Carden School of Fresno’s elementary curriculum is based on core elements of the Carden Method®. All curriculum areas are sequential and integrated across the grade levels. The curriculum is comprehensive and challenging in order to prepare the student for the upcoming middle school and higher education. The goal is always to teach children to think on their own and develop judgment. In an effort to encourage and foster self-discipline, children are held accountable for their school work. Parents are encouraged to let children do their own assignments in order to give the teachers a chance to identify a potential area that might need additional attention. Our small class sizes allow that type of individualized attention to every child in the classroom.
At Carden School of Fresno, we offer a rigorous academic program which includes language arts (spelling, literature, grammar, creative writing, penmanship), science, mathematics, computer science, social studies (history and geography), and foreign languages (French in all grade levels, Latin in grades 6th through 8th). Cursive handwriting is introduced in the 1st grade, and children are expected to write exclusively in cursive by the second half of 3rd grade.
Critical thinking is at work while examining classical literature at Carden School of Fresno. Often with this material the definition of morals and ethics is discussed and debated.
Math begins in Jr. Kindergarten and its concepts and skills are sequentially developed year after year. Math concepts are introduced, and then small and large groups are created to further discuss and experiment with the subject in order to grasp math concepts better. Our traditional math program consists of the basic facts along with word problems. Starting in fifth grade, Singapore Math is introduced. The system is modeled on Math teaching in Singapore, which consistently ranks high in international Math comparisons.
Science ranks very high on the “most enjoyable” learning hours at Carden School of Fresno. Whether they are observing the development of a butterfly from its cocoon or dissecting a goat’s brain, children love science because it involves many hands-on investigations. Complex scientific concepts are taught as children observe and identify the elements.
Lessons are focused very much on the immediate surroundings of our children, the San Joaquin Valley. Several field trips are based on the history lessons learned in the upper elementary grades. Students learn about our California’s history as well as the United States as a whole. They are introduced to the Constitution, though further in-depth studies come along in the Middle School.
Geography lessons are focused mostly on California in the lower grades and by 4th grade, they incorporate major rivers, lakes and mountains within the United States. By the end of 5th grade, children are expected to recreate the map of the United States and its 50 capitals strictly by memory.
French is the main foreign language that is taught beginning in Jr. Kindergarten and continuing through 8th grade at the Carden School of Fresno. Mae Carden felt strongly about incorporating French into the curriculum because of its direct impact on the English language. Both French language and grammar are taught in a structure that is similar to English. As students progress, they learn verb conjugations and sentence structure. In the past two years, after-school enrichment in both Spanish and Mandarin have been added. These classes meet for one hour weekly for a total of 10 weeks after school. The courses are offered twice a year.
Music and Art
Music and Art are an integral part of the program. In these subjects the children experience the freedom to express beauty and individuality. In the music class, students develop an interest and appreciation for different styles of music. Students learn to read and play music on various instruments. Art classes build confidence and capability for expression. Weekly art appreciation classes help students identify, enjoy, and formulate opinions about beautiful works of art.
Computer and Technology Lab
The computer lab at Carden School of Fresno consists of 20 Google Chrome computers. Students are taught coding techniques, typing skills, and an overall understanding of technology. Students solve problems and develop abilities which they will use throughout the rest of their education.
Physical Education and Sports
The Carden School of Fresno’s mission for its physical education classes is a combination of both the principles that Mae Carden set forth for the children as well as the compliance of the current State Standards for Physical Education. The students participate in a variety of physical activities, including traditional and nontraditional games that promote communication, collaboration, cooperation and creativity. Carden students gain knowledge and create strategies that will support their Health Related Physical Fitness (HRPF). Students at Carden School of Fresno have shown dramatic improvement in their HRPF since the creation of the program which has an emphasis on fitness, sport and sportsmanship. The goal is to provide the students with experiences that they will retain throughout their lives as healthy, productive, and contributing members of society.
Public Speaking is an area highly encouraged and frequently practiced at Carden School of Fresno. Initially students start with memorizing and reciting poems at the younger grades. A select group also participates in the Fresno State Peach Blossom event every March. Additionally, twice a year the children perform in front of an audience – once in the winter and again in the spring. These two events give children an opportunity to sing, act and dance as a group, which in turn helps develop poise and builds self-confidence.