Classroom and Curriculum
We strive to choose and create curriculum that is inclusive, diverse, and place-based.
Forest School is an educational program for young children that takes place outside, in all kinds of weather and all kinds of ecosystems. It allows children to learn about their world through play and exploration. Teachers support learning with stories, songs, and activities that help develop a child's social, physical and emotional skills, as well as their academic skills. We offer a half-day program for Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten students.
Forest Kindergarten/1st Grade starts at 8:30. They are often off-site at one of our Forest School locations but return for lunch at the school. Kindergarteners are done at 1 pm. 1st grade finishes their day with more academic work in reading and math and are out at 3:00 pm Monday through Thursday. They're out at 1 pm on Friday.
The Primary Program is a place where we form strong family and community bonds, spark imaginations, inspire creativity and provide a strong academic foundation. We use Common Core standards and student interest as a way to guide our teaching. The teachers at Laurel Tree believe in planning thematic units that not only cover the Common Core standards but also extend the topics and interweave the subjects to show their interdependence. Our goal is to instill a lifelong passion for learning and academic competence in all students.
Second through fifth-grade students start their day with a ninety-minute Language Arts class. We use Wit and Wisdom from Great Minds as our base and supplement with Phonographix. Then, students rotate through their Math, Science and Social Studies in groups of ten to fifteen students. After lunch, they have a skills support time and then they end the day with one of the units in Project Wild. On Friday, all students are out at 1 pm.
Drop-in care is available in the mornings before school from 7 to 8 am., and aftercare is available for K-6 students until 5:30.
Middle School students start their year with a week-long camping trip and a trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to see some excellent theater. Their day runs from 9 to 3:30 and includes a ninety-minute Language Arts/history block using Wit and Wisdom as our core English curriculum. Then they have a science/math block that uses College Preparatory Mathematics combined with hands-on projects and science in groups of twelve to fifteen students. After lunch, they have a study hall support and finally a place-based Natural History Course that is done primarily outside. Friday morning classes from 8:30 to 1:00 are mandatory for any student with a grade below a C and optional for all other students. Friday classes are held at the Arcata site. Drop-in aftercare is available for K-6 students until 5:30.
High School students also start the year with camping and theater. In addition to that, they have the opportunity to travel in the Spring. Our Spring Travel is usually based on something we've been studying throughout the year. This year we'll be traveling to the Eastern Sierras, the Grand Canyon, and the Channel Islands as part of our study of geology. Laurel Tree high school coursework has been approved by the University of California as college preparatory, we are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, we have a College Readiness Plan in place, and we provide concurrent enrollment opportunities for juniors and seniors through College of the Redwoods.
Classes are from at 9:00 to 3:45 at the McKinleyville site, Monday through Thursday. Friday classes are 8:30 to 1:00 at the Arcata site and are mandatory for all students with a grade below a C and optional for all other students.