Curriculum

The PCS curriculum is designed according to the individual needs of your child. Carefully chosen and evaluated by deans, teachers, and specialists, the tailored curriculum supports their educational, emotional and social growth.  Your child will continually develop the skills and strategies to adapt to a more traditional school setting after leaving Park Century. 

Alongside the California state guidelines, we also make every effort to integrate the latest special educational research results into school programs. We always attract and retain a dedicated and highly qualified faculty who strive to continue their professional development.

Areas of Study

Math


Park Century's math program teaches students through hands-on experimental learning. Students manipulate physical objects when counting, sorting, and graphing before they are exposed to pictorial representations and mathematical symbols. As their math skills mature, they focus on developing number sense, critical-thinking, and problem-solving strategies. Students attain a foundational knowledge of numeracy, geometry, operations, and some algebraic skills.




Reading


The reading program at Park Century School is a dynamic process facilitated by experienced teachers who know how to adapt and adjust the program for individual students based on research, education, and informal observations. Instruction is based on a student’s strengths, weaknesses, and an understanding of their learning styles. This is especially important when teaching students with learning differences. Park Century's reading specialists do not use any one program because a particular method does not work for all students, may only work for a given time span, or may work better in conjunction with another approach. Our specialists have been trained in a variety of approaches and programs so that they can continually adapt and adjust a student’s instruction as needed. Our learning model is flexible. Students have the opportunity to work individually, in a pair, or in a small group according to their individual learning needs and abilities. The reading program contains many components, including decoding, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, written expression, and literature analysis. Throughout the program, reading specialists collaborate with other faculty members, including the classroom teachers and speech and language therapists. Students may access grade level, above grade level, or below grade level titles. However, other titles are used depending on the needs, interests, and ability level of each student. In addition to the books on our recommended book list, specialists consult with our school librarian to make appropriate book choices and to offer material that goes along with topics the students are studying in the classroom.




Writing


Philosophy and Writing Approach Park Century’s writing program aims to teach students the process of writing, beginning with sentence structure and ending with multiple paragraph essays. The main components of our writing program are journal assignments, Writer’s Workshop, and content-based writing. Each year, students are assessed individually and receive targeted writing instruction based on their strengths and areas of need. 2nd Grade Writing Curriculum With teacher guidance and support, students write informational, narrative, and opinion sentences. They must use correct punctuation in the formation of simple sentences. 3rd/4th Grade Writing Curriculum With guidance and support from teachers, students write informational, narrative, and opinion paragraphs. Students learn to use correct punctuation in the formation of simple sentences. The eventual goal is a multiple-paragraph essay and independent writing. 5th/6th Grade Writing Curriculum Independently, or with minimal guidance, students express and support ideas through well-organized, detailed paragraphs using simple and complex sentences. Students also write narrative texts and research-based persuasive and informational text. They continue to develop the writing process skills needed to improve the quality of their writing, including prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. 7th/8th Grade Writing Curriculum Independently, or with minimal guidance, students produce clear and coherent writing in a variety of styles and formats, including narrative, analytical, persuasive, expository, compare/contrast, research papers, and letter writing.




Social Studies


Park Century School uses a student-centered approach to teach our Social Studies curriculum. Teachers support the ongoing development of study skills and critical thinking while students participate in hands-on, experiential, and research-oriented activities including research projects, active listening, and oral presentations. Our curriculum is aimed to develop students into informed, creative thinkers in our ever-growing society.




Science


The science program at Park Century School is a comprehensive program for all students that covers a variety of interesting topics including life science, chemistry, physical science, and earth and space science. In addition to exploring the fascinating body of human scientific knowledge, students are also given the opportunity to learn like a scientist by testing hypotheses, gathering evidence, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Classes rotate through a variety of topics each year, ensuring that students gain a firm grasp of science by 8th grade. Each Park Century student is prepared for a high school science program, armed with a real love of the scientific process and an understanding of the discipline needed for proper lab procedures. Goals of the Science Program

  • A broad exposure to many interesting science topics
  • Lab safety and proper lab procedures
  • An emotional response to science (Yuck! Wow! Awesome!)
  • Using the scientific method to answer questions
  • An emphasis on technology and coding
  • Relating classroom topics to current events
  • Lifelong skills including inquiry, careful analysis and research
  • Becoming familiar with the engineering design process
  • Respect for science
Our science lab represents our commitment to leading edge education and technology. An evolving and flexible learning environment, it includes a Smart Wall, combining digital interactivity and a beautiful, crisp display, as well as an oversized dry erase surface for big ideas and collaboration. The lab also acts as a makerspace, where hands-on learning with real materials builds problem-solving skills and a kinesthetic experience that compliments the latest technology resources and virtual demonstrations.




Speech and Language


The Speech and Language Program at Park Century School helps students develop a strong language foundation, which is mandatory to successfully access school curriculum and experience positive social relationships. Some of the services provided address (but are not limited to):

  • Auditory processing
  • Auditory memory and recall
  • Following oral/written directions
  • Language processing
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Written expression
  • Higher order language competence
    • Inferences
    • Figurative Languages
    • Humor
    • Reasoning
  • Social Pragmatics and Social Thinking ®
  • Executive functioning
  • Articulation
  • Fluency
The following examples are possible indicators of a speech and/or language impairment:
  • Difficulty retrieving and recalling information
  • Difficulty understanding spoken and written language
  • Difficulty with expressive language during confrontational language tasks
  • Misinterpreting and/or missing nuances and inferences
  • Arduous problem solving
  • Word finding difficulties
  • Limited verbal vocabulary and expression
  • Concrete interpretation of multi-meaning words and figurative language
  • Poor abstract reasoning skills
  • Limited and imprecise written language
  • Understanding spoken information
  • Phonological processing
  • Unintelligible speech production (articulation)
  • Dysfluent speech patterns
In addition to providing speech and language intervention to the students at Park Century School, each therapist maintains state licensure by pursuing various continuing education workshops and/or conferences to remain current and informed in the field of speech and language pathology.




The Arts


Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) is a choice-based approach to art education that enables students to develop artistic habits through authentic learning experiences and responsive teaching. Choice-based art education regards students as artists and offers them real choices for responding to their own ideas and interests through the making of art. The PCS art program is heavily influenced by the TAB approach because the model supports multiple modes of learning and assessment for the diverse needs of students. The Studio Habits of Artists
A choice-based art education focuses on process over product to make space for experimentation, innovation, and the development of a true appreciation for art making. While students are engaged in choice-based art making, they are simultaneously learning how to adopt the “Eight Studio Habits of Artists”, or the dispositions that students must practice to develop an artistic mind: Develop Craft, Engage & Persist, Envision, Express, Observe, Reflect, Stretch & Explore, and Understanding Art Worlds.




Music


Park Century students enhance their musical education using fundamentals based on the Orff Schulwerk method. This method of teaching integrates music, movement, speech, and drama in an effort to build musicianship in every style of learner. It proves to be an accessible way to learn music without the frustration of the classical pedagogy by allowing children to begin with what they do instinctively - play! Through imitation, experimentation, and personal expression, each student explores music at their pace and builds confidence by learning rhythms and melodies from around the globe. Every spring, our students perform pieces they've worked on throughout the year during Grandparents and Special Friends Day. This performance allows students to showcase their progress and gives them an opportunity to share their love of music with our community. Our music classes create a culture at Park Century where students are excited to become life-long musicians and encourage each other to share their musical ideas and talents.




Physical Education


Park Century's physical education program emphasizes sportsmanship, teamwork, cooperation, and respect. Our daily program provides a dynamic and encouraging environment that incorporates different elements of age-appropriate physical activity and instruction to help develop each student’s commitment to life-long health and willingness to push beyond their own expectations. All students, regardless of their athletic skills, benefit from the wide array of activities offered in class and the various opportunities to participate. The gym is considered an extension of the classroom where students are encouraged to persevere, develop resilience, and support one another’s efforts. Students are grouped based on age, grade, social development, and skill level. Rather than being competitive, Park Century School's PE program focuses on fostering each student's self-confidence through improving their coordination, developing their spatial awareness, and promoting an understanding of rules and strategies. Most importantly, our students participate in sports activities with their peers in a safe, consistent, and supportive atmosphere. Lower School Program (Grades 2-5) Lower School students focus on the acquisition of skills and the ongoing practice of those skills necessary for successful participation in both neighborhood play situations and team sports. Improving gross and fine motor skills, strength and conditioning, and spatial awareness are important parts of our program at this level. In addition, our program develops fundamental skills such as (but not limited to) catching, throwing, running, stretching, and following directions in a variety of activities. Students are also provided direct instruction on how to participate more effectively in such sports as baseball, football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. At the beginning of the year, a good deal of time is devoted to reviewing and learning the skills needed to play cooperatively without feeling intimidated by the physical interactions that occur in group sports. Students learn to apply their skills incrementally while improving their sportsmanship, team cooperation, and level of understanding of these specific sports’ rules. Upper School Program (Grades 6-8) The Upper School P.E. program builds upon the Lower School curriculum with even more emphasis on the importance of cooperative team participation and sportsmanship. Upper School students focus on age-appropriate skill acquisition, concepts, rules, and strategies. They then practice incorporating their knowledge via drills, cooperative activities, creative games, and scrimmages that lead up to game play. Throughout the week, different running activities are integrated into each student's daily warm-up as part of their overall cardiovascular conditioning. Time is also spent teaching students how to win and lose while demonstrating integrity, empathy, and maturity.




Library


The Park Century School Library is the heart of our school - a space to spark inspiration, curiosity, and creativity in our students. Through the availability of resources, the library fosters a love of reading and learning with a diverse selection of books and information. Our library encourages curiosity by teaching research skills, illustrating how to evaluate sources and content, and providing high quality resources and publications. The library also supports students during the creation process by guiding them through the intricacies of digital citizenship, copyright issues, and proper citation in order to ground their creative processes in proper practices, allowing their work to shine. The PCS library houses approximately 5,000 unique titles of elementary, middle grade, and young adult reading materials, with books and electronic resources for early emergent readers and the highly fluent. The collection, roughly half fiction and half nonfiction, serves our diverse student population well, with an emphasis on print-based literature and nonfiction written in formats and language suiting a broad realm of reading levels and interests. We continue to develop a collection representative of our community with books covering multiple subject areas and plenty of fun free-reading choices. Our March Book Fair helps add more books to the library, the classrooms, and the specialists' rooms to enhance our students’ learning environment. Library Curriculum In library classes, students share fun, informative, engaging books that encourage them to enjoy literature and become enthusiastic lifelong readers. To ensure that students are effective users and creators, the library classroom empowers them to be critical thinkers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information. In the fall, all classes review general library skills such as library rules, how to find appropriate books, and how to care for books. Students also cover the different genres of children's literature. For students in grades 6-8, classes complete more in-depth lessons on the Dewey Decimal System, research, and digital citizenship skills. Throughout the year, the library continues to support classroom curriculum by collaborating with teachers on country projects, research on various historical times, or biographical information. Our library classroom also guides the use of technology to help reinforce information, utilizing websites such as Kahoots, Epic, ParaPara, MakeComics, and StoryTimefromSpace. Notable library projects include making graphic novels based on literary genres, sharing presentations or plays adapted from books during the all-school Monday Morning Assembly, and sharing student poetry. The library program incorporates Council and Mindfulness into discussions of books or information shared during library time. Our librarian also integrates literature from diverse cultures, selecting books from Hispanic/Latino, African American, women, American Indian, Asian, and Jewish writers. Library classes traverse literature through worlds of artists, writers, poets, scientists, innovators, space travelers, and other fantastical voyagers who have made impressions like pathways throughout our imaginations.




Technology


Park Century’s technology program fosters the practice of embracing digital media in both academic and extracurricular pursuits. The correct application of technology in education increases student motivation and language acquisition while enhancing learning by opening up students to a wide range of visual and auditory experiences. All students have devices, such as Chromebooks, integrated into their curriculum in order to promote independence, advocacy, and strong work ethic. Technology is encouraged and supported by the faculty as a medium for expression, reflection, and research in all aspects of Park Century life. Our technology program also allows our educators to approach lessons with multiple modalities and provide authenticity to what is studied in the classroom.

  • The main focus of the Technology Program hones student skills in:
  • Flexibility and adaptability in order to keep pace with the constantly changing technological landscape.
  • Combining multiple programs for school use and maximizing efficacy in projects and assignments.
  • Evaluating to determine which technologies best suit learning style and academics.
  • Teamwork and cooperation in using technology together to assist each other in achieving an outcome.
Lower School Technology Program Lower school students are introduced to technology with keyboarding and simple programs that add value to their projects and teach them about using Cloud-based technologies to create documents, presentations, and interactive works. Under teacher guidance, students collaborate and develop teamwork skills to complement their technology skills. Upper School Technology Program Students have become capable and tech savvy, harnessing a variety of technologies for use in daily life, and they advance to seamlessly integrate multiple apps and programs for maximum academic effect. More immersive collaboration and teamwork takes place to involve creation of media that enhances individual creativity and articulation of ideas.





 

Park Century School does not discriminate in its admissions policies on the basis of race, sex, color, creed or national origin.

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