Crestmont provides an environment that allows children to grow to their fullest potential. To achieve this, we emphasize the following:
“It Takes a Village” – At Crestmont, children are supported in reaching their fullest potential, both academically and socially, by the caring community which envelops them. Research has shown that being known by more than one adult in a school is linked with greater student success. Because of Crestmont’s intimate size, the children are known by all of the adults (staff and parents) who are present on a regular basis. Caring adults are critical to the students’ success by providing the kinds of relationships, expectations, and opportunities that help them thrive at Crestmont and beyond.
Self Esteem – Children learn best when they are emotionally secure. One of our teachers’ primary responsibilities is to do everything possible to nourish a child’s positive feelings about himself or herself.
Learning Styles – Meeting individual needs is one of our top priorities. No single approach is adequate to address the variety of learning styles within a classroom. Therefore, a multi-faceted, multi-modal approach promotes successful learning for all children.
Staggered Reading – Literacy development is best supported in small group settings using high-quality children’s literature. Success is optimized by structuring the school day for first through fifth graders, so that half of each class attends either a morning or afternoon reading hour.
Authentic Assessment – Crestmont values ongoing, authentic assessment. Each child’s progress is recorded in narrative evaluations that review academic, socio-emotional, and physical development. After Crestmont, children adjust to letter grades as a new challenge, confident and internally motivated.
Spontaneity and Critical Thinking – We believe spontaneity is important in the classroom. We maintain flexibility to allow for spontaneous discussions that allow the children to investigate many aspects of an issue. Given this environment, children ask questions, think critically and creatively, and develop excellent problem-solving skills.
Inclusion – Children learn that everyone can play at Crestmont. Excluding others is not an option on our campus. This helps children to experience a sense of belonging. It is also critical for the development of a safe and trusting community, which is essential for learning.
Social Skills and Conflict Resolution – Helping children acquire social skills is a fundamental part of primary education and a cornerstone of Crestmont’s philosophy. We consider positive social interaction and conflict resolution to be subjects as important as math and reading. While we intentionally teach conflict resolution skills, we also take the time needed to address issues as they arise. With steady guidance, the children develop a strong sense of empathy and the skills to get along with a variety of people.
The Arts – Drama, dance, music, and visual arts play a crucial role in the development of the whole child. The Arts provide an outlet for individual expression, bringing joy and richness to the classroom community. Currently we offer a songs program, recorder instruction, dramatic productions in every class, movement classes and visual arts instruction.
Field Trips – We believe it is critical for students to have regular, meaningful opportunities for learning beyond the classroom walls. Each class goes on one to two field trips each month. Field trips have included: Alvarado and Tilden Parks, San Francisco mural walk, Fort Ross, Muir Woods, Zellerbach Hall, Lawrence Hall of Science, Oakland Symphony, Hall of Health, San Francisco Bay Model, Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Sacramento, the Gold Country and dozens of other places.
Transitions – Crestmont takes the transition from preschool to kindergarten and from fifth grade to middle school very seriously. Incoming kindergarteners are each visited by their new teacher during the summer before school starts. Kindergarten families are welcomed at a summer picnic to get acquainted with their classmates and new teacher. All new families attend an orientation meeting to become familiar with school policies, traditions, and nuts and bolts. The fourth/fifth grade teacher facilitates ongoing conversations about middle school. Students are able to express their expectations, anticipations, and fears in a safe environment in preparation for their next transition.
Parent/Teacher Communication – Individual parent-teacher conferences are held twice per year. As a class group, parents meet monthly with their child’s teacher to hear updates on curricula, field trips, and special classroom activities. Teachers are also available for meeting with parents on an as-needed basis.
Compassion for the world – Helping children to take developmentally appropriate action allows them to realize their ability to make a difference in the world. Activities that give Crestmont students a sense of power have included: writing letters to protest the mistreatment of marine mammals, running on-site flea markets to raise money to preserve the rain forest, working on marsh restoration, and collecting recyclables to raise money for a homeless shelter in Richmond.
Childhood – Crestmont honors the spirit of childhood. Encouraging fantasy, play, and imagination allows each child’s spirit to flourish in his or her young years and beyond.