Programs at Pacific School
We have a very unique lunch program in which students in grades 5 and 6 plan and prepare student lunches on a daily basis. Produce from our Life Lab's garden (see below) is incorporated into these meals, so that the children are actively involved in their meal program - planning, planting, harvesting, cooking, and eating!
Life Lab Program:
Pacific School began Project Life Lab in 1983, and was endorsed by the National Science Foundation. It integrates nutrition and natural science lessons with gardening activities -- and the children love the garden, so they work very hard to make it successful!
Instrumental Music Program:
The 4th through 6th grade students have the opportunity to study marimba, cello, viola or violin. Wednesdays are given over to the study of music, with groups leaving class to study with our talented music teachers and orchestra in the afternoon. Two concerts and several fun recitals are given for parents and peers each year.
Orchestra is after school on Wednesdays from 12:45 - 1:30 p.m.
The Library and Reading Buddies:
Pacific School has an extensive and updated library, thanks to a generous 5-year grant in 2007. There is a librarian on hand one day a week, and the library is in the heart of the school where people pass through and access is easy for most classrooms. The library houses the computer lab, where students take Media Literacy classes and use the computers for research and other class needs.
The library works hand in hand with such programs as the Reading Buddy program, where higher grades visit lower grades every week so that each student can read with his or her buddy, or the Birthday Book program, where children can donate a copy of a favorite book on their birthday. A special plate is put in the front of the book commemorating the birthday and naming the donor.
Environmental Living History Program:
The upper grade children participate in an Environmental Living History Program ("ELP") every May, administered by the National Park Service and the State Park Service. The overnight programs offer the children the unique opportunity to "turn back the clock" and relive history at historic sites. Classroom preparation and follow-up are major parts of the program: the children learn things such as how to make soap, how to make jam, and how to use pioneer style tools. The children have participated asMiwok Indians at Tomales Bay and as pioneers at Wawona in Yosemite during alternate years, and they respond with enormous enthusiasm by actively investigating history, culture, and the environment.
On "even" years, each student works on a project in which the student not only learns about the scientific method, documenting facts, and graphing and plotting information, but also has the chance to explore some area which they have always been curious about. The students individually conceive and design a science project which expresses some interest of theirs; the experiment is carried out and a presentation is created to show the process, including the hypothesis, the data collection, and the conclusion that the student reached based on that data. A morning is set aside for the students to present their projects, and parents and others are invited to come and view the collected works during that day.
On "odd" years, the school puts on a play. In 2008-9, students performed in a lavish production of The Lion King, with beautiful costumes and sets created by both students and volunteers, who put in many hours work to make it happen. In the 2010-11 school year, we are producing The Wizard of Oz. We are preparing a version of A Midsummer Night's Dream for the 2012-13 school year that will be performed in March, 2013
Technology and Media Literacy:
The computer lab is in the library and is at the center of school activity. We work primarily in Macintosh computers. Students in grades 3-6 attend one computer class a week with computer instructors who have experience in the field.
Students are taught computer basics, such as word processing, saving, using the network, and opening/editing files. As they progress through the program, students learn more advanced skills which take them beyond word processing. By exploring graphics programs, animation, and photography/video, the students move beyond a vision of computers which uses them only for work or gameplaying, and learn to understand the computer as a creative tool. Our aim is to develop their abilities so that they are able to understand how all aspects of the computer works, so that whatever they are confronted with in the future, they will be able to jump right in and accomplish what they need.
The Gifted and Talented Education Program, or GATE, is aimed at providing enrichment for those students who need stimulation above and beyond the regular classroom. Parents may ask to have their child assessed for entrance into the program.
English Language Development:
The English Language Development program, or ELD, provides special services to those children who have English as a second language and who need extra support to become proficient in English.
Resource Specialist Program:
Our Resource Specialist Program, or RSP, is a special education program which provides assistance for children whose learning disabilities require additional help with reading, language arts and math. Children must be referred to the program by a Student Study Team (see RSP page).
Speech and Language Program:
Pacific School has the services of a speech and language therapist one and a half days per week. Children must be referred to the program by a Student Study Team.