becoming responsible for their own actions, defining and clarifying issues, and working at obtaining information, judging its values, reaching reasoned conclusions based on evidence, and developing sound judgement.