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Special Programs


Our Art Studio is a thriving center for visual arts.  Each class visits the studio regularly to work with our three outstanding artists/instructors:

Tere Charney, Kathy Dewey, and Lisa Fonville  Video: The arts at Bel Aire

The students are instructed in various styles, mediums, and techniques to develop their confidence and skills as an artist.  They also participate in integrated projects that support their PYP units of inquiry.  Inquiry, creativity. and risk-taking are essential components of the art studio environment which contributes to students becoming well-rounded and balanced people.


Our buddy program promotes cross-age relationships and gives leadership opportunities to older students and provides another layer of support to younger students.  Each classroom has a “buddy” class that they meet with each week for a variety of activities that build community and support learning.  Each “little buddy” is assigned an older student to help them during buddy activities and to be their special friend at Bel Aire.  

Performing Arts

Students participate in a variety of experiences with the performing arts.  Instrumental music instruction is provided to our 4th and 5th graders.  Vocal music and drama are integrated into various units of inquiry throughout a student's time at Bel Aire.  We have an annual Winter program where all students perform and in addition we host a variety of organizations that bring the arts to schools such as San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and Opera ala Carte (San Franscisco Opera Guild). 

Pied Piper

A long-standing tradition at Bel Aire, “Pied-Piper” is an opportunity for a group of K – 5th grade students to move from room-to-room sharing their writing across the school and grade levels.  This not only builds important communication skills in our students but also encourages creativity and careful crafting of writing pieces both for the performers and the audience. 

Visual Thinking Strategies

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a research-based teaching method that improves critical thinking and language skills through discussions of visual images. VTS encourages participation and self-confidence, especially among students who struggle. VTS aligns beautifully with our IB/Primary Years Program and supports the inquiry and student thinking and communication in all subject areas. 

The skills required for success in higher education and 21st-century jobs require different approaches to teaching. Our teaching staff has received professional training in these strategies and all classrooms are participating. 

Field Trips

Getting out into the “real” world is an important way to activate student thinking and curiosity and a big part of our school program (PYP).  As teachers develop their units of inquiry as grade levels, they plan opportunities for students to visit places that are relevant to what they are learning at school.  These include trips such as historical sites, museums, science centers, nature preserves, etc.  Some highlights for this year include: Academy of Sciences in SF, Marin Headlands, Luther Burbank Arts center, San Jose Tech Museum, Chabot Space and Science Center, and many local businesses and parks/nature areas. 

Part of our IB program includes frequent field trips to help students have real world experiences.  We love to take students on both local and distant trips that integrate with our units of inquiry, but in order to make them as safe and organized as possible we ask that parents follow the following guidelines:

  • Return completed permission slips at least 2 days prior to the trip
  • Contact the teacher well in advance of the field trip about chaperoning (some trips will only allow limited space for chaperones)
  • Follow volunteer guidelines when working with students
  • Siblings/preschool children are not allowed to accompany any chaperone
  • Please do not come the morning of the trip and expect to attend/chaperone without prior arrangements with the teacher

We so appreciate the help we receive from parent volunteers to make these trips possible.  Thank you

student painting
art studio
Hamlet play
Hamlet play scene
art museum field trip
di Rosa field trip