Tierra Pacifica's Curriculum

Our curriculum is based on the California Common Core State Content Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Our program incorporates parent participation, multi-age classrooms, strong academics, emphasis on arts and creativity, development of social and emotional intelligences, conflict resolution and diversity awareness in a small and supportive learning community designed to optimize each child's intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth.

Curriculum Videos

There are three videos in this series created by Linda Lambdin

Tierra Pacifica Charter School Music Program

Currently Verena Elias is teaching music using the Orff method, where students learn music through play, dance and song. Each grade level has it's own curriculum. The children are able to work with many instruments including drums, marimbas, recorders, and ukuleles. Students often perform at school assemblies as well as for parents 2-3 times per year.

Since the 2005-06 school year, Stephen Snyder of the group ZunZun has been instructing interested students on the "zampoñas", South American panpipes. Students learn how to play these instruments in a large group setting, as that is how they are traditionally played. Everyone's participation is a vital contribution: it is the group playing, not just soloists with back up. Whether a students plays loudly or softly, their contribution is a vital part of the whole.

Zampoñas are a type of instrument from the Andes, but panpipes have been played by cultures all over the world for thousands of years. In the Americas alone there are panpipes from Native cultures, African cultures and European cultures that have taken part in the growth of "American" music. Like all folk music however, Andean music is not stagnant. Though there are pieces hundreds of years old we will study, there are new pieces happening all the time as musicians add their own innovations to the musical genre. Students will be encouraged to compose their own pieces as well. Also, we will not play Andean music exclusively, but delve into music from Central and North America as well.

Zampoñas are played by blowing across the tubes. Each tube is numbered, and students learn to play each song by reading the numbers and hearing the melodies. The number of educational tools a student must develop is too long to list but includes: social studies, history, language skills, foreign language study, composition, math skills, reading skills, aural retention, and learning to play together as a group. Because it takes a lot of air, it is also physically demanding.

Stephen Snyder and Gwynne Cropsey have been performing Music of the Americas (North, Central and South America) for more than 20 years. As part of ZunZun, they have been performing music of the Americas since 1992 in North, Central and South America. ZunZun are winners of many awards and have been honored for their work with youth by such agencies as Bravo television and Billboard Magazine's songwriter competition. They perform at over 200 venues a year, from theaters to festivals, libraries and schools. They are currently working with many agencies, performing interactive musical pieces about water, watershed, recycling and are collaborating locally with Soquel Creek Water District, The Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the No Waste program in local schools. They have also performed with the Santa Cruz Symphony in their Family Concert Series. Stephen has instructed music for a gamut of ages: at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and in many different educational arenas all the way down to kindergarten.


Students choose an elective, which meets every Friday and lasts for four weeks. There are four sets of electives sessions throughout the school year. Electives can range from cooking or needlepoint to drumming, soccer, or French. Almost any interest or hobby can be a great elective for students. It is a time for the whole school to interact together, as all grades are intermixed for these classes.