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San Domenico Lower School Curriculum

Language Arts 

Reading is thinking. These three simple words are the foundation of the literacy program at San Domenico. Here, students learn to think—whether they are reading, writing, or speaking. Lessons teach strategies that encourage and empower the student to be actively involved in developing and applying expressive skills. The writing curriculum supports a process approach in which students are encouraged to use their own distinct voices.


At each level, the mathematics program at the San Domenico lower school carefully balances fundamental skills, problem solving, and critical thinking. The curriculum emphasizes the process as much as the answer. This approach is supported by research, which indicates that successful mathematics students must develop both procedural proficiency and conceptual understanding. The program inspires inquiry and challenges students to recognize how mathematics can apply to real situations that are relevant in their daily lives.

Music  Read more about music at San Domenico

The main goal of the lower school music program is to lead children to a love of and knowledge about music, using the Kodaly method, which follows a child's development physically and intellectually, making sure a strong foundation is laid for each new idea. The program improves memory, abstract thinking, articulation, social learning, leadership qualities, and self-confidence. 

Physical Education

Students engage in activities such as muscular strength, flexibility, and agility, while learning how their bodies work and how to keep healthy. Our whole child program encourages individual growth in skills and abilities. Physical education provides a venue for students to interact socially in a venue outside the classroom. With an emphasis on cooperation, community, and respect, students learn life-long social and emotional skills that will help them as they become effective citizens in the greater community.


Our program is designed to promote scientific knowledge of the earth, life, and physical sciences, with a special emphasis on developing critical thinking skills. Students are provided opportunities to use the scientific method in the classroom, laboratory, and field environment the campus provides. As students design and conduct experiments, they practice the processes of observation, data collection, questioning, hypothesizing, and forming conclusions. The program fosters scientific literacy and creative problem solvers, as evident in our Science Fair and Invention Convention. Field trips are a key part of the program.

Social Studies

Our curriculum is designed to promote knowledge in civics, geography, and the history of the local community, state, and nation. Students examine diverse societies and times to develop an understanding of the factors that divide nations, and common qualities that connect them. Our social studies program incorporates music, art, dance, and literature to better understand the story of human events. It is is a relevant way to practice literacy, math, technology, and library skills, capitalizing on experiential learning using field trips to historical sites and observation of government in action.

Spanish  Read more about Spanish at San Domenico

At San Domenico, our Spanish program seeks to foster a desire of learning another language, and gives students the tools necessary to continue building their skills and proficiency in this lifelong pursuit. Students in the younger grades build a base of thematic vocabulary and acquire a basic understanding of the structure of language in an engaging and interactive way through project based learning and games. Students are prepared to use their knowledge towards conversational Spanish as reading, writing, and speaking.

Sustainability  |  Read more about San Domenico eco-literacy

At SD, ecoliteracy is interwoven into all of our classes and curriculum. We believes that as educators we have a responsibility to teach students about interconnectedness, patterns, relationships, and the web of life, so that they have the tools needed to create a sustainable world. San Domenico addresses these critical issues in concrete ways throughout our curricula, policies, and campus practices. 

Technology  Read more about technology at San Domenico

The goal of technology at San Domenico is to equip students with skills that support and encourage lifelong learning in a global information society. The curriculum provides students with the skills necessary to present information, creative projects, and ideas to others. The objective is for students to use and integrate their knowledge into problem solving and understand that technology is a tool applicable to many settings.

Religious Studies and Character Development

Rooted in Dominican tradition, and reflecting the school's mission to teach students of all faiths, San Domenico encourages even our youngest students to become moral thinkers as well as academic achievers. We provide a moral framework for making ethical decisions which guide personal choices and interpersonal relationships. Students apply the values they have learned within the school community and through participation in service learning projects.

Visual Arts  Read more about our fine arts program

The visual arts curriculum is cyclical: concepts are introduced, developed, expanded, and revisited. Each child is challenged to create in new directions and acquire more advanced skills—engaging in the process of art and fostering an appreciation of the arts of different periods and cultures. While mastering techniques, students discover and develop their creative talents and cognitive processes. Art is also integrated into other curricular disciplines, giving students the opportunity to connect it with academic subjects.

©2016 San Domenico School  •  All rights reserved  •  1500 Butterfield Road  •  San Anselmo, CA 94960  •  (415) 258-1900

Common Sense Educator - Digital Citizenship Certified 2014 US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award

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