Service to Others:
The foundation of our curriculum is the development of the self — the intellectual, social, moral and physical capacities — in service to others. It is the essential recognition that a well-developed intellect is not enough if the heart and social faculties are not cultivated as well.
Our curriculum produces independent, critical thinkers who are imbued with the virtues and social graces espoused by the classical development of humans, preparing them to be successful in any endeavor while making a positive impact on our society.
Students in the high school grades of 11th-12th are encouraged to take college courses at their local junior college of choice. Students are assisted at school during study time.
Utilizing an interdisciplinary, project-based approach, we offer the following academic program:
Language Arts and Social Sciences
Primary Grades (TK – 3rd Grade) – Teacher-guided, child-centered process of learning the rudimentary skills (phonics, reading comprehension, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary) required to read and write. We integrate classical literature with project-based activities in learning centers including the arts, music and movement. This year the curriculum will be based on the Caldecott books.
Middle and Secondary Grades (4th – 12th Grade) – We continue to hone the skill sets of vocabulary, spelling, reading comprehension and grammar while supporting the development of the higher order cognitive skills including: understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing, and creating.
In the classroom: Students are learning to actively build and sustain communities within their classes based on historical modes of decision-making from tribal systems to more modern democracies. Readings of classical literature and study of philosophy from around the world help to stimulate critical thinking and discourse.
History is brought to life through collaborative narratives, construction of historical dwellings such as Native American longhouses and tipis as well as European-style colonial homes, and authentic re-enactments on school grounds. Students are able to pull from personal experience through ancestral research, documentation of their dreams through dream journals which connects with the ancient practice of developing the self, the oral storytelling tradition, and more modern forms of writing composition. The culmination of these practices is fully realized through our service-learning projects which include weekly volunteering at the local food bank and visits with community elders at an assisted living facility located directly across the campus.
Math and Science
In the classroom: Math concepts are learned and practiced using materials that stimulate interest and inspire perseverance. Projects are student-created and directed (while being facilitated by the teacher) to best apply the acquired skills to real-world situations and challenges.
Primary Grades (TK – 3rd Grade) – Students work at their developmental level through learning centers and the use of manipulatives to acquire the required basic math skills. Science at this level includes hands-on observation and simple experimentation in the course of daily outdoor activities.
Middle and Secondary Grades (4th – 12th Grade) – Incoming students are assessed in their math skills and placed in the appropriate level. The math curriculum is adapted to the learning style and interest of the student, which includes project based group work along with critical development of mathematical skills. The science curriculum is project-based and developed in conjunction with the interests and abilities of the students. This year the focus will be environmental science.
Our foreign languages are Latin and Spanish. Immersion, as well as creative projects is the pedagogical approach.
The Arts: Studies show that accelerated students are successful in any environment, while struggling students flourish in an arts centered curriculum. At Almondale Academy, we have accelerated students who advance beyond grade level, grade level students, and students who require more support. All the students love the arts at our school. The following courses are offered: Drama, instrumental music, voice, and drawing/painting. Crafts are also taught in our Home Economics course. Also taught is nutritional cooking, finances, and cultivating the garden.
Our Almondale campus garden is the center for several integrated projects including: science in the study of plants – cells, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, art in the drawing, coloring, labeling, and examining of plants in our science lab area. For our ecology unit, students will be establishing a compost pile, learning about soil quality, including bacteria and microbes. Bio-regionally, students will conduct expeditionary treks to local creek beds to study the effects of the weather on the Sacramento watershed while working together to conduct environmental impact studies. We will be using the food produced by the garden for nutritional studies in human biology which also includes learning to cook nutritional dishes. Our service-learning component includes providing produce from our garden for the local food bank.
Service Learning: The above outreach activities is part of service learning as well as learning about and practicing communication skills.