Elementary Curriculum

The nine elementary schools in the White Bear Lake Area School District serves students in kindergarten through 5th grades. Children are eligible to be enrolled in the White Bear Lake Area Public Schools if their legal address is within the boundaries of the school district. To enroll a child in kindergarten, he/she must be five years of age on or before September 1.

For more information about elementary schools and their curricula, call the Office of Teaching and Learning at (651) 407-7568.

Overview of Elementary Curriculum


Areas of focus in art education include: response to visual stimuli, the creation of visual images, learning about past and present art styles, and the development of critical evaluation skills. To learn about art is to understand, produce, and judge it. Classroom teachers are responsible for teaching art. Most buildings have Artists-in-Residence programs yearly or every other year.

For more detail, view the Minnesota Department of Education, K-12 Arts Standards curriculum page.  


"The purpose of health education is to positively influence the health behavior of individuals and communities as well as the living and working conditions that influence their health. Health education improves the health status of individuals, families, communities, states, and the nation."

"The Minnesota Department of Education recommends that districts utilize the National Health Education Standards (NHES). These standards establish, promote and support health-enhancing behaviors for students in all grade levels, K-12. The NHES are behavior based, with health education content integrated across each standard."

-Minnesota Department of Education 

For more detail, view the Minnesota Department of Education, K-12 Health and Physical Education curriculum page.  



The literacy curriculum is made up of several areas. Students learn reading skills through literature, content materials, and from their reading textbooks. Students learn how the printed word impacts their lives and that reading is used for gaining information, for leisure and enjoyment, and that it is a life long activity. Students keep a record of what they read because reading for practice is necessary for developing reading skills.

  • Introduction in oral and written expression emphasizes the student's use of good listening skills and ability to express ideas both orally and in written form.
  • Spelling focuses on teaching students to spell words correctly both in daily work and in testing formats. Students are encouraged to spell words even if they are not certain of the exact letters - proofreading then helps correct any errors.
  • In primary grades, handwriting encourages the student to form letters correctly and write legibly in daily work. At the intermediate level, handwriting is assessed as a part of all written work.


For more detail, view the Minnesota Department of Education, K-12 English Language Arts (ELA) Standards curriculum page.  



The math program encourages students to become problem-solvers by understanding mathematical concepts, knowing basic facts, using computational skills, and selecting and applying appropriate problem-solving strategies. Students follow an instructional sequence using as many manipulative materials as possible. Skills are taught through involvement with examples, understanding the fact or procedure, practice, and applying the skill. Problem solving is emphasized throughout the math program. Student progress in math is based on skill development and problem-solving ability. Objectives are measured through testing and, if necessary, skills are retaught.

For more detail, view the Minnesota Department of Education, K-12 Mathematics Standards curriculum page.


Singing is the heart of the music curriculum and is a source of enjoyment for many students. Other areas of music instruction also include: the development of music literacy, exposure to a wide variety of music styles, music appreciation, playing instruments, movement and music, creative activities, field trip experiences, and concert preparation and performance. Music is an expressive subject area allowing students to tap their creative talents and explore skills not typically utilized.

The goals of music education are:

  •     to teach about music as a subject and
  •     to develop a lifelong love of musical experiences

For more detail, view the Minnesota Department of Education, K-12 Arts Standards curriculum page.  

Physical Education

Physical Education contributes to the development of the individual through the natural medium of physical activity - human movement. It is a carefully planned sequence of learning designed to fulfill the growth, development, and behavior needs of each student. A complete physical education program reaches all children and focuses on efficient body management in a variety of situations. Learning skills are important; developing confidence in oneself is stressed. Students in physical education learn fitness and wellness awareness, motor skill development, safety awareness, self-expression, understanding and acceptance of others, sportsmanship concepts, social development, and knowledge about games and sports that will last a lifetime.


The basic beliefs about science education in White Bear Lake area elementary schools are as follows:

  • Science is a part of life and is a basic subject to be learned.
  • All children should be given the opportunity to learn science. This learning should be appealing and flexible enough to meet the needs of all students.
  • Science should be taught using hands-on methods so students can see, touch, and feel objects related to the study of science.
  • Scientific literacy should include content, process, and attitudes.
  • The field of science is constantly changing and growing. Science should be taught in an atmosphere open to all ideas; the content should center on learner interest, aptitude, and desired district outcomes.
  • Science is an important part of other subjects; knowledge gained in science is often applied to many areas.

Social Studies

The social studies curriculum is an important part of the educational program and focuses on communities, Minnesota, the nation, and the world. Students, through a variety of ways and resources, learn about their world and their environment. Cooperative learning groups are frequently used as a method to help students learn to work with one another and learn about social studies topics.

Because social studies is an ever-changing and growing subject, extra effort is placed on current events and helping students look for resources in which to find information. Teachers use many community resources to help develop social studies concepts. Social studies also includes instruction which helps promote healthy choices, attitudes, habits, and behaviors for all students.

World Languages

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade receive world language offerings. Chinese is taught at Vadnais Heights Elementary and Lincoln Elementary. Spanish is taught at the remaining White Bear Lake Area Elementary Schools.

Special Programs


All students have scheduled time to work with computers and information technology. 

English Learner

The purpose of the White Bear Lake Area Schools English Learner Program is to help develop children's Standard American English skills to a level where they can succeed in their mainstream classrooms.

See complete program information here.

Gifted Services

The needs of academically-talented students are primarily met through classroom programs. These needs are addressed in a variety of ways, including flexible instructional groups, some changes to the curriculum, special interest groups, and through technology to provide additional challenges and enrichment.

See complete program information here.

IB Primary Years Programme

Matoska International IB World School is a K-5 public school option available to families within the White Bear Lake Area School District. The school is a globally-minded school providing its students with both a worldwide perspective and a strong connection to the local communities in which we live. The site has been an International Baccalaureate World School since the 2011-12 academic year.

As an IB World School, Matoska International:

  • is part of a network of 3,000 schools in 140 different countries with a similar vision and emphasis on best practices
  • has demonstrated a commitment to focus on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside
  • has curriculum recognized as substantial, in-depth and having global significance

In addition, Matoska International IB World School students are provided the same district services which are available to students at our other elementary schools. These include access to special education, speech, media, music, basic skills and physical education specialists. The district provides transportation to Matoska International for students from throughout the White Bear Lake Area School District. 

Find additional information about International Baccalaureate here. For more information about Matoska International, please visit the school website or call 651-653-2852.

Special Education

A comprehensive program is available for students with disabilities from birth through age 21. Services facilitate each student reaching their potential through partnerships that promote life-long learning, independence and self-advocacy.

Academic Standards

Standards approved by the Minnesota Department of Education and the Legislature. (All are in PDF format and require Adobe Reader)