Waverly’s elementary school includes grades young kindergarten through six and is located at 67 West Bellevue Drive, Pasadena, California. The elementary school is part of the larger Waverly community, which includes the middle and high schools, located on their own campuses within walking distance of each other.
The young kindergarten (YK) class is an early childhood program licensed by the California Department of Social Services. YK students must be aged at least three years, nine months, at the beginning of the school year; most YK students are four years old. There is a maximum of seventeen students in the class, with a head teacher and two assistant teachers. The YK assistant teachers each work part-time in the YK day care program and in the regular school day program.
First through sixth grade classes are in self-contained classrooms with a head and an assistant teacher. The kindergarten class has two co-head teachers. The average class size is 24 students, maintaining a 12:1 or lower student-teacher ratio.
Beginning in first grade, most classes are multi-age in dual-grade configurations (e.g., 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 4/5, and 5/6). There is a range of ages and developmental levels in each class and students benefit from learning important academic and social lessons from each other.
In each elementary class, and throughout the elementary school, a sense of community is fostered. All aspects of human development inform our work with the students. A sense of individual and collective responsibility is emphasized. Class community building, conflict resolution, teamwork, collaborative learning, and class meetings are strategies used to meet individual and group social and emotional learning needs. Elementary students participate in a variety of classroom and school wide service projects each year.
Elementary head teachers develop a social studies theme for the school year and build an interdisciplinary curriculum around the theme. Science, math, the arts, and language arts are all integrated with that theme. Students are guided to master basic skills while exploring the earth and its people. Emphasis is placed on active learning experiences for the students.
Math instruction and learning is enhanced by the use of the Everyday Mathematics program throughout the elementary school. Everyday Mathematics was developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project in order to enable children in the elementary grades to learn more mathematical content and become lifelong mathematical thinkers. The content in each grade provides all children with a balanced math curriculum that is rich in real-world, problem-solving opportunities. Teachers also integrate the math curriculum with the class theme, supplement the program’s materials when necessary, and use a variety of grouping strategies to increase student learning.
All elementary students receive weekly instruction from specialists in art, physical education, and vocal and instrumental music. Twice-weekly instruction in Spanish begins in first grade. Students also enjoy weekly visits to the elementary school library.
Elementary students move and think beyond the classroom. Frequent field trips to learn and explore are integrated with the curricula. Class community service projects and the Waverly Organic Farm allow hands-on experiences for the students, faculty, staff, and families.