One of the most important gifts TBS provides students is the emphasis on metacognition, or learning how to learn.
What We Offer
Students are at the center of dedicated teaching teams, including the two classroom teachers and core arts teachers, as well as a host of program support staff and learning specialists.
Our single-grade classrooms (K and 3rd grade) align with developmental stages when children solidify social/emotional and academic awarenesses and skills. Multi-grade classrooms (1st/2nd and 4th/5th) allow children to move naturally between the roles of mentor and learner.
School starts promptly at 8:30am. Students are dismissed according to grade level according to a staggered schedule: Kindergarten-2nd Grade at 3:05pm, 3rd-5th at 3:15pm, 6th-8th at 3:35pm. We offer before-school care at no extra charge starting at 7:30am. After-school care is available until 6:00pm every day.
Reading & Writing
Reading instruction is integrated into various parts of the day. Our goal is to cultivate a life-long love of reading by helping our students become competent and purposeful readers. Students increase their reading and comprehension skills and strategies within a meaningful, balanced literacy program. Regardless of reading level, students are encouraged to infer, analyze, synthesize, and make predictions based on the text through the use of guided reading, independent reading, literature circles, and Reader’s Workshop. Students also gain experience in many cross-cultural genres of literature including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, biography, history, and science texts.
The writing program develops students’ ability to communicate effectively. Every K-5 classroom incorporates a writing process workshop that encourages students to develop their writing skills and express their voice through a range of forms that includes autobiography, creative writing, and research-based writing. Students are guided through all of the stages of writing, from brainstorming and generating ideas to drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
Speaking & Listening
Our curriculum develops students’ appreciation and understanding of the spoken word and enriches their vocabularies through conversational language and formal public speaking opportunities, such as all school assemblies. Students learn to express themselves comfortably and effectively through a range of speaking and listening exercises that include reading aloud, sharing stories, interviewing each other, performing in plays, and exchanging perspectives. Students often work in collaborative learning groups with an emphasis on reflection, problem-solving, and effective communication with other students and adults. Students gain experience in methods of active listening, which provides them with the tools for respectful listening to (and thoughtful consideration of) the perspectives of others.
The Bridges Mathematics (2nd edition) curriculum is a rigorous, comprehensive math curriculum for grades K–5 designed to address the NCTM math standards in a way that’s enjoyable and accessible to all learners. The curriculum focuses on developing in students a deep understanding of math concepts, proficiency with key skills, and the ability to solve new and complex problems. Learning activities tap into the intelligence and strengths all students have by presenting mathematically powerful material alive with language, pictures, and movement. Students are encouraged to find multiple ways to solve problems and show different ways of thinking. We also use problems from the Contexts for Learning program for deeper exploration. Projects, particularly in the older grades, provide opportunities for students to learn from one another, apply strategies taught during lessons, and develop purpose for their mathematical thinking, while also engaging in creative thought and constructive argumentation.
Using a hands-on approach to discovery and building on children’s natural curiosity, we are moving our program in alignment with the best of the Next Generation Science Standards, an approach where students “figure out” actively rather than “learn about” science passively from teachers. We give students opportunities to build and deepen their understanding, by making connections, engaging in sensemaking discussion, learning from mistakes, and engaging with tools and technologies to further their scientific literacy.
Students typically study life science, earth or space science, and physical science each year. Mixed age classrooms alternate science topics from one year to the next, so that all students receive the equivalent of a 1st/2nd or 4th/5th science education after two years in the class.
Our elementary school students learn what it means to think and act like a historian or anthropologist. They’re able to discern their place in history and the importance of history in their lives. In K-2nd grade, we focus on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, the needs of people throughout time, and human impact on the environment. Students build an appreciation of geologic and historical time and a timeline of life. In 3rd through 5th grade, students are asked to develop skills and knowledge in interpreting and analyzing primary and secondary sources. The curriculum includes the history of the United States of America, state of California, and local region. The roles and perspectives of immigrants, minorities, and ethnic identities are considered alongside (and as alternatives to) dominant historical narratives. Students are guided in studying the cultural identities of their families and their own personal histories.
Students build understanding of identity, diversity, justice, and action with their Changemaker curriculum. Through the lens of literacy and storytelling, students learn about human rights, gender, race, ethnicity, immigration, refugees, ability/ableism, Indigenous rights, workers’ rights, and socioeconomics. Learning about people who enacted change because of the inequities and inequalities they faced, students begin to see that anyone can become a changemaker. Working to understand systemic oppression through the interdisciplinary study of cultural studies, history, reading, writing, science, and art, and using the frame of why people move, 4th and 5th grade students address the issues faced by those who have been/and are currently being forced to move, including slaves, refugees, and immigrants. Students build understanding about similarities and differences, and about inequality and inequities in the culture and the system.
TBS teachers design Core Arts classes to build each child’s sense of agency and connection with various forms of self-expression.
Our Spanish classrooms are spaces where students feel comfortable taking risks as they work to acquire new language skills by speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
In K-5 Spanish classes students play games, sing songs, recite poems, tell and act out stories and plays, and explore the traditions and cultures of Spanish-speaking countries. Each class provides opportunities to develop oral language and conversational skills. Resources include research-based strategies such as GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Development), TPR (Total Physical Response), and TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling).
The music program at TBS is rooted in the Orff-Schulwerk, an approach to music instruction that celebrates children’s inherently playful nature through movement, rhythmic speech, singing, pitched percussion (xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels), and unpitched percussion (body percussion and drums). Students have the opportunity to sing, dance, play instruments, improvise, and compose every time they come to music class. They explore traditional and contemporary music as well as pieces drawn from the Orff-Schulwerk primary source volumes. Students typically enjoy 40-minute music classes twice a week in half-classes.
In the K-5 Art Studio at TBS, students receive dedicated time for art instruction and art making. They are introduced to art-making processes in two-dimensional and three-dimensional areas that include painting, drawing, photography, digital technology in art, sculpture, textiles, clay, and mixed media practices. We also use technology in service of viewing images of art and to take virtual visits to see how artists work in their studios. The TBS Art Studio experience offers students time to explore and deepen their skills of understanding materials in a given area. They learn how to “think like an artist”, developing 8 studio habits of mind, developed by Harvard’s Project Zero. By teaching thinking protocols in addition to the process of art making, we believe students learn how to transfer these ways of working and thinking to other areas of inquiry.
The K-2 physical education program focuses primarily on motor development and the student’s advancement in building a relationship with fitness and physical activity. With those components at the core of the program, students also receive enrichment in social and emotional learning and practicing what it means to be a good teammate or classmate. The three areas of focus for motor development are locomotor skills, stability skills, and manipulative skills.
Physical education in 3-5 focuses on developing four physical skills (overhead throwing, catching, striking and running to kick a ball), all of which focus on body mechanics, spatial awareness, and effort/force. In addition, we focus on developing two social skills: teamwork (including listening, questioning, persuading, respecting, helping, sharing, and participating) and sportsmanship (which combine skills of honesty, fairness, respect, and graciousness in winning and losing).
Our Responsive Classroom model builds a strong school climate through classroom management of
K – 8 Campus
1310 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
Early Childhood Campus
2030 Francisco Street
Berkeley, CA 94709