Nothing but a visit will really give you a complete picture of
our curriculum, but to whet your appetite for what we offer,
please take a look at a little snippet about each grade and
Parents often describe their children’s experience
in Pre-Kindergarten as magical. From the shady grove of the play
area, to the bright, colorful, and whimsical classroom, Pre-K is
infused with the wonder, curiosity, and creativity of our young
learners. Their master teachers create an environment rich with
opportunity to explore the world through a play-based,
developmentally appropriate, Reggio Emilia inspired program
infused with academic skill work that prepares our students for a
head start in our kindergarten program.
Each joy-filled day includes both structured and unstructured
time that builds vocabulary and communication skills; sharpens
powers of observation and reasoning; builds mathematical concepts
with number, shape, and spatial explorations; and develops the
fine motor skills that are necessary for success in school and
life. Students are introduced to the letters and their sounds
through the animal characters of Zoophonics — a multi-sensory,
fun, and engaging program to develop reading readiness.
Throughout this program of discovery and learning, the teachers
scaffold social relationships and foster self-initiated learning
strategies. The children learn to work independently and
cooperatively and build the skills to become masters of
friendship and inclusive problem solvers.
Pre-Kindergarten students thrive with visits to our beautiful
library, music and movement experiences, projects with our art
specialist, and daily Physical Education classes.
Our richly integrated literacy program supports and encourages a
broad range of learners to develop and extend early reading
skills and introduce them to decoding and encoding language.
Zoophonics and Readers Workshop, blended with other
well-researched methods create a balanced approach to reading
acquisition, giving students tools and strategies to put sounds
and symbols together with meaning.
Hands-on math experiences develop deep conceptual understandings
by discovering patterns in nature and within the number system;
learning the symbols of math and how to manipulate them in
equations; comparing and contrasting shapes, sizes, and
measurements; and developing spatial awareness.
Scientific explorations sharpen powers of observation, develop an
understanding of cause and effect and the ability to make
predictions and hypotheses, and focus on scientific vocabulary to
describe various phenomena in nature and the relationship of
living things to their habitats.
Daily experiences encourage children to communicate their ideas
and feelings through art, music, and dramatic play. The children
develop empathy for others and the skills and vocabulary to
navigate the social scene and resolve conflicts happily and
peacefully. Students are introduced to world language and culture
through lessons in French and Spanish. Our specially trained
Movement Education experts nurture students’ bodies as well as
their hearts and minds with activities that emphasize health,
sportsmanship, and caring for others. Our stunning library
introduces them to a wide world of literature, and our art
specialist steeps them in fine art creation and appreciation.
They become comfortable public speakers and performers through
our music and performing arts program.
Exploding with color and creativity, our first grade classrooms
set the scene for a dynamic program of integrated learning.
Thematic units of study blend rich explorations of literature,
artistic expression, creative fiction and non-fiction writing,
and hands-on experiences to promote understanding and concept
Field trips take our scholars into the world to experience
first-hand the ideas they are exploring in their classrooms. With
a focus on the individual learner’s unique skills and challenges,
students are nurtured and supported to grow at their own pace so
that the learning stretches them appropriately without creating
anxiety or stress. Readers and Writers Workshop engage students
at their individual level and pace for literacy and give them
tools to explore the world and express their learning and ideas.
Real-life problems develop essential reasoning skills while
building deep understanding of the patterns and functions that
are the basis of mathematical concepts. Science and social
studies often provide the framework through which language arts
and math skills are interconnected. Respect and compassion for
and among the children is intrinsic in the environment, and
kindness and peaceful conflict resolution are modeled and
Visits to our beautiful library, lessons in world language and
culture, music and performing arts, projects with our art
specialist, and daily physical education round out a first grade
program that honors and nurtures the whole child.
Second grade is steeped in the wonder of discovery as children
develop their focus beyond themselves to understand more about
the bigger world around them. Students grow in their independence
and in their responsibility to themselves and to each other, to
their classroom community, and to the greater world.
Science explorations bring students into closer connection with
their environment. We open their eyes wider, but also focus on
small details, as we build observation skills and introduce the
scientific method. Social studies allow them to know and
appreciate the contributions and impacts of a diverse community
of world citizens. Language and reading skills are individually
nurtured through Readers and Writers workshop techniques so that
children may grow at their own pace to become more independent
readers. Our budding mathematicians develop number sense as they
look for patterns, connect math to everyday activities like
telling time and using money, begin working with larger numbers
and play games that build fluency, and read and write story
problems that develop their problem solving skills.
Our art specialist, librarian, music, world language, and P.E.
teachers work with the second grade teachers to ensure that their
programs integrate with the activities in the classroom to deepen
and extend the learning.
Ahoy, Mateys! The third grade adventure begins on the
seven seas as our swashbucklers embark on an epic voyage of
exploration and discovery. Living history engages the students as
they delve into the colonization of America, creating a
Smithsonian-like experience for our study of early American life.
Active and engaged, our third graders are immersed in a classroom
that puts creativity and critical thinking ahead of the simple
acquisition of facts.
Students develop their reading and writing skills to gather,
evaluate, and share information. Third graders begin to
understand the interconnectedness of habitats and inhabitants as
well as their own impact on others and their environment. Math
concepts deepen as their understanding of patterns and functions
are applied to real life situations and basic math facts become
more automatic. As they are given more responsibility for their
individual work, students become better organized and better
managers of their time and materials.
Enrichment in music, art, literature, world language, and
physical education round out a complete educational program.
A parent once said, “At other schools you get to read
about John Sutter. At Country Day you get to be John Sutter.” In
4th grade we really put the “live” into Living History!
Opportunities abound for students to express themselves in
writing, public speaking, and role-playing as students research
the folks who have impacted the growth of California. The rich
natural environment and history of California serves as the
central theme of 4th grade studies.
Hands-on, experiential, literature-enriched, and project-based,
our curriculum encourages children to find the connections among
the literary, historical, and scientific information that make
their learning truly meaningful.
As cross-curricular themes are explored both cooperatively and
independently, children build a framework for understanding and
analyzing cause and effect and interdependence. Mathematical
activities build on the concepts introduced in earlier grades and
put those skills to use to solve real-world problems. Technology
is integrated into activities and enhances research, practice,
and presentation skills.
Specialists provide instruction in performing and visual arts,
world language and culture, library skills, and physical
Thinkers, explorers, scientists, problem solvers, data
collectors, poets, artists and performers our 5th graders are
busy making sense of increasingly abstract concepts and building
a sophisticated set of tools to express themselves and
demonstrate their understanding and solve problems.
Independence and self-reliance grow as students take on more
responsibility for their own learning. With the safety net of a
supportive relationship with caring teachers, students are
encouraged to stretch their wings, solve their own problems, and
advocate for their own learning.
In preparation for middle school departmentalization, 5th graders
are responsible to two main academic teachers- one for math and
science, the other for language arts and history. The teachers
work closely together to integrate their subjects as much as
Team building activities and discussions help students develop
their core values and learn to support and appreciate each other
as they begin to experience the joys and challenges of the
transition into early adolescence. Their development as kind and
empathetic people is as important to us as their academic
A more academic approach to world culture and language brings
them additional responsibility, as does learning an instrument
for the band or orchestra. Daily physical education helps channel
some of their energy and enthusiasm into healthy choices.
Following the retirement of long-time teachers Barbara
Fackenthall and Donna Manning, Sacramento Country Day School has
a new Pre-Kindergarten Team.
We hope you are as excited to meet them as they are to meet you.
Mitzi Mapa Contes, Director of Pre-Kindergarten
Mitzi has a degree in Elementary Education with a specialization
in Early Childhood Education from Assumption College and comes to
us after 20 years experience at international and American
schools, most recently at the Alt School in San Francisco where
she was Head of School. She is trained in Reggio Emilia practices
and has been a trainer for the International Baccalaureate
Primary Years Program. A professional percussionist and
photographer, Mitzi has taught other educators how to promote
diversity in the classroom through art, music, and photography.
Hi! I’m Ms. Mitzi and I am so excited to be one of
your Pre-K teachers this year. I have been teaching children for
a very long time but like most of you, this will be my first year
at Sacramento Country Day School so we will be exploring and
learning lots of new things together! I was born in Manila but I
have lived in many different countries. I moved to Sacramento a
few years ago and now live with my husband and our beautiful
black Labrador, Kit. She is a service dog and works with young
children and adults that need help. Maybe one day you will get to
meet her. I am a teacher but I am also a photographer, an artist
and a percussionist. I can’t wait to paint, make and create with
all of you! I also love reading and my favorites stories are “The
Story of Ferdinand” and “Tikki Tikki Tembo.” This summer, I
am flying home to the Philippines and Japan and I look forward to
sharing my summer adventures with you. See you soon!
Stephanie Castillo, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
Stephanie has an M.A. in Education and an Educational Specialist
Hi! I’m Ms. Stephanie and I cannot wait to be one of
your teachers this year too! Like Ms. Mitzi, this is my first
year at Country Day as a Pre-K teacher, but my 12th year I have
been lucky enough to be teaching preschool kiddos like you! My
favorite area in the classroom so far is anywhere there are
books! Wait… that might be all the areas of the room!! YEA!! My
favorite books when I was a little girl were “Sylvester and the
Magic Pebble” by William Steig and the “Whose Mouse are
You” by Robert Kraus. I love all animals, but if I could be
any animal in the world I would be a cat! Or maybe a dragon!
Maybe I would be a cat dragon! What would you be if you could be
any animal? I can’t wait to find out!!
Brittany Torretta, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
Brittany has a B.A. from California State University, Chico
and an M.A., University of Phoenix.
Hi! I’m Ms. Brittany and I’ll be one of your
teachers this year. This is my second year teaching in Pre-K at
Sacramento Country Day school. I’m so excited to meet each and
everyone one of you! I live in Midtown and have a golden
retriever named Jazzee. I love spending time with my friends and
family. I also enjoy cooking up something fun in the kitchen. My
favorite book is “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. I
can’t wait to hear what your favorite book is! Something exciting
I did this summer was travel around Canada with my best friend.
Hope you’re enjoying your summer vacation and I will see you