Hawthorne Seminar Foundation

3rd, 4th, 5th Grade Education For High-Gate and Seminar Students in San Diego

3rd, 4th, 5th Grade Education For High-Gate and Seminar Students in San Diego

Teaching Philosophy

The Hawthorne Seminar Program teachers believe seminar students are unique in their ability to learn advanced concepts quickly or intuitively with a high degree of complexity and depth. The teachers offer a positive learning environment where students are stretched cognitively, accepted for their individuality, inspired in their creativity, and given opportunities to express their ideas. The learning environment is challenging and engaging, and the students’ needs and interests drive instruction. The teachers encourage the students to develop their own unique abilities, focusing on their strengths, while making a high degree of academic growth. They understand the power of like-minded peers working together to set goals and advance their knowledge cooperatively. The depth and breadth of the curriculum provided by the teachers captures the students’ interest with novelty and higher-level thinking; each student’s innate curiosity is allowed to flourish. These knowledgeable and practiced teachers are passionate and dedicated to the idea that seminar students need an intellectually enriching environment commensurate to their unique abilities.

Teaching Strategies

  • Problem solving & logic
  • Scientific process
  • Hands-on inquiry
  • Simulation games
  • Project-based learning
  • Accelerated pacing
  • Depth and complexity
  • Like-minded peers
  • Team building strategies
  • Cognitive challenges
  • Creativity
  • Interdisciplinary instruction
  • Meaningful, real applications
  • Socratic Seminar
  • Icons for depth & complexity
  • Open ended questions
  • High level questioning techniques
  • Independent study
  • Collaborative projects
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Opportunities for published work
  • Technology instruction


The Hawthorne Seminar Foundation supports the Seminar teachers in providing high quality enrichment programs that contribute to the intellectual, emotional, and social development of the children.  Enrichment programs are paid for by the Hawthorne Seminar Foundation through annual fundraising and are available to all currently enrolled seminar students.


Photo by Dan Trevan
Educational field trips have always been an integral part of the Hawthorne Seminar program. Examples of recent field trips include Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, BizTown, USD Mathigami lab, San Diego Symphony, the Getty Museum, L.A. County Museum of Art, La Brea tarpits, and SEACAMP San Diego.


Weekly fencing is provided as a specialized physical activity during the school day. This skill-based activity develops precision, strategy, and analytical competitive technique. The Seminar students truly enjoy this unique training experience!


Each year, the Hawthorne Seminar students stage a play or musical, led by a professional theatre director. Incorporating theatre into the classroom curriculum has been shown to have far-reaching benefits to students, from enhancing reading comprehension and students’ understanding of mathematical and scientific concepts, to improving sensory integration. Recent productions have included “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “A Year With Frog and Toad”, “Seussical, the Musical Jr.” and “Alice in Wonderland, Jr.”


Currently, the 3rd-5th students are receiving Latin instruction. Fifty percent of English vocabulary is comprised of Latin words and roots, and Latin is the language of law, logic, government, and the sciences. The benefits of learning Latin are numerous, and the students enjoy learning a "dead" language with strong links to English.


Students receive lessons from a professional artist and a professional poet. Students are encouraged to enter their work into art and poetry contests, such the Border Voices Student Poetry Contest and the California Coastal Art & Poetry Contest, where Hawthorne Seminar students often win recognition.


Math 24/Chess/Simulation Games/Word Games- Students love competition, strategy, and games with complex rules. Learning through game play enhances academic learning and cognitive development. Games require children to think ahead, solve problems, and develop their logic and ability to think creatively. Gifted students enjoy engaging in mentally challenging and strategic games.


Photo by Dan Trevan
Every student in the Hawthorne Seminar program participates in our chorus, which has been led by the same professional chorus director for more than a decade. The children learn multi-part harmony, singing ‘a round’, and songs ranging from traditional Latin chorale pieces to catchy Broadway show tunes. The children perform several times per year at various venues, including at senior centers, community events, and on public radio.


Photo by Dan Trevan
Robotics is offered weekly to the Seminar students as an afterschool activity. This program develops imaginative thinking through real world problem solving. Participants learn teambuilding and basic STEM skills while designing and building autonomous robots using Lego Mindstorm technology.



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