At VHM Christian, we believe that school is not only an academic program, but a well-rounded educational experience that will lead to a life-long love of learning. We accomplish this by encouraging intellectual curiosity in a variety of forms, from traditional academics to art and music--all in the context of small class sizes and focused, personal attention from our teachers.
Classes also integrate faith as a core part of the curriculum. As a Seventh-day Adventist school, VHM focuses on inviting students to choose Christianity as a way of life. The day begins with a brief morning worship. Bible classes are taught daily and reflect Bible-based Seventh-day Adventist beliefs. A week of spiritual emphasis, featuring special speakers, is held once each semester. Students are also mentored in character development and ethical discernment in hopes that they will grow to be compassionate, wise, and contributing citizens of society.
As a result of our deep commitment, students at VHM Christian consistently achieve more than a year's worth of academic growth in all key areas measured on nationally standardized tests.
VHM Christian has the blessing of technology on our campus. Grades 1-8 we offer one to one Chromebook program in which students learn keyboarding, internet skills, word processing and applications, presentation software and other integral technology concepts. While technology is integrated into all aspects of our curriculum our teachers choose to limit screen time at in order to encourage other important academic areas.
Visit the North American Division of SDA Education web page to learn more about specific technical aspects of Seventh-day Adventist Curriculum.
Kindergarten offers a gentle transition into elementary school by making learning a fun adventure. Our Stepping Stones Curriculum is a Creation-based program that focuses on friends learning to respect and care for each other. They learn early phonics, reading, writing, and math skills. In this first year, art is primary medium of expression and literature-based, thematic instruction builds a love of learning. And the systematic preparation for reading, writing, and math is skillfully woven into the curriculum through creative, hands-on activities.
This philosophy of "learning as a fun adventure" is reflected in the classroom's environment. The walls are lined with student art, there are centers where students can feel comfortable to learn, play, or read. Students move and change activities frequently throughout the day, and have a rest period following lunch.
Reading takes center stage in first grade, as students go deeper into the study of phonics. Our literature-based language arts program, known as Pathways 2.0 begins here and continues through grade 8. Students begin to read regularly in class, and they are also encouraged to read at home with their families. Spelling and writing become a regular part of the weekly assignments.
For math, the curriculum takes on a hands-on approach, using a variety of tools to cement core concepts. Students aim to master basic addition and subtraction by the end of the year. Early multiplication facts are practiced.
Students are engaged in hands on learning adventures and many activities that help them to learn ways to work together with classmates in core learning activities which include science and social studies.
In first grade, we also begin to offer sensitive and skilled interventions for students with learning differences.
Second grade continues to build on the Pathways 2.0 language arts curriculum. This provides a solid phonics base, strong spelling, reading, and writing skills. As students graduate to more complex reading material, the curriculum actively engages the readers in thoughtful reflections about literature.
In math, students focus on building addition and subtraction skills, along with proficiency in solving word problems. Concepts include early measurement, equations, fractions, and geometry.
Third graders begin using Typing Pal, along with along with other internet based reading and math programs to enhance their engaged learning time with technology.
The world of knowledge and information open up as students use their reading skills to learn about the world and its people. Reading and writing expectations are upgraded with the addition of weekly book reports along with their reading logs. Students are taught how to research, write, and then creatively implement their findings in projects during the course of the year. The Literature-Based Pathways language arts curriculum insures that a standards are well addressed.
Instruction in Science and Social Studies is integrated in the literature program and also taught as a standards-based curriculum.
In math, the curriculum focuses on basic multiplication, division, geometry, measurement, fractions, and mastering the word problem. Students are also taught how to work together in group projects in an effort to teach collaboration, trust, and respect.
Every other year students have the opportunity to spend a week at Rock and Water, a 49er history trip to learn about California's gold rush days. Every year, students participate in the Life Lab Garden Project and attend monthly educational field trips.
History comes alive in the fourth grade as students dive into lessons about geography, U.S. states, and more. Reading and writing expectations increase in their challenge as students explore nine themes throughout the year in the Pathways 2.0 Language Arts curriculum. Students are taught how to research, write, and then creatively implement their findings in a final history project that is the highlight of the year.
In math, the curriculum focuses on mastering multiplication and division and applying it to everyday life situations. Students also learn fractions, multiples, geometric concepts, and early algebraic thinking.
Science concepts include: Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes, Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics, Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits, Life: Origins, Unity, and Diversity.
This year and next, music instruction and vocal and instrumental performance becomes much more engaging.
Every other year 4th graders have the opportunity to spend a week with the third grade class at Rock and Water, a 49er history trip to learn about California's gold rush days.
Along with continued progress in the basic academic arenas--such as reading and math--fifth grade dives deeper into science. During the year, students study animal and plant cells, animal classification, and also the human reproductive system. They will begin to construct models, analyze and interpret data, and construct arguments.
In the spring, students take a three-day trip to Alliance Redwoods, located in Sonoma county. While there, the class will investigate the rich and diverse natural history of the Northern California coastal environment.
In social studies, students will focus on U.S. history, from Native Americans to World War II.
In fifth grade, students are taught to think, not just repeat facts, as they develop an enduring love of learning and inquiry.
In sixth grade, students hone their skills in writing and public presentation by learning how to critically analyze literature and participate in class discussions. Students are expected to actively own and defend their perspectives on a range of subjects, while respecting and valuing the input of others. They will greater personal responsibility for learning and behaviors, respect for issues involving health and wellness, and dive into the world of physical science.
Lessons are also presented in a variety of formats to ensure active learning for many different styles of learners—including through technology, project-based learning, classroom presentations, and music. The goal is to encourage character growth, instill a love for learning, and to build classroom community.
Sixth graders also are blessed to attend the Alliance Redwoods Outdoor Education Adventure in the spring with the Fifth graders.
Beyond the standard academic curriculum, students in seventh grade strengthen their self-management skills and organizational abilities. There is a strong emphasis in taking responsibility for their own learning and in meeting deadlines in a timely fashion. By the time the students complete seventh grade, the goal is to have graduated a more mature and responsible teenager.
In the Pathways 2.0 Language Arts Curriculum, students will learn to cite multiple pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says both explicitly and implicitly, determine a theme and analyze its development throughout the text, and provide an objective summary of the text. The ability to determine the meaning of words and phrases in context, including figurative and connotative meanings, and analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text develops in students at this level. A greater focus is placed on the integration of knowledge and ideas.
Outdoor experiences, science museums, and the San Francisco Symphony are highlights of 7th and 8th grade field trips. Mathematics includes greater algebraic thinking, geometric concepts, and the study of statistics and probability.
In the final year at VHM Christian, the goal is to prepare students for entry into high school. There is a strong emphasis on writing across the curriculum, and the math program allows for acceleration into algebra; students are prepared for honors math in secondary school. Students become skilled users of technology tools, as they use Chromebook computers daily. As they explore the development of individual identities, there will be an emphasis on learning about power, authority, governance, as well as production, distribution, and consumption of goods.
Outdoor education continues in eighth grade with camping, backpacking, and a five day trip to Camp Wawona in Yosemite National Park, where the class focuses on specific outdoor learning activities centered in Yosemite.