Welcome to Alice and Nahum Lainer School's Lower School, where students engage deeply in learning and develop meaningful relationships with fellow students and teachers. Students enter our school ready to undertake their journey to unlock the worlds of reading, writing and math. They go on to our Middle School as independent learners who make deep connections to new material and have an emerging understanding of the world around them. If you haven't visited yet, come take a tour
Teaching on the Cutting Edge
We use the workshop approach for teaching reading and writing, allowing students to practice the skills of accomplished readers and authors. Critical thinking skills developed in Jewish text study translate into every aspect of our academic program, and our students learn Hebrew starting in kindergarten, which helps them develop the cognitive skills and mental flexibility needed to achieve across our rigorous curriculum.
Our curriculum fosters computational literacy and a deep understanding of mathematical concepts, reasoning and observational and interpretive skills whether students are using manipulatives to solve a complex math challenge or recording lab-based experiments in diagrams and models.
A Vibrant Jewish Curriculum
Daily t’fillot, holiday rituals, immersive Hebrew, Jewish history, critical analysis of Torah and rabbinic texts and active engagement with Jewish thought and the land of Israel root Sinai Akiba students in their Jewish heritage and inspire them to contribute to our ongoing cultural narrative. Focused and ongoing projects with local, national and international organizations and communities help our students repair the world and light the future with their courage, compassion and commitment to helping others. In Lower School Judaic Studies, students are immersed in Jewish values, heritage, texts, and language. Students learn to lead prayers, read from the Torah, perform Jewish rituals and mitzvot, connect to Israel in a multitude of ways, and take pride in being Jewish.
We are partnering with local, national and international businesses and universities—with a special focus on American Jewish innovators and Silicon Wadi in Israel—to bring the most current, challenging STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) practices to even our youngest learners, and all through a Jewish lens. Our technology education doesn’t just happen in a lab, but is integrated seamlessly across the curriculum. Our children become inventors and problem solvers in real contexts. Yes, even the five-year-olds. Click here
to watch a video about the J-STEAM program and vision.
The World is Our Classroom
Learning reaches far beyond the classroom walls. Each year our students connect with working artists, scientists and politicians as well as attend performing arts events and visit museums, civic institutions, living history centers and nature preserves. Annual trips in the Lower School include travel to local campsites, Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
Each Child is a Unique Learner
With in-class differentiated learning that focuses on each child’s strengths, small group and one-on-one learning support and an expanding gifted program, we meet the individual needs of all our students. Our staff includes a school psychologist, a team of educational therapists and an on-site gifted coordinator.
Running and Jumping and Climbing, Oh My…
All Alice and Nahum Lainer School physical education is taught as part of an overall curriculum that emphasizes wellness and physical fitness. We have an Athletic Director plus PE coaches. Our facilities include a hardwood gym with regulation-size basketball court, an indoor/outdoor gym with basketball courts and a large climbing wall and a shaded rooftop playground with a wide-variety of athletic equipment.
Our kindergarteners enjoy twice daily outdoor play on our park-like play yard, designed with natural materials and colors and textures borrowed from nature. With features designed to develop meta-cognition, motor skills, reasoning abilities and wild imaginations, our play yard is truly an outdoor classroom. Kindergarten students also have formal PE twice a week.
Lower School students in grades 1-5 have twice daily recess plus PE three times per week. Students rotate between gyms in which our carefully crafted PE curriculum integrates game play, teamwork, gross and fine motor skills and sport instruction.
Beginning in fifth grade, students can join our intermural basketball, soccer, volleyball and flag football teams. The Sinai Akiba Jaguars are frequent championship winners and, more importantly, foster sportsmanship, leadership and collaboration. Even better? We have league teams for all different levels so that kids who want to play can.
It’s All About Community
Every morning for every student at Alice and Nahum Lainer School begins with Morning Meeting. The classroom communities come to life through teacher-guided, student-directed exercises in which children experience a daily sense of meaning and belonging in their classrooms. It’s part of the Responsive Classroom philosophy, a research- and evidence-based approach that is associated with greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and improved school climate.