Our academic program is rooted in the Carden Method, the development of 21st Century Learning skills, and the integration of Project and Inquiry Based Learning. The Carden Method is a comprehensive language arts program that integrates phonics, spelling, grammar, reading, and writing using an approach which teaches the sounds and rhythms of the English language. This language arts program, together with standards-based math, science, and social studies programs, form the basis to create a solid traditional framework that emphasizes understanding and comprehension over rote memorization. We also proudly integrate Project and Inquiry-Based Learning into our curriculum to allow students opportunities for interdisciplinary, hands-on, and relevant exploration of academic topics. Carden Academy also helps foster the development of 21st Century Learning skills – critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication. Each of these skills is considered vital by the broad educational community in order for students to be successful in the world of tomorrow.
Our goal is to build a strong student with a well-rounded foundation. Our students literally transition to a classroom that is at the other end of the building, to a place they feel comfortable and ready to learn. They see friends from day one and already know their teachers making this learning leap smooth and inviting.
Learning to be a good community citizen in the classroom and out in the world is important for these early learners. We work hard to building empathy for others and kindness and respect for all. Each student leaves kindergarten knowing how fun and magical school and learning can be by instilling learning habits that last a lifetime.
Academics are slowly built up in kindergarten focusing on the foundations of learning first, following directions, building stamina, learning to listen, to social skills, virtues, and character development.
Language and literacy include understanding language and communicating through reading, writing, listening, and talking. Literacy is a large focus in kindergarten. When a child leaves kindergarten they leave with a full toolbox of skills that carry right into 1st grade (pencil grip, cutting skills, 100 dolch sight words, letter recognition, sounds upper and lowercase, simple spelling rules, two vowel rule, and more.)
In each content area from language arts to math and science to virtues and elements, those lessons are intertwined and folded into all we are doing daily. All of this goes hand in hand with helping to shape a student who is happy, confident, and able to thrive academically.
Students migrate from the classroom next door making the transition to grade one effortless. They know their teacher, are excited and ready to learn. It is important to build self confidence in first grade where they can explore their potential through creativity. This loving and nurturing environment makes it safe for a child to ask questions and be inquisitive learning. It is important for the child to understand different identities, backgrounds, and experiences where they can have conversations with others through using the Carden virtues.
In the first grade we continuously strive to improve and expand our knowledge of reading and writing. Building upon the solid foundation of our kindergarten program, we focus on how to reason, write, comprehend, and work both independently and collaboratively. The first grade develops this understanding of literacy by expanding their Carden secret codes. This helps to break the word down so as they get older, they can sound out a word without knowing the actual word. Daily mathematics using Envision Math is interactive and fun, providing real world concepts in a logical and fun way.
Additionally, in first grade we build upon the child’s mental image through questions which allow for ease of comprehension when reading and building a speaking vocabulary are introduced with each reading lesson throughout the school year. Additionally building, great study habits, a solid work ethic, and organizational skills which are modeled and encouraged.
Our classroom size remains small by design, allowing accommodation for various learning styles. Our small teacher to student ratio maximizes participation and provides a rich and engaging learning environment in every subject. Through project and curiosity-based learning we build a strong academic foundation that carries to second grade.
In second grade, students are becoming independent, resilient learners. As they increase their stamina, they are able to grow as individuals and as a community of curious learners. Our curriculum focuses on academic basics with solid reading, grammar, writing, and math programs. We incorporate these in skills with innovative, curiosity-based projects, that inspire the students to follow their interests and inquiries.
We use the Carden Method for phonics spelling and language lessons that blend with our reading program in a cohesive Language Arts program. Our paragraph lessons incorporate these rules with relevant, interesting topics to write about. Our Envisions math program is an award-winning program that scaffolds mental math skills that build confidence and foster individual growth with number sense and problem solving. We learn many methods to solve problems that embrace the students’ individual way of processing math computation. Our social studies curriculum focuses on communities, including our class community, and current events. Second grade science follows national standards with a dash of local topics such as native plants of Maui and our unique ecosystems.
Social emotional learning partnered with our unique Carden virtue program provides a basis for learning empathetic communication and cooperative skills. Learning to navigate relationships and self-regulation are important concepts at this age.
In third grade, students are growing in their independence and taking on greater responsibility as learners. Students learn to build upon previously learned skills and strategies. There is a focus on mastery of core subjects as well as cultivating their curiosities.
Utilizing the Carden Method for our language arts program, third graders develop their skills in spelling, grammar, and reading. These skills are transferred into their writing as they learn about different styles of writing. The Envision Mathematics program begins with third graders learning about multiplication and division. This is not simply taught through rote memorization, but through the properties of multiplication. Envision focuses on problem solving, reasoning, and higher order thinking.
Science concepts are taught through engaging hands-on experiments. Students learn to think like scientists as they make predictions, test, observe, and record their results. Social studies focuses on current events using Scholastic News magazines. This offers an opportunity for class discussion where students explore the world around them and have a platform for voicing their ideas and opinions.
Character development and social emotional learning are an integral part of the overall learning experience. Students learn and practice virtues each week. Students are taught skills for learning, self-regulation, empathy, and emotion management.
4th Grade is a year where students are becoming independent in their learning, honoring their individual pace and requiring less guidance and support from parents and teachers. Students are provided opportunities to learn through immersive, cross-curricular activities.
Fourth graders participate in curiosity-based projects that balance independence and collaboration, inquiry skills, and activism in their world through the three A’s: advocacy, awareness, and action. While the fourth-grade curriculum is anchored in Carden Language, Envisions Math, Literature, Interactive Writer’s Notebooks, and Hawaiian History (ecological to Polynesian contact), the yearly experiences are varied based on class interest; this allows for relevant, impactful learning.
Some of the experiences include growing and caring for endemic and canoe plants in our school garden, as well as participating in field studies. Field studies provide students with immersive, relevant experiences, as well as the opportunity to complete community service for valuable, nonprofit programs on Maui.
Woven through our academic curriculum is our social-emotional learning component. Our Carden Virtues Education focuses on the growth of each individual, encouraging them to think beyond the self. Students participate in weekly virtue reflections, guided class meetings with our school counselor, and weekly Virtuous Person celebrations.
In the Spring, the Fourth graders share their Hawaiian History learning and activism project. Students are ready for 5th grade where they have the opportunity build on the foundations and continue to grow and learners, leaders and collaborators.
5th grade is a year where students are continuing to become independent in their learning, developing self-reliance and stamina. Good study and work habits are fostered, and increased ownership of responsibility is expected. Fifth graders start identifying with peers more than adults and are beginning to be more aware of the world around them. They are encouraged through positive reinforcement to express themselves and begin to see how they are viewed through the eyes of others. Weekly guided class meetings with our school counselor provide a safe environment for students’ emotional growth at their own pace. Individuality is encouraged and celebrated.
Literacy is integrated into all classroom activities – from historical fiction stories in social studies and lunchtime reading to researching and reporting on body systems in science class. Our goal is to help students become enthusiastic readers who will enjoy a variety of genres throughout their lives.
Curiosity Based Learning experiences are sprinkled across the curriculum beginning with assigned research topics in science and social studies in the first trimester, the highly anticipated History Fair in the second trimester, and finally progressing to an independent study capstone project in the spring.
Virtual Field Studies take us to different corners of the world where we explore environmental issues, diverse cultures, and career opportunities around the globe. The goal of culminating activities is to raise awareness through posters, videos, and presentations to the Carden community.
Field studies outside the classroom focus on community service projects such as beach cleanups, tree planting, and exploration of Maui’s diverse ethnic cultures.
The purpose of the Carden Method is to develop well-adjusted, capable, confident, eager, alert, courageous, generous, just, compassionate, courteous, happy children, who have a sense of humor, who will be able to develop their ingenuity, who base their actions on the idea that we come to life to make a contribution to the welfare of the human race; children who realize that happiness is a byproduct of doing for others; children who realize that the goal of living is not the amassing of money or possessions, but the attainment of the desires of the heart.– Mae Carden