Teacher with students in the classroom

Elementary School

Kindergarten - Second Grade (Primary School)

Elementary School Students in a Circle

In our primary grade classrooms, small class sizes enable us to provide small group and individualized instruction. 

The low student-to-teacher ratio along with the team of specialists for the enrichment and exploratory classes meet the unique needs and abilities of students in all elementary grades. 

Starting in kindergarten, every child works with specialty teachers in music, physical education, Spanish, art instruction, and technology.

Third - Fifth Grade (Upper Elementary)

We believe that math and literacy are the foundation of all learning.  Therefore, these subjects are taught daily with focused attention on providing EACH student with a cognitive and stimulating learning challenge at the appropriate level of learning.  State and national standards are used as a baseline for learning targets.  Ultimately, we teach students how to become resilient, innovative thinkers and problem solvers who can persevere with intention and purpose in their own learning.  Students gain confidence in assessing and reflecting on their own strengths and challenges, setting personal goals through the use of journals, rubrics and teacher assistance.

Student Writing

Instructional strategies are diverse, flexible and comprehensive.  These strategies include:

  • guided reading
  • literature circles
  • cooperative/collaborative inquiry groups
  • direct instruction
  • mini-lessons
  • routine conferencing
  • teaching metacognitive awareness
  • journal writing
  • literacy centers with attention to learning style needs
  • peer projects, technology integration
  • public presentation
  • research

Class Trips

Barnhart has an extensive K-8 progression of hands-on Environmental and Physical Science Field Trips. With this first-hand exposure to new places, people, and ideas, they open their eyes and expand their knowledge.  Field study also builds a sense  of community among students through shared experiences. When students interact with the world around them, they become actively engaged in learning. A dynamic environment sparks a  very engaging learning process.

These extensive learning excursions benefit students by reinforcing academic curriculum through hands-on experiences in the real world. Equally important, students progressively build independence and resilience as they are systematically led to step “out of their comfort zone, and into their learning zone.”

4th Grade – Ocean Institute's Brig Pilgrim - San Juan Capistrano   

5th Grade – Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI)