Elementary Overview

Elementary Curriculum

Carden Academy elementary curriculum is based on core elements of the Carden Method. All curriculum areas are sequential and integrated across the grade levels.

Reading and Literature

The foundations of the Carden Reading 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

The Carden Language Arts Program develops a mastery of the skills needed for reading and comprehending, vocabulary acquisition, grammar usage, accurate spelling, coherent writing, and proficient speaking. The Carden Spelling curriculum is a unique combination of Carden phonics using the vowel chart and logical spelling rules. Grammar is “the key to comprehension” according to Miss Carden, and is studied in-depth at each grade level. Students are able to understand and implement increasingly complex features of language arts as it is applied throughout the daily curriculum.

Write Source Writing Curriculum

Write Source is a personalized print and digital language arts program that uses technology tools to prepare students for mastering the writing process, traits of good writing, key writing genres, grammar, usage, and mechanics. It includes an ePortfolio that allows students to publish their work to the Carden Write Source community and collaborate between peers. An interactive, step-by-step instruction text provides practice for each step of the writing process, and includes multimedia grammar games, videos, handwriting, and assessment modules. Teachers fully blend digital instruction with print based worksheets.


The Carden Academy advanced mathematics program is designed to build a strong foundation and deep understanding of mathematical concepts. Proven studies show that children in their formative years acquire mathematical abilities manipulatively, visually, conceptually, and sequentially. We have carefully coupled the Carden teaching techniques with the Sadlier-Oxford Mathematics curriculum, thereby ensuring adherence to current national standards as well as providing students with a strong grasp of mathematics. The goal is to develop, practice, assess and master concepts incrementally. Daily small group instruction addresses the uniqueness of each child and ensures mathematical success on an individual level.

Science Through Experience

Carden Academy’s science program is experiential. The curriculum encompasses a broad range of integrated units of study 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, lecture coupled with class discussion, and field trips are integral parts of the science curriculum.
We use the Scott Foresman Science curriculum, Diamond edition, which correlates to national standards. This program compliments the Carden method with inquiry-rich content using cross-curricular ties linking reading and science together. Our multi-leveled approach allows students to acquire knowledge essential for critical thinking and a deep understanding of complex scientific processes. As a result of this carefully, well-rounded approach, 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 uses a variety of proven methods to provide rich, relevant content to all grades. Lessons link past and present in ways that make sense for all students. History is brought alive by literature selections integrated within the text. Historical figures of many backgrounds provide reflections on our past from diverse perspectives. Geographic literacy is emphasized as it impacts ties among past and present people, places, and events. Active citizenship is explored through skill lessons, interactive activities, and concrete examples. We use the nationally correlated McGraw Hill Adventures in Time and Place text, which partners with the National Geographic Society. In addition, the fourth grade uses Harcourt Reflections series, California: A Changing State to study California History.

Foreign Languages

One of the key goals of the Carden Method is to teach children how to communicate their ideas fluently and accurately, both orally and in writing. Learning another language enhances children’s linguistic abilities. We also recognize that we live in a global community, and it is important for students to understand different cultures and way of thinking. Teaching a foreign language 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 and extending through eighth grade, Carden students are offered the opportunity to learn French. This language was chosen by Mae Carden 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.

In addition to French, 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.

Similar to French and Mandarin, our Spanish program focuses on developing listening comprehension skills, vocabulary, and correct pronunciation. The children are introduced to Spanish speaking countries and they develop an appreciation of Hispanic cultures. Usage of grammar and verb conjugations, with the correct use of different tenses is layered as the students advance through the grades.


Kindergarteners through eighth graders spend time weekly in our state of the art Computer Lab staffed by a dedicated technology instructor. 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 other software, programming, robotics and internet safety.

1-to-1 iPad Program

Carden Academy offers a robust and modern technology curriculum. Teachers and students incorporate mobile technology as an enrichment tool to enhance the structured classroom curriculum. Each student receives an iPad for the school year to engage with class content interactively and collaboratively. The classroom teacher has access to a wide variety of learning apps, which can supplement what is being taught in the classroom. Teachers can further individualize the learning program for students with different styles of learning and understanding. All the students in kindergarten through fifth grade are issued iPads for use in the classroom. Junior High students are allowed to take their iPads home to use for homework, projects, and multimedia presentations. In addition, our teachers use Apple TV’s to regularly incorporate multi-media instruction, enriching the classroom curriculum. Each summer, our teachers receive additional instruction from certified educational technology trainers on how to maximize their teaching skills and specialized subjects using new technology and apps.


Every grade experiences art with our dedicated art instructor. Lessons include exploration of a wide range of media and techniques, allowing the freedom to express beauty and individuality. 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 examined and experienced by each grade.

Physical Education

Our Physical Education program emphasizes good sportsmanship. Each class meets daily for P.E to develop age appropriate physical skills. Our students experience a variety of activities to enhance their loco-motor, manipulative, strength, endurance, movement, and rhythmic needs. They learn the fundamentals of game play, sports, and teamwork.

Curriculum Summaries by Grade Level

Kindergarten Curriculum

Grade 1 Curriculum

Grade 2 Curriculum

Grade 3 Curriculum

Grade 4 Curriculum

Grade 5 Curriculum

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