Elementary School | Grades K-5

In Elementary School, we challenge our students to become confident and independent critical thinkers. Students will utilize honest self-reflection and collaborative skills as they engage and explore. They will be capable of taking risks and learning through mistakes. Our learners will act with integrity and be problem solvers, prepared to be positive citizens in our world.

Our Elementary School program has general education classroom teachers responsible for Language Arts, Mathematics, and Social Studies instruction. In addition, we have a dedicated Science specialist for grades K-5. Specialist teachers round out our learning program with innovative, engaging, and beloved activities in Music, Art, Physical Education, Dance, World Language, and Library.  Finally, the importance of social-emotional learning that began in Early Education continues through our AMAZE program led by our School Counselor. 
Below is more information about each of our learning areas.

Curriculum Overview

List of 10 items.

  • English Language Arts

    Grades K-2: The focus on language arts in our lower elementary school is learning to read and write. Through intensive instruction in phonics and grammar, students first learn decoding skills to build and read simple words. Simultaneously, students are building stamina for independent reading by practicing quiet book discoveries that increase weekly. Once we are at adequate stamina levels for each grade level, we continue our studies using the Readers and Writers Workshop Model. During independent practice, teachers work 1:1 with students or engage in small group learning where differentiated instruction occurs as necessary.  
    Grades 3-5: Now that we are competent readers, the focus in language arts in the upper elementary school is reading to learn and writing to communicate. Students continue to build skills with more advanced challenges in the Readers and Writers Workshop. Spelling and grammar lessons are part of the reading and writing process thus integrated into student lessons without disjointed or isolating them from context. During independent reading or writing time, small group instruction allows for differentiated instruction, and 1:1 conferencing gives students the confidence and support to continue growing as readers and authors.
  • Mathematics

    Elementary School mathematics focuses on four main areas: Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number Sense and Operations, Measurement and Data, and Geometry. Using hands-on materials (manipulatives), students first learn concrete representations of mathematical concepts before moving on to abstract concepts. Students learn many ways to “attack” a problem in math, ultimately focusing on strategies that work best for them. Students focus on understanding the reasoning behind essential concepts and applying skills in new and unique situations.
  • Science

    The Elementary School science curriculum focuses on Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth Science. At each grade level, essential questions and enduring understandings are identified for each of the three units of study. With the support of Mystery Science, a hands-on, video-based lesson, students are quickly engaged in their learning and practice essential analytical and critical thinking skills through experimentation and exploration. Engineering and coding units are included in our year-long studies. Pilgrim Scientists also experience interdisciplinary learning like science in art and science in music.  
  • Social Studies

    The Elementary School social studies curriculum focuses on compelling and supportive questions in geography, economics, civics, and history.  During the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent social awakening, our teachers took a deep look at our curriculum to ensure that it was relevant and inclusive of our diverse community. Our curriculum is challenging, current, and hands-on.
  • World Language (Spanish and Mandarin)

    In Kindergarten, students are exposed to the two languages taught at Pilgrim: Spanish and Mandarin. Our exploratory course, Cultures & Conversations, exposes our Kindergarten students to one semester of each culture and language. Then, in first grade, students and their parents choose which language as their focus and then continue to study that through grade 5. K-2 students enjoy stories, puppet shows, music, and games as they explore the culture and learn to speak a new language. Older elementary students enjoy researching topics and creating presentations to talk about their knowledge of cultures other than their own.
  • Music and Band

    Grades K-4 music instruction is grounded in the belief that music is joyful, playful, engaging, and for everyone! Students experience a wide range of activities that focus on learning, including music analysis, music composition, history and culture of music, instrumental music, reading and notating music, singing, and music improvisation. In addition, each class period offers lessons that require students to use their senses and bodies to explore the wonders of music in our lives.

    5th Grade music prepares students for options to explore in Middle School. First, students take a semester of Beat Lab, electronic music composition, using laptops to compose simple beats on the computer. As they gain knowledge of the software and expertise in composition, students add melody and voice to their creations. In the second semester, 5th Grade students are exposed to band instruments including guitar, keyboarding, drums, bass guitar, trumpet, trombone, tuba, flute, saxophone, and other instruments found in a band.
  • PE and Dance

    Physical Education aims to provide all students with meaningful, engaging, and exciting physical activities. All classes aim to promote physical fitness and health while developing gross motor skills. Our coaches encourage individual success while offering plenty of opportunities to improve the students’ abilities. Units of study include locomotive skill development, fitness development and assessment, team sports skills, aerobics, yoga, gymnastics, and stretching. 

    Dance is part of the Elementary PE Program. Students participate in a dance class at least once each week during their scheduled PE class time. K-5 students have the opportunity to work with our outstanding dance teacher in multiple dance styles, including hip-hop, jazz, and ballet. 
  • Studio Art

    The goal of the Elementary Studio Art Program is to love art, to create freely, to explore new media. Pilgrim studio art aims to provide support to classroom learning by expanding on the topics already being studied. For example, kindergarten scientists studying animal behaviors might create animals in art class, or fourth-grade artists might depict California regions through clay sculpture or charcoal drawing. Our top-rated Visiting Artists program brings art to life for our students who have the opportunity to study and create with working professionals. Finally, visits to local museums and galleries round out a robust and exciting art program for Elementary Students.
  • Library

    Our Elementary Library is a magical place where a love for books blossoms. Our Library program includes weekly visits, storytimes with our Library Specialist, Reading Challenges and Book Clubs. Students can visit the library during a morning or afternoon recess, too. Our Librarian works with our classroom teachers to support our reading program by selecting book choices that support classroom learning. We are proud to have more than 50,000 titles in our collection, including an extensive collection of multi-cultural novels.

    Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of a Pilgrim education.  Students acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. 

    Our School Counselor teaches a class called AMAZE. AMAZE empowers children to co-create classrooms of equity and belonging where children feel valued, respected, and connected. To do this, students engage in intentional, regular discussions about identity, differences, and bias. This curriculum is grounded in anti-bias education theory and presents diversity through the lens of the family. Using picture books and pre-determined conversation questions, we explore identity, family structures, race/ethnicity, immigration, religion, socioeconomics, disabilities, gay/lesbian/transgender family members, divorce and blended families, aging and loss, and adoption. AMAZE is held once a week with Kindergarten through 5th grade.

Program Details

List of 3 items.

  • Home Practice

    Home practice is assigned to students in order for them to practice skills taught in school, as students aim for mastery. Home practice is also requested before every summative assessment; study time is critical for students’ success. Finally, we ask that students read every night for up to 20 minutes. 

    Home practice is never assigned for a weekend. However, students may want to read, study, or complete classwork that was previously not completed. Below are the general time guidelines for home practice for students in the Elementary School. Since each child works at their own pace, these times will vary.  

    Kindergarten - 15 to 20 minutes  
    Grade 1 - 20 to 25 minutes
    Grades 2-3 - 35 to 45 minutes 
    Grades 4-5 - 45-60 minutes
  • Mastery-Based Grading

    All classes in Kindergarten through Grade 5 are mastery-based. Teachers report achievement levels based on the identified learning targets for each subject area but will not report letter grades.  
    Each learning target is assessed using common achievement levels across grades and subjects in Elementary School with a consistent definition of achievement at each level. Teachers use these levels in designing rubrics for specific learning targets. Students are evaluated on their level of achievement using these rubrics.
  • Academic Testing

    The school has a planned testing program to identify academic strengths and areas for improvement. In this way, teachers and students can plan targeted skill development to support a well-rounded education. Students take the IReady Assessment in Reading and Mathematics two times per year. These reports are sent home to parents and discussed at parent-teacher conferences.

Elementary School Leadership

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Sheryl Cohen

    Dr. Sheryl Cohen 

    Early Education and Elementary Director
  • Photo of Nora Kiely

    Ms. Nora Kiely 

    Director of Student Services
  • Mr. Alex Lingois 

    Play Team and After-Care Coordinator
Pilgrim Stats
School Hours

8:00-3:00 (Grades K-1)
8:15-3:30 (Grades 2-5)
Extended Care

Open from 7:30-5:30
Enrichment Classes After School