TK–5 Overview

Our Learning Model

Our learning model allows students to achieve their fullest potential by supporting their academic growth, emotional development and understanding the diversity around them.

At CWC, we focus on Academics, Social Emotional Development (often referred to as SED), and Difference & Inclusion. SED and Difference & Inclusion work is done with students, staff and parent community – that’s how deeply this work is embedded into our school.

In order for students to thrive, we set out to cultivate mindsets and skills to support their learning and development. Our ultimate outcomes for our students are our Graduate Dispositions that embody habits of character and mind. Success in these dispositions will empower students to flourish in a diverse and global society. 


These dispositions reflect the qualities our graduates will possess internally. 


These dispositions reflect the qualities our graduates will demonstrate in relationship with others, both one-on-one and within communities.


These dispositions reflect the qualities our graduates demonstrate as they engage in the world at large. 


Self-Understanding: Identifies and understands one’s own emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Understands one’s passions, strengths and limitations. Recognizes the impact of context and others’ perceptions, and uses self-awareness to respond thoughtfully. Engages in continuous self-reflection.
Self-Efficacy: Independent, disciplined and self-motivated. Consistently sets and achieves goals.
Critical Thinking: Analyzes, evaluates and applies information to ask questions, develop ideas, construct arguments and solve problems. Considers multiple perspectives, both from the past and present, when analyzing situations.
Adaptability: At ease with ambiguity and the unknown, knowing that it is an important step to finding clarity. Open-minded and able to manage rapid growth, change and disruption.


Connection: Expresses ideas and thoughts through verbal, nonverbal and written communication. Adjusts communication based on the purpose of the message, context and audience. Builds understanding by listening, asking questions, testing assumptions, and applying examples. Internalizes multiple viewpoints to inform communications.
Collaboration: Learns cooperatively with others to achieve a common or complementary goal. Encourages the contributions of others, through active listening, providing feedback and drawing on individual strengths. Responds to group dynamics, including issues of power and control.
Cultural Competency: Understands one’s own identity and story. Can initiate and build constructive relationships with others, across lines of difference. Understands issues of privilege and power, as well as one’s cultural norms and biases. Leads across diverse groups in different contexts, using an asset-based lens.
Empathy: Acts with kindness and compassion towards living and nonliving aspects of one’s environment. Senses how another person feels, and can take another’s perspective.


Systems Thinking: Sees the connections and relationships between things (people, places and ideas) over time. Identifies and predicts complex patterns of behavior. Connects seemingly unrelated ideas to solve problems, innovate, and imagine new ways.
Global Advocacy: Evaluates issues from multiple perspectives and identifies the role one can play to promote change locally and in the world. Acts courageously, making sacrifices for the greater good. Works alongside others as global citizens to pursue justice with shared respect for human dignity.
Lifelong Learning: Demonstrates curiosity and the desire to discover new things. Asks complex questions to develop understanding. Has deep and broad content knowledge.

Instructional Approach

CWC prides itself on having a broad definition of how we measure success for our students. Connected to our work across the 3 strands of our Learning Model, we make efforts to build student competency and skill in not only academic content, but in social emotional development and civic engagement. Beyond cultivating a group of readers, writers, and mathematicians, we also work to develop students who know how to meaningfully connect with one another and how to be a part of a community. We hope students have cultivated a set of dispositions and skills that will ultimately prepare them to courageously envision hopes and changes for the world and how to make those changes a reality.

Our curriculum is grounded in rich educational theories of learning and realized through evidenced-based instructional practices. Our teachers use a variety of approaches and practices to plan lessons and engage students in rich and meaningful learning. The following components help us bring this theory to life in each classroom:


Constructivism is a theory of learning based on the premise that knowledge is built (or constructed) upon earlier knowledge.

We structure learning to build on what students already know and support them in revising and refining their understanding as they work toward mastery. In addition to content knowledge, our students engage in learning processes that develop conceptual understanding and self-knowledge.

Developing the Whole Child

CWC believes that learning experiences should give students the ability to engage in and make use of their multiple intelligences. This belief drives us to create rigorous, creative and joyful academic experiences that integrate across subjects.

Project-based learning may include both science and math concepts, and we also offer music, P.E. and visual and performing arts (varies by school) to develop musical, bodily-kinesthetic, and spatial intelligences to all students during their career at CWC. Across the school day, we believe our learning model helps children see invaluable connections between disciplines, all of which promotes their ability to creatively and critically think and problem-solve through complex real-world issues. Middle school students are also able to participate in clubs generated by student interests and competitive athletics.

Project-Based/Inquiry Learning

Project-based learning or “inquiry” facilitates the constructivist approach. ​Inquiry Learning integrates skills and knowledge through meaningful and engaging projects that make abstract learning concepts concrete.

As reflective learners, children connect what they learn to their own lives. Teachers strive to teach for understanding, ensuring that students deeply internalize what they learn and are, in turn, able to apply what they learn to new and different circumstances and contexts. Within the CWC learning model, Inquiry lives most fully within our science/social studies instructional blocks.

Workshop-Based Small Group Instruction

The workshop model is a way in which we structure our classrooms and, particularly, our literacy and mathematics learning blocks. These workshop structures ensure that instruction is tailored and appropriate for students’ current understandings, needs and personal experiences.

Moments in the day like Math, Reader’s or Writer’s Workshop have some whole group instruction/discussion and include more time for small group/partner work, differentiated learning and independent practice. To make this happen, teachers take time to get to know each child as an individual and receive the support, data, and resources they need to adapt instruction to the needs of diverse learners. Our goal is for students to  connect what they learn to their own lives, making learning meaningful for all. 

We firmly believe that with strong teaching in the classroom supported by targeted intervention as needed, every child can meet or exceed grade level expectations that are academic, social, or behavioral in nature. We recognize that students learn in different ways and we adjust our teaching to maximize the learning potential of every child.

CWC Los Angeles schools achieve strong academic performance and community engagement.
Learn more about our
Results and Data.

TK-5 Curriculum

A New Generation of Leaders

CWC Silver Lake’s academic program reflects our broad objective of enabling our students to become self-motivated, competent, life-long learners. Based on our core beliefs of how learning best occurs, we establish the foundation for students’ current and future development as learners. Our curriculum is aligned with national and state standards.

English Language Arts

The overarching goal for TK-5 English Language Arts instruction is to ensure that students are able to develop and utilize improved communication skills, vocabularies, and writing abilities in an authentic manner. 

CWC uses a Balanced Literacy approach, which includes methods such as: 

  • Reader’s and Writer’s workshop
  • Phonics Instruction
  • Interactive Read-Aloud
  • Interactive/Shared Reading & Writing
  • Independent & Guided Reading

Science & Social Studies Inquiry Projects

At the elementary level, students engage in study of historical topics and scientific exploration through hands-on projects that utilize an interdisciplinary approach. Inquiry projects invite students to examine real-life topics and questions that tie to authentic topics of interest. 

Social studies learning, while often tied to learning something historical, will almost always connect as well to current everyday issues that are developmentally appropriate for every grade level. Inquiry projects are often the place where students delve into related learning about civic engagement, social justice and how to become a positive changemaker in one’s community.  Inquiry learning is also a place where relevant diversity, equity and inclusion topics are tied in.  

Science-focused inquiry learning aligns to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and includes physical science, life science, and earth-systems science. Methods of all science courses include the tools of science (e.g., technology, hands-on materials) and support the development of the reading, writing, analysis, and communication skills students need to become science-literate.  Lab experimentation allows students to test their hypotheses.  

Projects could include: 

  • Building Healthy Communities (K)
  • Biodiversity and Interdependence of Ocean Habitats (1st Grade)
  • Survival & Sustainability on Mars: Exploring How An Engineer Would Live in Space (3rd Grade)
  • Re-Imagining the California Mission (4th Grade)

Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) problem solving is a core framework for CWC’s Math Workshop. CGI is an educational philosophy that capitalizes on over 20 years of research showing that students come to school with rich informal systems of mathematical knowledge and problem-solving strategies that serve as a basis for learning mathematics. 

Across grades K-8, CWC LA utilizes the Illustrative Mathematics curriculum to make our CGI-aligned Math Workshop come to life. Illustrative Mathematics is a nationally regarded, standards aligned program.

Social Emotional Development

Students participate in daily community building activities and ongoing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons. The time and location of these lessons is different for every class and grade level, however CWC prides itself in not only having a dedicated block throughout the week for SEL but integrating it throughout all subjects and parts of the day, including outdoor play time. 

A number of tools have been blended together to create an SEL program that specifically develops skills in:

  • self-recognition and self-management of one’s emotions
  • an understanding of others including empathy and perspective-taking
  • decision making, problem-solving and resolving conflict

SED Components may include: 

  • Mindfulness exercises
  • Peace Corners
  • Instruction and practice with SED “Cool Tools”
  • Morning Meeting
  • Community Circles and Class Meetings for group problem-solving and community-building  
  • Integrated Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work


    School day “specials” vary slightly from one campus to the other and take place several times a week. 

    • Visual and Performing Arts (varies)
      Art, both visual and performing/drama, at CWC is an exploratory journey where children not only learn about art but also about themselves, their world and each other. Children learn artistic perception and aesthetic valuing, i.e. how to look and respond to works of art, culture, nature and the environment. This is often an area that is tied into other disciplines and is a vehicle for multicultural learning.
    • Physical Education (PE)
      In PE, students develop their confidence and skills with an emphasis on body and space awareness. Students learn personal versus shared space, fundamental locomotor, as well as non-locomotor, manipulative skills, and applications. Including a mixture of team sports and cooperative games/activities, our PE program is a joyful space that promotes good sportsmanship, fair team play, effective communication and other invaluable social-emotional skills.
    • Music
      CWC’s music program strives to provide children with opportunities to sing songs, play instruments and create musical compositions of their own. Children learn to describe music using the eight musical elements – melody, rhythm, harmony, dynamics, timbre, texture, structure and tempo. Children are exposed to music from different cultures, musical periods and rich musical traditions from around the world.

    Multicultural Studies
    CWC believes that children who learn about other cultures will be better able to function effectively in the 21st century and will view their neighborhood, city and world in a more informed, skillful and empathetic light. Many cultures and backgrounds are brought to students from outside the classroom through strategic choices of books, materials, music, food and more.  In many CWC schools, there is a language instructional component (often Spanish) that is offered throughout the week as well.

      CWC Silver Lake is growing!

      Find out more about our new Silver Lake middle school campus located only a few blocks from our elementary school campus. Come tour our elementary school campus to see our brand-new playground.

      Student Programs

      At CWC, student programming outside of school hours helps enhance our learning model. The team’s mission is to encourage and inspire students to be lifelong learners of self, community, and the world.

      Our menu of student program offerings are viewed as an opportunity to extend SEL practices. Student Programs are open to all students and have tiered fees (scholarships are also available).


      Morning Care

      After School Program


      Camp Citizens

      TK-8 Continuity

      There are many similarities and ties between our TK-5 and 6-8 models.  Our elementary and middle schools include programs that encompass the 3 strands of our Learning Model and at both levels, families can expect a learning experience that centers on inquiry and workshop-based instruction. While some curriculum choices are specific to lower or upper grades, CWC has worked hard to create a program where consistency and cohesiveness exists across all grades. For example, just as a 1st grader engages in Readers and Writers Workshop curriculum, a 7th grader experiences the same curriculum and structures at a more advanced middle-school level.  

      To read more about our 6-8 program, CLICK HERE.

      Inclusion of all Learners (Special Education)

      CWC Silver Lake strives to meet the needs of all students. This incorporates, but is not limited to those with an Individualized Education Plan (“IEP”) and 504 Plan. CWC Silver Lake is open to all students and will not discriminate on the basis of disability. CWC Silver Lake’s approach to educational support services is one of inclusion for a full spectrum of distinct learners. 

      CWC Silver Lake provides special education instruction and related services in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), Education Code requirements, and applicable policies and procedures of the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Students with identified physical, emotional, learning, or developmental disabilities have the right to placement in the least restrictive environment and shall receive special education services according to a written IEP. We offer high quality educational programs and services for all our students in accordance with the assessed needs of each student. We collaborate with parents, the student, teachers, and other agencies, as may be indicated, in order to appropriately serve the educational needs of each student.

      A Parent’s Guide to Special Education Services
      Individualized Education Program Meeting Guide

      For more information, please contact the TK-5 Director of Special Education. 

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