One of the many reasons that independent schools such as Lake Tahoe School exist and continue to thrive in our country is the strong desire on the part of parents to expose their children to much more than the core curriculum. Enrichments such as art, foreign language, music, science, technology, adventure learning, health, and physical education allow children to truly explore who they are and what makes them tick. They are, as advertised – life enriching and sustaining – and Lake Tahoe School is deeply invested in delivering an exciting array of enrichments to our students, taught by passionate and talented artists, linguists, scientists, musicians, and athletes. Our enrichments are available to all of our students – from PK through eighth grade – and are consistently noted as one of the reasons why parents re-enroll their children in Lake Tahoe School year after year.
Lake Tahoe School is blessed with dedicated spaces for middle school science, PreK-5th science, art, music, Spanish, and an expansive MakerSpace.
MakerSpace & Technology
LTS MakerSpace encompasses a slew of skills and topics that tap into children’s innate creative instincts, ranging from woodworking projects to computer programming, all centered on developing problem-solving, critical-thinking skills. Starting in PreK-4 thru 5th grade, students eagerly anticipate MakerSpace class, where they might be challenged to build the tallest tower, program quadcopters or robots, or solve a number of Johns Hopkins CTY style-engineering challenges such as building load-bearing drawbridges out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands. Children learn to use and appreciate tools, ranging from hand tools to professional grade power tools to computers. We build boxes, robotic arduino cars, rockets that fly hundreds of feet, and use a lathe to turn high quality beautiful pens. In our one-of-a-kind LTS MakerSpace, we’ve even made “radioactive cupcakes,” where we pretend the ingredients are radioactive and need to devise tools to allow the students to crack the eggs, open the box, mix the batter, pour it into cupcake tins all from a distance of over 3 feet. In a word, LTS MakerSpace is fun. It is also educational, challenging, and intriguing.
In the middle school, students come to MakerSpace to learn Java Programming, Computer Aided Design (CAD), digital photography, and even small business. In the small business class, students prepare business plans, forecasts using spreadsheets, and a presentation, all in preparation for an evening in front of adult community members in the LTS Shark Tank. Students negotiate with adults who expect to make a profit off their investment, then set about implementing their business plans and selling their wares, culminating with repaying the sharks and divvying up the profits. It is fun and super educational. The lessons learned will be lasting precisely because of the hands-on real world experience.
Featuring dedicated science labs for both PreK-5th and 6th-8th grades, Lake Tahoe School’s science program offers a virtually unparalleled exploration of Earth and Space, Life, and Physical Sciences. Students are exposed to meaningful science experiences at an early age both in the classroom/lab setting and outdoors in various ecosystems. Preschool science curriculum centers on active exploration of our natural world and its phenomena to nurture a child’s natural inclination toward discovery, and coincides with predetermined weekly themes. Scientific inquiry in subsequent grades (K and beyond) is structured as an intentional, three-year rotation of studies among Earth and Space, Life, and Physical Sciences. Elementary science focuses on building essential scientific process skills and conceptual knowledge to prepare students best for the challenges of middle school science. Taken as a whole, the middle school science program is designed to provide the breadth of knowledge and experience necessary to prepare students for higher-level science courses, while simultaneously inspiring wonder and nurturing an interest in the complexities of the natural world.
Lake Tahoe School’s highly regarded science program has historically produced winning submissions annually at the Western Nevada Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Multiple science-focused experiential learning trips are provided in each grade. Participation in the school’s annual science fair is considered a fundamental rite of passage. Science is an enrichment course in the lower school and a required core class in the middle school.
LTS Spanish classes actively engage students in the target language and strive to instill an appreciation and respect for of the cultures of the vibrant and growing Spanish-speaking community in the Tahoe Basin and well beyond our country’s borders. Students who study Spanish at Lake Tahoe School will be able to successfully navigate a diversity of open-ended cross-cultural situations waiting in the real world. By building the Spanish skills necessary to interact with the world around them and encouraging exploration of Spanish speaking cultures, students leave LTS with the foundational skills to succeed in high school level courses, as well as develop an appreciation for diverse cultures.
In the lower elementary school, students receive Spanish instruction in a dedicated language classroom twice a week starting in Pre K 4, optimizing the critical language developmental years and providing a solid foundation for future success. Through engaging activities, cooperative games, storybooks, songs, and dance, students build vocabulary and develop a love for learning a foreign language that will last a lifetime. At the middle school level, Spanish is considered a core class, meaning students receive language instruction daily. The award-winning and engaging Realidades series is the framework used to build critical grammatical constructions necessary for effective speaking, writing, and reading skills. Conversational Spanish is a major area of emphasis, and middle school students explore various cultural themes including cooking, dance, music, and traditional celebrations.
At LTS, all students are exposed to a wide range of music experiences including singing, movement, instrument technique, theory, creative experiences, and appreciation.This program strives to meet the national and state standards for music education at all grade levels. Preschool students attend two thirty minute classes per week accompanied by their classroom teachers. Kindergarten through fifth grade students attend two forty-five minute classes per week. Middle school students attend three fifty minute classes per week for one trimester.
Orff-Schulwerk, Kodaly, and Dalcroze music methodologies of instruction are utilized. Students are introduced to musical notation and instrumentation through these methods which allow them to experience music in the most natural way possible. Preschool and kindergarten students work with a variety of rhythm instruments. In second grade, the instrument of focus is the handbell, the third graders play recorder, and fourth and fifth grade students are introduced to ukulele and guitar. The middle school students work with a variety of the instruments listed above as well give attention to music technology. LTS students also have the opportunity to experience performing arts with two concerts during the course of the school year.
Through music, students will be participating in activities that require them to be actively engaged, creative, disciplined and flexible, and to work cooperatively with others. At times and when appropriate, the music program integrates with classroom themes of study.
The Elementary Art program includes a wide variety of projects that range in media and build upon previously acquired skills. The vocabulary of art is used from the very first art experiences in Kindergarten, gradually increasing in complexity and application. The Art program includes skill development in drawing and sketching, painting, printmaking, and ceramics. Each medium is introduced and revisited multiple times within the six-year elementary art experience, strengthening each student’s understanding and facility in each medium. K – 5th graders attend art and music enrichment classes twice per week.
The Middle School visual arts program provides students with hands-on experiences through a variety of mediums including watercolors, tempera and acrylic paints, mixed media collage, clay and printmaking. The curriculum is intended to help students develop self-awareness, self-esteem, self-discipline, collaboration, and motivation; it is geared to help them feel successful. 6th-grade students attend art and music enrichment classes four times per week for a trimester, while 7th and 8th grade students are offered electives, including ceramics, watercolor painting, mural design, mixed media, drama, and various music classes. Art-related after-school programs include: hike and sketch, art club, ceramics, and drama clubs/performances.
Communication and personal expression are emphasized and fostered through art talks and formal critiques throughout each course. Additionally, working in a studio environment encourages the development of life-skills such as perseverance, organization, cooperation and self-motivation. For a deeper dive into our art program, please visit (insert URL to Arts page here).
The active Tahoe lifestyle in general and the LTS Physical Education (PE) curriculum in particular translate quickly and naturally to a lifelong love of healthy physical exertion indoors and outdoors. The social, cognitive, and physical benefits of maintaining a physically active lifestyle are modeled throughout the school and reinforced during LTS Physical Education classes. The principle objectives of the physical education program are to develop attitudes, skills and knowledge of human movement in each student that will result in a lifetime of participation in physical activity and to provide a curriculum where students are exposed to a wide variety of movement activities and sports. PE classes also provide a natural environment for the further development of the student’s social skills. Group cooperation, teamwork, leadership, trust, and problem-solving skills are important parts of the overall physical education experience.
In LTS PE classes, all students encounter opportunities varying by season to develop strength, self-esteem and endurance. Fall classes typically include soccer, tennis, beach volleyball, football, and rugby. Examples of winter activities include team handball, volleyball, basketball, yoga, and floor hockey. In the spring, students swim and play lacrosse, ultimate Frisbee, baseball. In all classes, participation, sportsmanship, and a positive attitude are emphasized so that students of any ability can develop confidence and be challenged in a way that helps maximize their physical potential.
Lake Tahoe School recognizes and promotes the importance of building healthy bodies and healthy minds for all students. Starting in the elementary grades, students attend LTS Health classes throughout the year with a focus on social and emotional growth, friendships, anti-bullying, cyberbullying, nutrition, and anatomy. In middle school, students attend trimester long courses that explore these topics with more depth and understanding.