Classroom and Curriculum
We strive to choose and create curriculum that is inclusive, diverse, and place-based.
Violet and Catherine each teach a classroom in the nature-based transitional kindergarten/kindergarten Forest School program here at Laurel Tree. The fully outdoor program integrates the Forest School model with seasonal outdoor learning. Integration of Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Sustainability Standards, Preschool Early Learning Foundations, and Forest School pedagogy guide this inquiry-based curriculum.
Our belief is that the outdoors provides an excellent environment to develop the competencies and confidence of the whole child. The role of the teacher is to observe progress, guide and facilitate student learning. We provide provocations for learning and ensure the safety of all participants.
Forest School is an educational program for young children that takes place outside, in all weather, and in many natural ecosystems over an extended period of time. It allows children to learn about their world through observation, play, exploration, and inquiry. Teachers support learning with storytelling, songs, and experiential, hands-on activities that develop a child's social, physical, emotional, and academic skills.
Our mixed group Transitional Kinder and Kindergarten classes begin at 8:30 am and end at 12:45 pm. Before Care is available at 7:30 and Aftercare is provided until 5:30. Our site is “Strawberry Fields” off Murray Road three days a week, and two days at one of our seasonal Nature Classrooms.
The 1st-3rd grade will spend their mornings engaging with the Center For Collaborative Classroom as an integrative language arts curriculum that includes reading, writing, and social skills, as well as a hands-on math curriculum. After lunch, students will participate in multi-age outdoor enrichment activities which include swimming, ArtSEL (art and social-emotional learning), science, and social studies. On Fridays, students will foster a deep nature connection by leaving campus and exploring the rivers, beaches, and forests in our community.
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.
Josh, Ali, Maya, and Sam are team teaching the 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade classes this year. We are excited to be working collaboratively to offer an amazing program for the students. Students will start their day with morning circle routines to establish a foundation of community and cooperation. Before lunch, Monday through Thursday, students will be rotating through their academic classes; Math is taught by Maya, English and Social Studies will be taught by Ali, and Science will be taught by Josh. Sam will bring Art into the mix in the afternoons.
For our communal lunchtime, first through sixth-grade students will be sorted into mixed-aged Houses. These Houses will provide opportunities for leadership, cross-age connections, and community responsibility. The afternoons will offer hands-on experiential lessons in art, gardening, cooking, swimming, nature skills, and health. Every Friday, 4th-6th graders will be walking to the Baduwa’t (Mad River) for outdoor enrichment.
7th and 8th graders attend from 9 to 3 at Hallen Drive Monday through Thursday, and 9 to 1 on Fridays at the Murray Road School site. This year we're excited to use the Stanford NGSS Integrated Curriculum for our 7th (Earth & Life Science and Engineering) and 8th (Physical Science and Engineering) grade science. We will continue to use our College Preparatory Mathematics Curriculum (CPM) and our Wit and Wisdom English Curriculum. The eighth graders will be doing a production of Much Ado About Nothing. Afternoon classes will include PE, Gaming Strategy, Intro to Coding and Robotics, and Engineering.
This year's high school classes run from 9 to 3:45 Monday through Thursday at Hallen Drive and 9 to 1 on Friday at the Murray Road school site. We use College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) and Living by Chemistry curriculums, both regularly have labs and collaborative work. We use the CSU Expository Reading and Writing curriculum in English and a teacher-developed A-G World History course with a focus on global migration and immigration. This year we will do a production of Hamlet with our older high school students. Spanish 1 includes a traditional textbook, as well as theater and Duolingo components. Our Spanish class and our World History class prepare our students for our end-of-year travel to Mexico. This trip earns students A-G Elective Credits and includes research, travel skills, and cultural studies as components. Afternoon classes will include Audio/Visual Production, Gaming Strategy, Engineering, Gardening, Independent Study PE, and General Work Experience Education. Older students also have the opportunity to be concurrently enrolled at the College of the Redwoods.