Grades and Classes

K-8 Grades and Classes

Preschool Program: K3 and K4


The preschool class is open to three and four-year-old children, who have turned three or four by August 31st of the new school year. Proof of birth date is required for enrollment. The class emphasis is on age-appropriate curriculum in pre-reading, writing, and numbers. the curriculum focuses on readiness skills and relies heavily on positive reinforcement. Children are not pushed into learning, but are encouraged to learn through a variety of fun, hands-on activities. Discovery learning is at the heart of the preschool, where students learn through all of their five senses. Art and music are an important part of this process. Student evaluation at this level combines portfolio assessment with a checklist evaluation four times a year. PHS’s preschool program is a full-day program that runs on the same schedule as the rest of the school.


Elementary Program: Grades K-5


The Elementary School is made up of three mixed-age classes. Each class is self-contained and has its own teacher. Although the classes are self-contained, the teachers may choose to combine classes occasionally when they deem it helpful or productive. The reading program used in the kidergarten through 5th grade is the Rigby Literacy program (Harcourt).This program uses a combination of whole language and phonics instruction to teach students to read. Students read from a variety of trade (“real”) books instead of from basal readers. Vocabulary development, spelling, and writing are emphasized across the curriculum. The students in grades 4 and 5 read quality short stories and novels that complement the thematic units that they are studying. Spelling and vocabulary words come out of these books and from the units being studied. Student evaluation is prepared four times a year. Traditional letter grades are not given. Students in these classes are evaluated based on grade level standards, personal effort, and achievement. Each evaluation includes a written comment. Parents are advised as to when a teacher would like to conference with them concerning their child, and parents may request a teacher conference any time. Student Writing Portfolios are kept as an ongoing evaluation tool throughout the school year.


Grade Placement of Students – Kindergarten and First Grade


Students must be five years old by August 31st in order to enroll in kindergarten, and they must be six years old by August 31st to enroll in first grade. new students enrolling at PHS will be placed in kindergarten and 1st grade based strictly on their age; for these students no placement testing will be required. However, children whose birthdays fall after the cutoff date will only be allowed to enroll in kindergarten or first grade if they pass a screening test. Students who have completed kindergarten and a full year of first grade in another school will be allowed to enroll in second grade regardless of their age, but must provide the school with previous school records at the time of registration.


Grade Placement of Students from Non-US Schools


US schools follow a different calendar and use a different system of grade levels than schools in many other countries. PHS policy is to place students in our classes based on birth date. this places students at their correct level for best social adjustment, and usually results in academic success both at our school and whenever the student returns to his home country and educational system. PHS classes are composed of students in two academic years, and the teachers are accustomed to individualizing curriculum. This creates an ideal situation for those students concerned about changing from a January-December school year to our August-June school year. If there are any questions regarding placement, students coming from schools outside the US may be asked to sit for an academic assessment test. The school director makes the final decision as to grade placement.


Secondary Program: Grades 6-12


The secondary program consists of Middle School (6-8) and High School (9-12). Students work together across grade levels as they explore a shared subject. Student evaluation is done four times a year. Students earn letter grades ranging from “A” to “F”.

It is the goal of PHS to provide the same high quality program at the secondary level that is provided at the elementary level. This is done through the small class sizes and qualified teachers that are also available in the lower grades.

PHS high school students and graduates receive credits and school transcripts comparable to stateside high schools. Previous PHS high school graduates have been accepted at major universities in the US. If you are interested in more information about the high school and earning a high school diploma, please follow the high school link on the toolbar on your left.


Small Class Sizes


Classes are kept small at PHS to allow for a more individualized approach to instruction, particularly in the areas of language arts and math. In a larger, traditional classroom, students who learn quickly are held back while student who need more time are pushed ahead before they are ready. At Pacific Horizons School every effort is made to meet the individual needs of students and this can only be accomplished in a class where the teacher-to-student ratio is kept small. Class size is usually limited to 16 students at all levels.