Lower School | Grades Pre-K—6

Character Education

The Big Four Program

Every moment at school, whether in the classroom, at lunch, on the playground, or at any of our myriad enrichment activities, provides the chance for character education. The guiding principles of this instruction are The Big Four:

1. Respect
2. Responsibility
3. Honesty
4. Kindness

These cornerstones of character provide the foundation for supporting our children’s growth throughout their young years at Sierra Canyon. Because there is always a chance to strengthen character and reinforce The Big Four, all of our faculty are trained in Responsive Classroom, a framework that helps foster and model the best of Sierra Canyon character. Through common practice and language, The Big Four radiate their influence throughout the school day accentuating the exuberance that comes with possessing strong character.

Please click here to view our Code of Values and the Big Four.

The Big Four Team

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Adam Horwitz

    Adam Horwitz 

    Dean of Students, Pre-K–6
    Ext. 1161
  • Photo of Tom Keller

    Tom Keller 

    Director of Studies; MS Faculty
    Ext. 1126
  • Photo of Garrett Crosby

    Garrett Crosby 

    Associate Dean of Students, Pre-K – Grade 6
    Ext. 1162

Pre-Kindergarten - 2nd Grade

From their earliest years, Sierra Canyon students are immersed in an environment that emphasizes and values character development, ever committed to growing young minds and hearts. Classroom lessons, discussions, and assemblies contextualize for the youngest learners what it means to be a person of good character. The primary grades are marked by limitless imagination and joy.

During this time, we channel our children’s positivity, identifying how they act and communicate with The Big Four as our guiding principles. Students at this stage of development profoundly benefit from an unflinching sense of purpose and optimism; it is the goal of the character education program to provide opportunities for them to thrive within this context.

3rd - 5th Grade

As our students develop in middle elementary, they continue to build upon the strong moral foundation that started within their earlier years. Students understand the concepts of The Big Four better and have more opportunities to exercise these traits throughout their day. They are challenged to become better citizens of their community and gain experience through academic and extracurricular examples of altruism and virtue.

Middle elementary students also gain the perspective of seeing any obstacle or problem as an opportunity to be upstanders for their ever-growing understanding of The Big Four principles. As they become more capable, their participation in clubs and enrichment provides the greater frequency in which they may live these values, including in fifth grade and into the sixth, the chance to become a mentor to primary grade students through the Junior Assistant Program.

6th Grade

Sixth Grade represents the first year of Middle School at Sierra Canyon, and students assume the role of leaders of the Lower Campus. As students have different teachers for each subject for the first time, they experience The Big Four in different manners couched in more sophisticated contexts. These values also come with more mature expectations, and teachers guide students into socially responsible agents of positive action and models for the younger grade levels. As this is the final year before moving on to the Upper Campus, The Big Four, the Lower School Code, are also developed in terms of Sierra Canyon’s Core Values. Honesty translates seamlessly into the core value of Integrity as social and academic expectations mature; Responsibility is conveyed and understood as striving for Excellence and continually developing Independence; Kindness edifies the strongest pillars of our Community; and, Respect, actively cultivated and exercised throughout the elementary grades, is realized through Perspective, contributing to the fulfillment of one of our school’s greatest strengths, its diversity.
Lower School: 11052 Independence Avenue
Middle and Upper School: 20801 Rinaldi Street
Chatsworth, CA 91311  | 818.882.8121
Sierra Canyon School is a private, independent, non-sectarian, co-educational, college preparatory school for students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12 located in Chatsworth, California. The highly cosmopolitan campus community is reflective of the Greater Los Angeles area and the world at large. Students are empowered to realize their greatest creative, ethical, intellectual and physical promise through small class sizes, a diverse student-teacher culture and a family-like environment.