The course of study involves an inquiry-based process of learning and is concerned with the development of the whole child and the preservation of each student's unique strengths and interests. 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.
Elementary classes have an average 12:1 student-teacher ratio. 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 progression of skills. 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.
STUDENT LEADERSHIP Development
Leadership is the umbrella term to encompass the many character traits and basic life competencies that parents, business leaders, and educators are voicing as the desired skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century (below). Every student has a Leadership Notebook that is used to track goals, leadership experience and successes with the 7 Habits (adapted from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Students learn to take responsibility for their choices and behaviors. They are in charge of how they react to people or situations and choosing their actions, attitude and moods. Emphasis is on taking care of ourselves and our things, reacting or not reacting to others’ behavior, planning ahead, and thinking about what is the right thing to do.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Students learn to think about how they would like something to turn out before they get started. Emphasis is on starting with the end in mind; planning ahead, setting goals, doing things that have meaning, and looking for ways to be a good citizen. One way this habit is taught, modeled and practiced is through the development and application of individual mission statements. Each year, every family, student, teacher and classroom will craft their own mission statements. These are prominently displayed and kept in students’ leadership notebooks and are frequently referenced.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Students learn to decide what is most important and to take care of that first. Thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow or by the end of the week can be overwhelming, especially for children. Emphasis is on learning to think about which things are the most important and taking care of them first, setting priorities, being organized, and making/following plans.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Students learn to think win-win, which is the belief that everyone can win. It’s not me or you—it is both of us. Emphasis is on developing a belief that there are enough good things for everyone, being happy for others when good things happen to them and finding win-win solutions to problems or conflicts.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Students learn that it is better to listen first and talk second. Emphasis is on learning to think from other people’s perspective, listening to other people’s ideas and feelings, listening to others without interrupting, and listening with our ears, eyes and heart.
Habit 6: Synergize
Students learn to work together to create a better solution that either would have thought of alone. Emphasis is on valuing other people’s strengths and learning from them, getting along well with others, working well in groups, and authentically seeking out other people’s ideas.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Students learn to have balance of the body, brain, heart and soul. Emphasis is on eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep (body), learning in lots of ways and lots of places (brain), spending time with family and friends (heart), and taking time to find meaningful ways to help people (soul).
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.