At PUC Elementary, we believe that school is not only an academic program, but a well-rounded educational experience that will lead to a life-long love of learning. We accomplish this by encouraging intellectual curiosity in a variety of forms, from traditional academics to art and music--all in the context of small class sizes and focused, personal attention from our teachers.
Classes also integrate faith as a core part of the curriculum. As a Seventh-day Adventist school, PUCE focuses on inviting students to choose Christianity as a way of life. The day begins with a brief morning worship. Bible classes are taught daily and reflect Seventh-day Adventist beliefs. A week of spiritual emphasis, featuring special speakers, is held once each semester. Students are also mentored in character development and ethical discernment in hopes that they will grow to be compassionate, wise, and contributing citizens of society.
As a result of our deep commitment, students at PUC Elementary consistently achieve more than a year's worth of academic growth in all key areas measured on nationally standardized tests.
Kindergarten offers a gentle transition into elementary school by making learning as a fun adventure. In this first year, art is primary medium of expression and literature-based, thematic instruction builds a love of learning. And the systematic preparation for reading, writing, and math is skillfully woven into the curriculum through creative, hands-on activities.
This philosophy of "learning as a fun adventure" is reflected in the classroom's environment. The walls are lined with student art, there are cozy corners with overstuffed couches and soft rugs where students can read, and even a two-story playhouse, complete with a slide.
Reading takes center stage in first grade, as students go deeper into the study of phonics. Students begin to read regularly in class, pairing up with reading buddies from the upper grades, and they are also encouraged to read at home with their families. Spelling becomes a regular part of the weekly assignment.
For math, the curriculum takes on a hands-on approach, using a variety of tools to cement core concepts. Students aim to master basic addition and subtraction by the end of the year.
As for the fun side of class, there are plenty of field trips to the library, plays, and farms. And at the end of the year, it is tradition for the first grade students to star in a production featuring stories from Laura Ingalls' "Little House on the Prairie" book series.
In first grade, we also begin to offer sensitive and skilled interventions for students with learning differences.
Second grade continues to build on a solid phonics base, established in first grade for strong spelling and reading skills. As students graduate to more complex reading material, the curriculum actively engages the readers in thoughtful reflection about literature.
In math, students focus on building addition and subtraction skills, along with proficiency in solving word problems.
As far as technology, third graders begin using Typing Pal, along with iPads for reading and math games in class.
The world of knowledge and information open up as students use their reading skills to learn about the world. Reading and writing expectations are upgraded with the addition of weekly book reports along with their reading logs. Students are taught how to research, write, and then creatively implement their findings in a final history project that is the highlight of the year.
In math, the curriculum focuses on basic multiplication and mastering the word problem.
Students are also taught how to work together in group projects in an effort to teach collaboration, trust, and respect.
History comes alive in the fourth grade as students dive into lessons about geography, U.S. states, and more. Reading and writing expectations increase in their challenge as students explore nine themes throughout the year in the Pathways Language Arts curriculum. Students are taught how to research, write, and then creatively implement their findings in a final history project that is the highlight of the year.
In math, the curriculum focuses on mastering multiplication and division and applying it to everyday life situations.
Students work together on group projects to learn collaboration, trust, and respect.
Along with continued progress in the basic academic arenas--such as reading and math--fifth grade dives deeper into science. During the year, students study animal and plant cells, animal classification, and also the human reproductive system.
In the spring, students take a three-day trip to Albion Field Station, located in Mendocino county. While there, the class will investigate the rich and diverse natural history of the Northern California coastal environment.
In social studies, students will focus on U.S. history, from Native Americans to World War II.
In fifth grade, students are taught to think, not just repeat facts, as they develop an enduring love of learning and inquiry.
In sixth grade, students hone their skills in writing and public presentation by learning how to critically analyze literature and participate in class discussions. Students are expected to actively own and defend their perspectives on a range of subjects, while respecting and valuing the input of others.
Lessons are also presented in a variety of formats to ensure active learning for many different styles of learners—including through technology, project-based learning, classroom presentations, and music.
The goal is to encourage character growth, instill a love for learning, and to build classroom community.
Outdoor education kicks it up a notch in seventh grade. Students can expect to combine learning with adventure by going on trips that involve caving, hiking, mountain climbing, and boating.
Beyond the outdoor learning and standard academic curriculum, students in seventh grade strengthen their self-management skills and organizational abilities. There is a strong emphasis in taking responsibility for their own learning and in meeting deadlines in a timely fashion. By the time the students complete seventh grade, the goal is to have graduated a more mature and responsible teenager.
In the final year at PUC Elementary, the goal is to prepare students for entry into high school. There is a strong emphasis on writing across the curriculum, and the math program allows for acceleration into algebra; students are prepared for honors math in secondary school. Students become skilled users of technology tools, as they use laptop computers daily.
Outdoor education continues in eight grade with a four-day trip to Leoni Meadows Retreat Center, where the class focuses creative writing, art, poetry, drama, and research of great environmental leaders.