Elementary School Academics
Our elementary grades have classrooms where curiosity and enthusiasm are encouraged and supported. Guided by expert, dedicated teachers, students learn to explore the world around them through social studies, reading, writing, mathematics, science and the arts. Students come to know themselves as learners who develop confidence in their abilities to collaborate, think critically, and act with integrity as citizens within their communities.
We believe that every child deserves to be in a healthy, safe, engaging, supportive, and challenging environment. This is done by providing hands-on, cooperative play and thoughtfully designed activities that stimulate the mind and provide socialization opportunities. Children are encouraged to ask questions, make connections to the world around them, and be a part of the learning process.
Kindergarten is a place of curiosity where children gain confidence in themselves as they experience new challenges and independence. The classroom environment focuses on the social and emotional development of a child as they bridge the gap between preschool and elementary school.
Meet Mrs. Standart
As an educator, my hope is to inspire my students to have fun in the process of learning and to make them feel comfortable in the classroom. I have a passion for teaching and love working with children of all ages. My students inspire me on a daily basis, and I am constantly learning from them as well.
I am a graduate of California State University Long Beach where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Language and Literacy. I continued my education at CSULB and completed my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential through the College of Education. I am a member of Pi Lambda Theta, which is the National Honor Society for Teachers.
In my spare time my husband Robert, my daughter Riley, and I enjoy traveling, visiting our family and friends, and are active members in our community.
Our Academic Program
Kindergarten students learn phonemic awareness through a multitude of modalities and instruction is differentiated according to the child’s needs. Children are immersed in literature through read aloud, poetry, music, and students are provided the scaffolding necessary to build a lifetime love of language.
In math, our program encourages the use of varied models, manipulatives, and drawings to help explore and refine math understanding. Students are encouraged to show and explain their reasoning through both talk and writing connections to real-world situations. We stress the importance of going beyond memorizing content to help our students to think like mathematicians and do the work of mathematics.
The reading and writing workshop programs encourage children to become avid and skilled readers, writers, and inquirers. Students are given opportunities to talk and write in response to texts which help provide concrete, visible ways for them to do the thinking work that later becomes internalized.
Students learn about sea life, visit an aquarium, investigate the migration patterns of animals, and do weekly STEM activities help develop their problem solving skills by using deductive reasoning while developing an appreciation for science and math. Children also become involved in the community by participating in a beach clean-up day and learn the importance of recycling as they celebrate Earth Day. Most importantly, our students are encouraged to express their creativity and individuality in a positive and nurturing setting.
Daily schedules include the incorporation of Physical Education, Music, Visual and Performing Arts, Science Lab, Coding, Spanish, and Character Development.
Kindergarteners do a beach clean up, visit Tanaka Farms, learn about marine mammals at the Marine Mammal Center in San Pedro, and view the sea life at Roundhouse in Manhattan Beach.*
*All field trips are subject to be canceled as we navigate COVID-19 safety precautions.
We provide a healthy, safe, engaging, supportive, and academically challenging environment for our first graders by providing hands-on, cooperative play and thoughtfully designed activities that stimulate the mind and provide socialization opportunities. Children are encouraged to ask questions, make connections to the world around them, and be a part of the learning process.
First grade is a time when students solidify early literacy skills and we see reading and writing grow in leaps and bounds. Students start by writing about their own experiences in our narrative unit and then progress to writing a nonfiction chapter book about a topic they are an expert in. First grade writing also explores fictional writing as students gain more skills and confidence in their writing abilities. Students improve their writing by learning to revisit writing to make it the best it can be via revision and editing. First grade readers build upon skills introduced in kindergarten and work on building good reading habits. Improved comprehension and fluency develop into a newly acquired ability to read for enjoyment. In Math, students learn to work with higher numbers, delve into word problems, solidify relationships between operations, and work toward increasing fluency with both addition and subtraction problems. We explore our own communities, state, and country today and examine how people of varied heritages contribute to each of those. We use that knowledge to make connections to people living around the world and to people who’ve lived before us; noticing that we have some things in common with many other places and times, and many things unique to our place in time. In science we use our investigative skills to examine light and sound waves via through hands on experimentation.
Meet Mrs. Lorenz
Amber grew up in the South Bay and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Political Science then later attended CSULB to receive her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She has three children who all attend PHS and when asked what she likes best about the school, she shared, “I love that while all students are embraced as members of the PHS community at large, they are all also valued as individuals. Teachers and staff see and highlight the strengths and positive qualities in each student. I also love the small class sizes which truly allow for differentiation where teachers can meet students where they are and help them grow over the course of the school year.”
What she enjoys most about being a teacher is building personal connections with her students. She shares, “When children come in excited to share about their weekend, family event, or soccer game, and they know you as a teacher will be excited to hear, I know I have succeeded in making my students feel that sense of community, connection, and belonging in my classroom. Watching the students grow is equally rewarding. When they try something hard and succeed, that sense of pride and accomplishment is so fun to watch, especially if it is something that you know was a particular challenge for them.” Some of Amber’s favorite things to do include gardening, reading, and spending time on the beach with her family.
First Grade Academics
Guiding emerging readers to become fluent readers is the goal of the first grade language arts program. Students practice reading in small groups and learn strategies to enhance their comprehension while increasing fluency, accuracy, and intonation. The joy of reading is nourished in a print-rich classroom and students are exposed to a multitude of stories and poems. Children will develop a love of reading and writing through learning in a fun, encouraging, and individualized environment.
The first grade mathematics program gives students a hands-on approach to learning while strengthening their number sense. Students are taught addition, subtraction, and they apply these concepts in story problems and simple algebraic expressions. They compare, order, write, and count numbers to 120 and interpret data using graphs and charts. Math is presented in a variety of ways with an emphasis on small groups and differentiated instruction. Teachers keep math exciting by presenting lessons via games, collaborative work, projects, and technological resources.
First graders examine the diversity, cultures, and traditions of the United States and investigate how our country has changed over time. Map skills are developed as children identify continents, oceans, and hemispheres on globes and maps. Students analyze the components of a neighborhood and distinguish between cities and suburbs. They start to acquire a basic understanding of economics by learning about money and the manufacturing, transporting, and marketing of goods.
The first grade science curriculum fosters curiosity by providing students with multiple opportunities to formulate and investigate their questions. Children engage in an in-depth study of plant and animal life and their interaction between each other and the environment. First graders study weather by observing, measuring, and recording weather conditions and determining seasonal changes. The different forms of matter and their properties are investigated and analyzed with a variety of experiments to deepen their conceptualization of the scientific method.
Physical Education, Music, Coding, Visual and Performing Arts, Science Lab, Spanish, and Character Development are all incorporated into the first grader's weekly schedule.
First graders visit Tanaka Farms, Marine Mammal Center, Roundhouse, and do a beach clean up. All field trips are subject to cancelation in keeping up with COVID-19 safety precautions.
The Second Grade year is all about fostering a love and appreciation for reading and writing. We use Reader's Workshop to improve our reading fluency, accuracy, expression, and comprehension. We expand our writing abilities by balancing narrative and informational writing during our Writer's Workshop. In science, we conduct research on sea life and create Google Slide presentations. The sea life unit culminates in an over-night field trip at the Aquarium of the Pacific. In math, we deepen our foundational skills and begin to apply them to real life. In social studies, we learn about our communities and the history of our country. As the end of the school year approaches, students not only show great confidence in their reading and writing abilities, setting them up for success as they enter the upper elementary grades, but they also gain confidence in who they are as individuals.
Meet Mrs. Esturain
I am a Southern California local, and attended Peninsula Heritage School as a student. Growing up, I developed a love for the performing arts, which has stayed with me to this day. I especially love musicals! After high school, I decided to explore a different part of the country and pursued a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree with a major in History and a minor in Theater at Lake Forest College in Illinois. I then completed my Masters in Elementary Education at DePaul University in Chicago and taught 1st grade. During the time I spent in Chicago, I discovered my passion for teaching and quickly realized that the classroom is where I belong and want to be! In 2015, I made the decision to move back home to be closer to my family and accepted the opportunity to teach 2nd grade at PHS. This was one of the best decisions I ever made!
As a child I was lucky enough to have an amazing drama teacher who both encouraged and challenged me, and by doing so, helped me on the path to believing in myself. I hope to do the same for each child that enters my classroom. 2nd grade is a special year filled with discovery, creativity, collaboration, and excitement.
Second Grade Academics
The second grade language arts program promotes proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students are exposed to a variety of literature and build fluency and comprehension skills with leveled texts. Using the Reading and Writing Workshop program from Teacher’s College at Columbia University, students are given a strong foundation in opinion, information, and narrative writing assignments. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are taught as part of the writing process and as individual practiced skills. Differentiated instruction allows students to accelerate their learning or provides additional support for children who need further review of concepts. The goal of the Peninsula Heritage language arts program is to instill a love of reading, writing, and lifelong learning.
Second graders are engaged in a myriad of hands-on activities that solidify their understanding of addition and subtraction. They count, read, and write whole numbers to 1,000 and compare numbers using place value. They explore patterns, fractions, geometry, time, data analysis, and money through practice and real life situations. math is presented in a variety of ways with an emphasis on small group and differentiated instruction. Teachers captivate students by presenting concepts with simulations, technology, projects, and games.
Students take an intensive look at our country's history and the significance of how natural resources affect the way people live. They learn about United States government and influential people that shaped our nation. Students examine the economic structure of society and identify the costs and benefits of economic choices.
Second graders explore plant and animal life cycles and the impact mankind has on the environment. They learn the processes that shaped the Earth and investigate the structure and properties of matter. They analyze objects in motion and observe different forms of energy at work. Students construct in-depth sea life reports and spend the night at the Long Beach Aquarium*. Using a hands-on approach to learning, students craft their knowledge through experiments that hypothesize, analyze, and interpret concepts and data.
Physical Education, Coding, Music, Visual and Performing Arts, Science Lab, Spanish, and Character Development are all incorporated into the second grader's weekly schedule.
Second graders visit the South Coast Botanical Gardens and the Natural History Museum as well as spend an overnight trip at the Long Beach Aquarium*.
*All field trips are subject to cancelation in keeping up with COVID-19 safety precautions.
Third grade is a year of great change. It is a year of copious energy and enthusiasm and it is equal parts magical and contagious! Third graders play hard and work hard. On any given day, third grade students are scholars, makers, engineers, interpreters, observers, and investigators. We believe in helping every student feel seen, heard, and known by their classmates, teachers, and community. Social-emotional learning, along with the Responsive Classroom approach, aims to foster a supportive environment for students to reflect, grow, and develop as learners. We enjoy creating dynamic opportunities for students to practice thinking, creating and collaborating whether it be via book clubs, small group learning experiences, maker space activities, STEAM lessons, project-based learning and/or design thinking. These vigorous learning experiences empower students to apply their learning in authentic ways. Student ideas, experiences, and enthusiasm create an innate desire to learn and practice core skills. In math, students learn the fundamentals of multiplication and division, how to work with decimals, measurements, data interpretation, graphing, and more. Our math program incorporates various hands-on games, online games, differentiated practice, and other useful resources, tech tools and apps such as Dreambox supports third grade math concepts and skills in full. In social studies, third graders learn all about the history of California, from the indigenous people who have lived here for centuries, to the miners who discovered gold, to the representatives who currently work for us in Sacramento. Throughout each social studies unit, we explore California’s communities and history through varying perspectives. As the end of the school year approaches, third graders finish the year possessing an exciting and engaging experience as they continue to build the tools and skills needed for their academic future.
Meet Mrs. Resendez
This will be my first year at Peninsula Heritage and I am thrilled to join this wonderful school. I previously taught first and second grade at Westside Neighborhood School and last year was my 27th year teaching! I am from Chicago and earned my Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Columbia College and a Master’s degree in Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
In my personal time, I am an avid hiker, cross fitter, dancer and reader. I especially enjoy spinning class on the beach and exploring trails in the Santa Monica Mountains. I love working with children and believe that “if a child can read, they can do anything!”
3rd Grade Academics
Students are exposed to a variety of literature and transition from 'learning to read' to 'reading to learn'. Students learn comprehension and critical thinking skills and are given a strong foundation in opinion, information, and narrative writing assignments. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are taught as part of the writing process and as individual practiced skills. Differentiated instruction allows students to accelerate their language arts instruction or provide additional support for children who need further review of concepts.
Third graders learn mathematics through computation, implementation, application, and analyzation. They compute numbers using the properties of addition and subtraction as well as deepen their understanding of the inverse relationship of multiplication and division. Students memorize multiplication and division tables up to 12 and compute problems with one and two digit numbers. They also measure and estimate the size of polygons and apply geometric concepts as they design and build a city. Fractions, decimals, and problem solving skills are presented throughout the curriculum. Teachers make math exciting by presenting lessons via games, collaborative work, projects, and technological resources.
Students learn about the diverse communities that compose the United States. They study the impact Native Americans had in America and the transformation of our country due to the arrival of explorers and colonists. Third graders analyze industry, transportation, the formation of government, and the economic contributions of the states. Students learn the order of the Presidents of the United States through song and they craft reports on the accomplishments of past Presidents. They also get a taste of the Wild West during a three day adventure to Raw Hide Ranch and a visit to the Gene Autry museum in Los Angeles. Teachers employ a multitude of teaching techniques through simulations, technology, and projects in order to differentiate instruction to accommodate all learning styles.
Third grade students investigate adaptations of land and water environments and their change over time. Astronomy is a major component of the curriculum and students construct moon projects, study interplanetary orbits, and analyze gravity and microgravity on the moon. Each month, students assemble STEM projects using the Tinker Crates program, as well as follow the gray whales' migration for the 8,000 mile journey from Alaska to Baja, California. Students research a variety of penguins and showcase their data in an oral presentation. They also analyze different properties of matter and sources of energy. Using a hands-on approach to learning, students craft their knowledge through experiments that hypothesize, analyze, and interpret concepts of data.
Physical Education, Music, Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, Science Lab, Coding, Spanish, and Character Development are all incorporated into the third grader's weekly schedule.
Third graders visit Rawhide Ranch, the Palos Verdes Land Conservancy, and Columbia Memorial Space Center*.
*All field trips are subject to cancelation in keeping up with COVID-19 safety precautions.
The Fourth Grade year is filled with exploration, questioning, discovering, and of course, fun! We create a nurturing classroom that encourages and supports intellectual risk-taking and critical thinking. We believe in cultivating success for all students, look to meet children where they are, and guide their growth to the next level. We enjoy teaching through inquiry, project-based learning, and problem-solving. Students grow as readers in many ways. They tackle historical fiction novels together, collaborate in reading partnerships, and practice skills to build an independent reading life. Their writing skills get stronger as they explore new forms of writing, such as personal narrative, realistic fiction, and literary essays. Fourth graders’ math brains get a work out as they build on their multiplication and division skills, expand their knowledge of fractions and decimals, and continue to problem solve using critical thinking. In social studies, fourth graders learn all about the history of California, from the indigenous people who have lived here for centuries, to the miners who discovered gold, to the representatives who currently work for us in Sacramento. As the end of the school year approaches, fourth graders demonstrate greater independence as they manage their own schoolwork, discover how they learn best, and advocate for themselves in the classroom.
Meet Mrs. Kim
This is my first year at Peninsula Heritage and I am extremely excited to join this amazing community! I received my Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Loyola Marymount University in 2013. After graduating with my master’s, I worked as a third grade teacher for seven years and moved up to fourth grade with my students for the 2020-2021 school year. I absolutely love the fourth grade curriculum and learning and teaching about California and its history. Born and raised in Los Angeles, I love being outdoors and soaking up the sun by exploring new hiking trails in the U.S. and abroad. On the weekends, my husband, 15-month old son, and our dog, Sunny, always carve out time to be outdoors. Some of my best memories are from camping or hiking. When I’m not hiking, I enjoy reading historical fiction books, visiting museums, or attending craft fairs.
4th Grade Academics
Reading Workshop helps fourth graders become skilled, avid, life-long readers. The curriculum provides students with ownership of choice alongside instruction of genre, strategy, and response to literature. Fourth graders are given extended amounts of time to read “just right” books and are partnered with classmates to foster genuine discussions about literature. Over the course of the year, students read many books and learn the skills and strategies to help them become successful readers. Teachers conference with students throughout the year and support or challenge students on an individual basis. With the use of mentor texts, fourth graders learn about character development, research clubs, and read historical fiction novels.
Fourth graders find their voice and dive into the craft of writing through Writing Workshop. Through the workshop model, students have choice and ownership of their writing, gain stamina, learn writing strategies and skills, and use writing as a tool for learning and communication. Students have daily opportunities to collaborate with peers and conferences with the teachers occur frequently. The year is divided into the Narrative, Realistic Fiction, Poetry, and Literary Essay units. Students learn about qualities of good writing and strategies to draw upon during each stage of the writing process.
Fourth graders alternate between the Words Their Way and the Wordly Wise programs throughout the year.
With the Words Their Way program, students look closely at words to discover the regularities and conventions of English orthography and spelling. Fourth graders develop a general knowledge of English spelling and learn how to examine words through active exploration using a hands-on, manipulative approach. Students also discover generalizations about spelling, instead of just spelling rules. Fourth graders learn the regularities, patterns, and conventions of English orthography needed to read and to spell. In addition, the Words Their Way program increases students’ specific knowledge of words. Specific knowledge relates to the spelling and meaning of individual words.
Through the Wordly Wise program, fourth graders will improve their vocabulary by furthering their understanding of new words and concepts. Fourth graders receive direct instruction of word meanings and engage in discussions about words and word parts.
Vocabulary is also naturally derived from the curriculum. At the beginning of each unit or new subject area, students are introduced to content-related vocabulary words to help them gain a deeper understanding of the curriculum.
Class novels and non-fiction books will tie in with fourth grade’s social studies units and be used to create a shared reading experience. Through core literature, students will focus on story elements, literary genres, and vocabulary. Comprehension skills and strategies are explicitly taught and reinforced throughout the year. Titles will include, but are not limited to:
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Back in the Beforetime by Jane Louis Curry
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Zia by Scott O’Dell
By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
Differentiated instruction through the use of manipulatives, visuals, modeling, and problem-solving opportunities ensure each fourth grader meets his/her individual mastery level. Fourth graders deepen their understanding of number sense and mathematical reasoning through the Eureka Math program, Sunshine Math, and other teacher-selected resources to provide students with a rich, mathematical experience. Throughout the year, fourth graders’ math brains get a work out as they build on their multiplication and division skills, expand their knowledge of fractions and decimals, and continue to problem solve using critical thinking.
Fourth graders investigate how all living things need energy and analyze ecosystems and their living and non-living components. They study the Earth and differentiate igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks and how landforms change over time due to weathering and erosion. Students examine the useful applications of electricity and magnetism and their related effects. The science curriculum is enhanced by an in-depth study of astronomy coupled with a three day class trip to Astrocamp*. Hands-on science experiments such as designing a Mars rover deepen students’ understanding of scientific concepts. Using a hands-on approach to learning, students craft their knowledge through experiments that hypothesize, analyze, and interpret concepts and data.
Fourth grade is a time of fascinating exploration of California and its rich history through various perspectives. Students analyze the geography of California and its natural resources. They study the indigenous people who have lived here for centuries, the missions, and how the Gold Rush impacted California’s statehood.
Physical Education, Music, Visual and Performing Arts, Science Lab, Spanish, Coding, and Character Quality Education are all incorporated into fourth grade's weekly schedule.
Fourth graders visit Astro Camp and Mission San Juan Capistrano*.
*All field trips are subject to cancelation in keeping up with COVID-19 safety precautions.
Teaching is an absolute passion of mine and I am always so excited to teach fifth grade each year. The fifth grade experience at Peninsula Heritage School is quite unique. From actually dissecting fish and animal hearts in Science Lab to reenacting the American Revolution on the stage of our local theater, teaching, and in turn learning, is approached through a hands-on philosophy. Knott’s Berry Farm becomes a physics playground, as Newton’s Laws of Motion are experienced first-hand as roller coasters whip students up and around through gravitational pull. Students sidle up to the marine life of Catalina Island on a three -day adventure that includes snorkeling and hiking. Classroom quilts, with squares created by each student, commemorate the many different curricular units enjoyed during the year. These exciting and divergent activities make the students’ fifth grade year at PHS a memorable one for years to come.
Meet Mrs. Lynn
Even after more than 25 years of teaching elementary school, I still can’t wait for the school year to begin. I attended Pepperdine and Cal State Long Beach for my undergraduate and teaching credential classes. I came to Peninsula Heritage School in 1996 with 10 years of elementary school teaching experience already under my belt. I have taught 5th grade at PHS for many, many years. I love to travel and have circumnavigated the globe on a boat. I have three wonderfully talented , grown children. I love to quilt, read, garden and hike. My greatest satisfaction comes from getting to know each student, discovering their strengths, and aiming their collective efforts toward success.
5th Grade Academics
The fifth grade language arts program promotes proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Using the Reading and Writing Workshop program from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University, students are exposed to a variety of literature and learn comprehension and critical thinking skills. They are given a strong foundation in opinion, information, and narrative writing assignments and also write sea creature research reports and creative colonial journals. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are taught as part of the writing process and as individual practiced skills. Revolutionary War poetry and literature units enhance the curriculum and connect student’s learning across the curriculum. Differentiated instruction allows students to accelerate their language arts instruction or provide additional support for children who need further review of concepts.
The fifth grade mathematics curriculum deepens students’ understanding of mathematical algorithms involving multiplication, division, fractions, and decimals. Fifth graders also manipulate geometric shapes and use formulas to compute their area, volumes, and perimeters. Students apply and explain concepts pertaining to ratio, proportion, measurement, and algebraic thinking as well. Math is presented in a variety of ways with an emphasis on small group and differentiated instruction. Teachers keep math exciting by presenting lessons via games, collaborative work, projects, and technological resources.
The main focus of the fifth grade social studies curriculum is the study of early United States History. Students analyze the geography of the United States and its rich natural resources. They learn the political, religious, social, and economic influences of the first 13 original colonies coupled with an in-depth colonial simulation resulting in a colonial fair. Fifth Graders study the course and consequences of the American Revolution and the War of Independence is brought to life through a dramatic play called History Comes Alive performed at the Norris Theater (subject to COVID-19 safety precautions).
Students explore scientific concepts pertaining to cells, plants, and the human body. They evaluate the properties of matter and classify elements, mixtures, and compounds. An in-depth study of marine biology provides students the opportunity to analyze California marine life, fish anatomy, fish dissection and spend 3 days at the Catalina Island Marine Institute. Fifth Graders learn Newton’s three laws and the basic physics involved in constructing roller coasters. They are given the challenge to build their own roller coaster and apply the concepts of force, gravity, and friction and later spend the day at Knott’s Berry Farm experiencing physics in motion!
Physical Education, Music, Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, Science Lab, Coding, Spanish, and Character Development are all incorporated into fifth grade's weekly schedule.
Fifth graders visit California Island Marine Institute, Riley's Farm, and Knott's Berry Farm*.
*All field trips are subject to cancelation in keeping up with COVID-19 safety precautions.