Nestled in a quiet neighborhood of Sugarhouse sits a unique gem of a school where children Junior Kindergarten through 8th grade enjoy a classical education in a warm, nurturing environment. Carden Memorial School takes pride in its unique and timeless method of teaching students to become independent learners who have a command of the English language, a solid foundation in math and science, and a deep appreciation for the arts.
Academic achievement is not the only goal of a Carden education; becoming a person of integrity, honesty and courtesy is just as important. It is one of the many reasons Carden Memorial School continues to enjoy tremendous success in their 47th year. Former students who now are parents themselves, often return seeking for their own children the same loving, academically-stimulating environment they enjoyed as students.
What makes Carden such a popular choice? Director Laura Brown puts it this way: “Perhaps it is because in an ever-changing world, we believe some things are timeless. At Carden, we want children to enjoy childhood. They should treasure classical literature such as Peter Rabbit, Black Beauty and Robin Hood. They should prize great poetry from authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Rudyard Kipling. They should take pleasure in expressing themselves with art, music, drama and writing.”
Carden’s choice of classics reflects a rich cultural heritage, and as students read the world’s greatest literature, they get a glimpse into some of history’s greatest minds. For example, first graders begin with Beatrix Potter, and second graders enjoy Old Mother West Wind and other stories by Thorton Burgess. This pattern of reading the best writing Western civilization has to offer continues through the 8th grade where students read selected works of Shakespeare and Dickens.
By learning from the best books, students learn important values and lifelong lessons, and Carden’s unique phonetically-based reading program launches them into the joy of reading early on. By reading aloud daily, children gain fluency and rhythm and become confident, capable readers.
One of the hallmarks of the Carden method is the teaching table where a teacher works with a group of 6 - 8 students at eye-level around a table. Each child learns reading and math in groups based on his or her abilities. Learning is the correction of the error, so while seated near the teacher, children learn to correct their errors in a positive, nurturing environment. Students develop listening skills as they learn both facts—the building blocks for higher level thinking—and complex problem-solving skills which are needed skills in today’s world.
Each subject is taught by experience first. Number work unfolds with the use of manipulatives. Real objects are used and discussed to help children understand math concepts. The child is asked to explain what is happening when two blocks are put on the table and one more is added to it. Abstract number work is only begun after the student has a firm understanding of a math concept and can explain it. Mastery is the goal.
Visitors to Carden are often pleasantly surprised by the calm atmosphere in the classrooms, the immense collection of fine art hung on the walls and the abundant plays and music concerts. On the playground they notice physical education classes playing lacrosse, basketball or soccer. In the upper grades, they’re impressed to find students studying Latin, perfecting their French and mastering algebra.
Program Information: Phonetically-based reading, computers, Saxon math, art, music, conversational French, PE, skiing, math bowl, geography bee, spelling bee, science fair, small class sizes.