Curriculum & Approach

The teachers do outstanding work educating children. The teachers also set them up for success outside the classroom with organization, confidence, and critical thinking skills.

                                                            - Westside Parent

Critical Thinking. Communication. Collaboration. Creativity. Character.

Our Rich Curriculum

Westside School's curriculum is integrated, which means that one topic of study (social studies or science) may include reading, writing, spelling, art, public speaking, research skills, and math. The curriculum fosters critical thinking skills and encourages the expression of opinions both verbally and in writing. There is class time devoted to specific subject matter -- math, science, humanities -- but the material comes to life and has more meaning when it is applied across a project.

It is also experiential -- learning-by-doing in concrete, meaningful situations. There is a balance between individual work time and cooperative learning, which is accomplished through non-competitive learning in small groups.

Inquiry-Based Learning

In the inquiry-based classroom, students formulate a problem or question, collect information to address the issue, makes sense of the information, and develops understanding and point of view about, or 'answer,' to the question. The students select the best way to communicate their findings and share with real-world audiences. Evaluation is on both process and product, and they evaluate themselves, their peers, and their resources.

World Languages

Teaching languages at an early age helps children improve their higher thinking skills, and learning about other cultures helps children learn responsible citizenship. They develop insight into the nature of language and culture so that they can participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world.

Westside School follows the national standards documented for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century. Our foreign language curriculum follows the Five C’s of Foreign Language Learning: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.

Mandarin & Spanish

Both Mandarin and Spanish are taught in kindergarten through 4th grade. Students learn to understand the culture, to write and understand what they mean, and to speak the language. They sing songs, read simple stories, play games and more.

In Middle School, students decide which language they want to concentrate in.

Music

Music education is essential to the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the whole child, and develops confidence, cooperation, and coordination in our students. Students learn about beat, rhythm, pitch, melody, harmony, dynamics, and form. They do before they label. By the time they learn the name of a musical concept, they will have already experienced it.

At all grade levels, students sing a varied repertoire of music and play a variety of rhythm instruments. As students grow in their understanding of music, they begin to improvise melodies, variations, and accompaniments, and compose and arrange music within specified guidelines. The curriculum develops and reinforces a love and appreciation of music in every student. Our music curriculum is derived from the national standards drawn up in 1994 by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations.

Art

Art is developed around the six formal components of design: color, line, form, shape, texture and space. Students explore these concepts using many different kinds of materials and techniques through a variety of projects and experiences.

Beyond acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to create, perform and respond to visual art, students explore the artistic achievements of cultures, past and present. The art curriculum is often integrated with other school subjects such as science, social science

Physical Education

At Westside, we strongly believe in the benefits of physical education. In PE, students acquire the knowledge and skills to maintain an active, physically fit life. They learn the components of cardiovascular fitness, balance, flexibility, and muscular strength. Safety and awareness of self-space are highlighted in a nurturing classroom environment where students have the opportunity to challenge themselves, express their creativity, and feel success at play.

Students learn to recognize and identify attributes of good nutrition, healthy habits, and regular activity for lifelong health. They incorporate creative thinking and problem solving skills in a variety of cooperative games.