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Elementary Overview

Our sequential and cross-disciplinary elementary curriculum builds upon the fundamentals that students learn during their preschool years. In our Elementary program, we integrate critical thinking and collaborative projects so that students discover the value of both independent thinking and working together.

Reading and Literature

The foundations of the program are phonemic awareness, word attack skills, mental imagery for comprehension, vocabulary development, and rhythm and expression. Grade-appropriate classical literature selections express the beauty and imagery of language and offer opportunities for critical thinking, judgment, and evaluation. Students actively participate in daily oral reading enhanced by small group instruction.

Language Arts

Students will work to develop a mastery of the skills needed for reading and comprehending, vocabulary acquisition, grammar usage, accurate spelling, coherent writing, and proficient speaking. Our spelling curriculum combines phonics with logical spelling rules. Students are able to understand and implement increasingly complex features of language arts as it is applied throughout the daily curriculum.


Our advanced mathematics program is designed to build a strong foundation and deep understanding of mathematical concepts. We have thoughtfully combined our teaching techniques with the Sadlier-Oxford Mathematics curriculum, ensuring adherence to current national standards. The goal is to develop, practice, assess, and master concepts incrementally. Carden teachers skillfully address the uniqueness of each child and ensure mathematical success on an individual level.


At Carden, science is experiential. Our curriculum encompasses units in life science, earth science, physical science, and space and technology. Hands-on investigation and experimentation following the Scientific Method, reading and interpreting the text, lectures coupled with class discussion, and field trips are integral parts of the science curriculum.
Our multi-leveled approach allows students to acquire knowledge essential for critical thinking and a deep understanding of complex scientific processes. As a result, our students receive honors and advanced placement in the high schools they choose to attend.

History, Social Studies and Geography

The Carden Academy social studies program provides rich, relevant, age-appropriate content to students in all grades. Students explore historical figures to get a better understanding of our past from diverse perspectives. Teachers integrate literature, geography, and interactive activities into their lessons to bring the learning to life and to connect the past to the present. We use myWorld Interactive by Savvas, a cutting-edge program that explores history and social issues through a global lens.

Foreign Language

The foreign language program at Carden exemplifies our commitment to well-rounded individuals. We live in a world where commerce and communication is global and exposure to language helps students become true citizens of the world.

One of our key goals is to teach children how to communicate their ideas fluently and accurately, both in writing and speech. Foreign language education provides a broader perspective of the world. That is why we teach the three most commonly spoken languages in the world: French, Spanish, and Mandarin.

Beginning in kindergarten, Carden students are offered the opportunity to learn French. This language was chosen because of the many words in the English language that are of French origin. Students learn French grammar, vocabulary, conversation, and culture through a variety of experiences.

Our Spanish program focuses on developing listening comprehension skills, vocabulary, and correct pronunciation. Children are also introduced to Spanish speaking countries and develop an appreciation for Hispanic cultures. Usage of grammar and verb conjugations, with the correct use of different tenses, is layered as the students advance through the grades.

In addition to French and Spanish, Carden Academy is proud to offer a course of study in Mandarin. Students learn the Simplified Characters and Pinyin. Traditional characters and Bo-Po-Mo-Fo are offered according to the needs of individual children. The curriculum includes daily conversation, vocabulary, reading and writing, and an understanding of intercultural and global awareness.


Computer literacy is emphasized through mastery of the various components of software and programs available. Students learn computer terminology, correct keyboarding, use of Microsoft Office and as well as other software, programming, robotics, and internet safety.

1-to-1 iPad Program
Each student receives their own iPad to engage with class content interactively and collaboratively. Classroom teachers have access to a wide variety of learning apps to supplement classroom learning. They can further individualize for students with different styles of learning and understanding. For this age group, iPad use is limited to the classroom.


Lessons from our dedicated art instructor include exploration of a wide range of media and techniques. Students are introduced to art appreciation and art history through discussion and examination of great artists and their works.


Students are exposed to a variety of songs and music genres during the weekly music class. Music appreciation, instruments, and composers are also studied at an age-appropriate level.

Physical Education

Each class meets daily for P.E to develop age-appropriate physical skills. Planned activities will enhance their loco-motor, manipulative, strength, endurance, movement, and rhythmic needs. They learn the fundamentals of game play, sports, teamwork, and good sportsmanship.

Field Trips

We recognize that some of the most important learning happens outside of the classroom. Our robust field trip program allows students to take full advantage of the rich resources in the Bay Area, California, and beyond.

  • Kindergarten: Hidden Villa in Los Altos, Planetarium, Santa Clara University for a performance of The Elves & the Shoemaker, and Spina Farm
  • First Grade: Monterey Aquarium, Santa Clara University for a performance of The Elves & the Shoemaker, Spina Farm, and Youth Science Institute in Vasona Park
  • Second Grade: Santa Clara University for a performance of The Elves & the Shoemaker and Charlotte’s Web, San Francisco Symphony, Spina Farm, and Youth Science Institute in Vasona Park
  • Third Grade: Morgan Hill Aquatic Center, NASA AMES in Mountain View, Ohlone-Sanborn Park, San Francisco Opera
  • Fourth Grade: Ano Nuevo – San Mateo Coast, Fujitsu Planetarium, Morgan Hill Aquatic Center, San Francisco Opera, and the Tall Ships of San Francisco
  • Fifth Grade: Exploratorium in San Francisco, Fujitsu Planetarium, Morgan Hill Aquatic Center, Science Camp, and Sharks Ice in downtown San Jose