Lower School

At The Riviera Ridge School, students begin in the Lower School Division with the primary goal of supporting the whole child. We partner with families to share their journey, watching each student grow intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically.
The Riviera Ridge School students are introduced to the exciting world of learning through a diverse array of subject areas taught by a dedicated, professional faculty that knows how to inspire a thirst for knowledge and a growth mindset in every child.  

Our engaging, innovative and hands-on curriculum encourages students to become lifelong learners and leaders among their peers. Critical thinking skills, collaboration, creativity, and communication are the focus and help to build each child’s skill set to meet challenges with self-confidence and the motivation to keep learning.

A Day in the Life

A day in the life of a Riviera Ridge student means explorations through technology, simulations, discussions, drama, and speech encouraging interest in our world. In Junior Kindergarten, visitors might see our youngest learners exploring the parts of a native tree in the sensory table, or becoming a veterinarian, chef, or architect through dramatic play and dress up.  

Our Kindergartners can be found making life-size posters of themselves, as they identify and place the organs and systems of the anatomy within their own human body. A play written, cast, costume designed, and performed by ambitious first graders is the norm at The Riviera Ridge School. Guests of The Riviera Ridge School would also see a poetry assembly of 2nd graders gathered in our historic Tea House as our poets share their unique and inspired works. 3rd grade visitors would observe a social club discussion revolving around empathy, respect for differences in beliefs and peaceful conflict resolution.

Innovation and design empower fourth graders to share about building, programming, and driving their robots across campus or launching their carefully crafted rockets into the sky. Observations of fifth graders conducting a math investigation using mile markers, distance, and layouts of a road race would not be uncommon nor would seeing small groups of students recording a conversation in Spanish against the backdrop of our green screen.  

When The Riviera Ridge School sets out to explore the world, exciting field trips to local cultural and historical sites such as symphony concerts, art and natural history museums, the Presidio and Casa de la Guerra, the botanic gardens, the Santa Barbara Mission, the UCSB Chemistry Lab and the Reagan Library are just a few of the stops. See our signature programs for more information about overnight trips beginning in 4th grade to the Santa Barbara Zoo, and culminating in 5th grade with Astro Camp, an exciting science camp that explores the mysteries of our universe. Anything is possible at The Riviera Ridge School!

Curriculum Overview

Kindergarten through 2nd Grade

List of 4 items.

  • Literacy

    During these foundational years, The Riviera Ridge School students are quick to discover an inviting new world of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Our literacy program is a blend of phonemic awareness and phonics instruction using the Imagine It! program and the reading and writing workshop approach found in the Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study. 

    The Riviera Ridge School’s uniquely designed  reading and writing workshop approach allows students to develop as readers and writers at their individual developmental level.  Our experienced and dedicated faculty provide a personalized curriculum for each student with a focus on vocabulary and specific comprehension strategies while promoting an enthusiastic love of reading. Don’t be surprised if by the 2nd grade, your child is proudly writing narratives, informational and persuasive pieces with ease and confidence.
  • Mathematics

    Math instruction in Kindergarten through 2nd grade focuses on gaining a firm foundation in number sense and numeration.  Using the celebrated and award-winning Singapore Math program, The Riviera Ridge School students are guided towards mastery in a variety of mathematical concepts.   

    From your child’s very first week of Kindergarten, activities in math (such as counting, patterning, graphing, and sorting) will be practiced daily. These hands-on math experiences support your child’s gradual transition from concrete to abstract thinking. The Riviera Ridge School’s program will enable your child to explore and grow in his or her understanding of numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems. Math at The Riviera Ridge Schoo includes a firm foundation in addition and subtraction, early concepts of multiplication and division, geometric shapes, measurement, data collection, and problem-solving for every child.
  • Science

    Innovation and discovery is at the heart of The Riviera Ridge School’s Lower School science curriculum. From the very early days of kindergarten, students are encouraged to be inquirers, explorers, problem solvers, and critical thinkers.  

    Students begin their science explorations focusing on animal and plant life cycles, studying the physical properties of objects and water through hands-on experimentation. The science curriculum grows as students study the different classifications of animals and plants and how animals adapt to their habitats. By 2nd grade, Riviera Ridge School students are integrating life, physical and earth science into their study of the sandy shore ecosystem. 2nd graders also participate in design thinking and engineering challenges throughout the school year.
  • Social Studies

    Social studies is fully infused into the Kindergarten-2nd grade curriculum. Beginning with Kindergarten, students begin to understand that history relates to events, people and places of other times. 1st grade students expand their knowledge with learning about their local and global communities.  2nd graders use in-depth design thinking challenges to focus on how our food gets from farm to table. In addition students creatively approach important family history and local history studies with project-based learning activities and community study tours to complete their social studies curriculum in 2nd grade.
Every day our students learn in small and whole groups, spend time working independently as well as on special projects. Using a hands-on approach, students are able to learn by doing, play, and experience each unit of study. 
With a progressive academic curriculum leading the way, it is purposefully integrated with social-emotional development through play, discovery, inquiry, literature, physical education, performing and visual arts, and technology.

3rd Through 5th Grade

Independent learning and motivation to empower life-long reading and writing and use of math skills is the focus in The Riviera Ridge School's 3rd through 5th grades. At The Riviera Ridge School we insist on celebrating the many unique and varied ways in which our children learn. With an emphasis on inquiry and exploration, the educational philosophy at The Riviera Ridge School is to provide specialized Science and Math instruction for all 3-5 grade students as they expand their opportunities to learn and apply logic and growing investigative skills to the world of numbers and nature. A variety of teaching methods enable your student to grow as a creative thinker, problem solver, and confident learner.

List of 4 items.

  • Literacy

    3rd through 5th graders enjoy a blended approach to literacy. Teachers experienced in a wealth of reading and writing instructional strategies guide students through units of study that meet students’ individual needs. The Riviera Ridge School faculty engage students in reading a variety of grade level appropriate novels and  the Wordly Wise program exposes students to a rich vocabulary personalized to each student’s comprehension. 

    Advancing students through the writing workshop approach, The Riviera Ridge School student authors, learn and write through a variety of genres including narratives, information and persuasive writing. By the end of 5th grade, every student treasures a portfolio of writing pieces, reviewing and reflecting on their growth in writing throughout their Riviera Ridge journey. Through leadership opportunities and a variety of public speaking and performances, students also gain confidence in their listening and speaking skills.
  • Mathematics

    The Singapore Math program continues to guide students towards a mastery of skills in 3rd through 5th grade.  As The Riviera Ridge School students progress, Singapore Math takes students to the next level of individualized learning with a variety of mathematical skill-building.  

    When it comes to word problems, the Singapore Math program relies on model drawing, and students learn to visualize what a word problem is saying so they can understand the meaning and thus how to solve the problem. Concepts in Singapore Math are taught in a concrete to pictorial to abstract sequence.  Students are provided with new vocabulary and numerous strategies that enable all students to learn mathematics to mastery.
  • Science

    Students in 3rd - 5th grades benefit from instruction and class activities designed by our Science Specialist. Third grade students study the predictable patterns of celestial objects, earth’s waters, energy, and simple machines. Fourth grade students study the properties of matter, electricity and magnetism, geology and the interdependence of living organisms in an environment. Fifth grade students engage in hands-on experimentation and observation, atoms and the periodic table, astronomy, and the human body.

    During the school year, Lower School students have access to our  Center for Creative Design and Engineering where they can engage in hands-on learning and design thinking challenges. Students engage in a variety of STEM-related investigations spanning physical, earth/space and life sciences, engineering and technology.
  • Social Studies

    The 3rd-5th grade social studies curriculum allows students to engage in learning about our local community, Native Americans, an in-depth study of California and culminating with US History with an emphasis on the making of a new nation. Students engage in role-playing, simulations, discussions and long term projects to show their learning of the content. Whenever possible, social studies learning is enriched by local field trips to the SB Mission, Casa de la Guerra, and the Reagan Library to name a few. Students are encouraged to take on multiple perspectives and to view our history as knowledge that informs the future.