Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics

STEAM is an educational approach that integrates Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. It also includes purposeful integration of other disciplines such as fine arts, language arts, social & liberal arts, and physical arts. STEAM teaching method engages students in more problem-solving and discovery learning rather than the traditional teacher-centered learning. In simple terms, it provides students with ways of connecting, applying, and reinforcing knowledge in all core curriculum. 

STEAM education promotes 21st century skills such as the Four Cs: collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. Through project-based learning, students are encouraged to build inquiry skills, take thoughtful risks, dialogue, and think critically. By incorporating the four Cs, students learn to problem solve through effective communication and collaboration. They use creative methods to innovate ways to express their solutions. Obtaining theses skills will eventually help them to be more competitive in the global society and thus encourage them to be future innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of 21st century. 

We’re so very excited to be partnering with Apple and Computerwisekids to advance our computer science program. Through their support, our students will learn Coding, Robotics, 3-D Printer use and other Tech Skills. 

STEAM Vision. Van Ness All-Stars have VOICE

V – Value Others
O – Opportunity to Lead
I – Innovate for the Future
C – Collaborate to Problem Solve
E – Engage with the Community

Project Based Learning

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is an instructional methodology that identifies a real-world problem and develops its solution. It presents opportunities for students to think deeper and helps to develop college and career readiness skills called the Four Cs (communication, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration).

PBL is characterized as inter-disciplinary, rigorous, and student-centered. As students are learning content knowledge through core instruction, they apply their knowledge to real-world challenges and engage in inquiry and solution building. Students are expected to think critically to engage in deeper learning. In PBL, teachers are facilitating as project managers while students are encouraged to make decisions and problem solve. This process fosters independence, ownership of their work, and develops 21st century skills. PBL is an essential component of our STEAM initiative. 


Through our partnership with EnrichLA, we are able to provide Garden Ranger Program to all our students. Interactive and interdisciplinary garden lessons are taught by the ranger at two of our beautiful edible gardens. This program aligns with our STEAM initiative where garden activities are integrated in all core curriculum including technology and art.

Some of the benefits of this program include improved air quality, exposure to natural world, environmental stewardship, and positive impact on healthy habits. Garden program act as catalysts to promote health and wellness of children and helps to develop positive attitudes toward consumption of versatile, well-balanced food. Outside of instructional time, our students have access to the garden to read, relax, or to take care of the garden. In the near future, we hope to expand further to culinary experiences for our students using the vegetables and fruits that they grow. 

Mandarin Foreign Language

Our students are growing up in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. Having proficiency in another language will provide greater opportunities for them to engage with diverse population and succeed in the global economy.

There are many research proving benefits to learning foreign language. Accordingly to ACTFL, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language, there are many reasons to learning languages as shown below: 

  1. Connect with others and communicate with wide range of people.
  2. Advance Your Career by setting you apart from monolingual peers.
  3. Improves memory, problem-solving, critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills. 
  4. Foster an appreciation for the traditions, religions, arts, and history of people who speak the language.
  5. Traveling as a speaker of the local language.
  6. Empower to access information and navigate the internet as global citizens.
  7. It makes picking up additional language easier.
  8. Boost your confidence.
  9. Strengthen your decision making.
  10. Gain perspective of others.

For these reasons, Van Ness offers Mandarin foreign language to our K-5th grade students. We have partnered with Ni Hao Chinese School that provides the curriculum and an instructor who teaches Mandarin as well as the Chinese culture and arts. Van Ness All-Stars will become bilingual and grow to appreciate differences and become more marketable in the global society. 

Y Play

Y Play Program

PLAY program goals are to increase physical fitness in youth, prevent childhood obesity and diminish fears and stigmas associated with exercise. Student groups focus on teamwork, group work, emphasis on values and assets, support of one another and all activities are done in an environment of fun, fellowship and skill building. The program ensures all students participate, learn physical skills, build self-esteem and have fun.

Harmony SEL

Harmony SEL

Sanford Harmony: Harmony SEL is a social and emotional learning program for Pre-K-6 grade students, accessible online as well. Harmony fosters knowledge, skills, and attitudes boys and girls need to develop healthy identities, create meaningful relationships, and engage productively by providing SEL learning resources, tools, and strategies. This curriculum will help us to Resolve conflicts or disagreements, Form and strengthen relationships, Recognize and manage emotions, Empathize with others and support them, and Interact with people with different experiences, backgrounds, and opinions.


Boys & Girls Club (K–5th)

The mission of the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club is to inspire and enable all youth, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive and responsible members of the community.

We are available from dismissal to 6 pm (for any early release days we will be here early). Open to anyone from Kinder to 5th grade that currently attend Van Ness. We only require that both of our application forms be filled out correctly. It usually takes about two days to review the applications before they can start the program. We have capacity for 80 students and it’s completely free. We are open all days school is in session.

Power Hour
One hour dedicated to homework. Our staff will guide and direct questions students have about homework Monday-Thursday.

Club University
Program design is for upper elementary students who will be introduced to: college related vocabulary, basic college knowledge, career option requirements, financial aid options and scholarships.

Fine Arts
Our fine arts program is based on art history lessons. Members will learn about an artist and create their own art work based on the artist’s methods.

Vex Robotics
VEX IQ Robotics Curriculum teaches students the fundamentals of engineering and computer science, utilizing advanced robotics equipment and programming languages such as Python. This curriculum offers 12 flexible units of instruction that can be used in sequence, in chunks, or as standalone lessons. Whatever your elementary and middle school STEM education needs may be, the VEX IQ Curriculum is a learning tool that will excite and inspire your students.

Mad Science
Members will work on science projects and experiments.

Youth Leaders
We will have a President, Vice president, Secretary, Treasurer and Historian. Through service activities, members will identify community needs and give back to their communities. These activities provide opportunities for youth to practice communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.

Girl Scouts
The community outreach program is designed to parallel activities that the Girls Scout troops offer with the exception of the cookie sales and the off-campus activities. A variety of topics will be covered throughout the school year including: Social Movements, the Environment, Women Empowerment, Career choices, Health and Wellness, etc.


Van Ness Preschool

Van Ness Preschool

Curiosity Corner is a Success for All preschool program designed to help students grow in their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive abilities. Each week, Curiosity Corner is filled with activities that are organized around a theme. Though the themes change, the daily schedule remains the same, making it predictable and comfortable for young children. Each day consists of the following components:

Greetings & Readings: After the children are welcomed to the class, they begin exploring the weekly theme though books and tabletop activities, such as puzzles and small toys. They are also exposed to early literacy skills as we read and interact with the daily message.

Clues & Questions: A cat puppet named Curiosity introduces key concepts for the day by asking questions and giving clues. Curiosity’s friend, Bubba, works alongside curiosity to model proper behavior and social skills. Curiosity also has two new friends named Chilly and Squeaky that make appearances to help the student learn in a fun way.

Rhyme Time: Through music, movement, songs, finger-plays, and other rhymes and poetry, the children begin to understand that sounds make up words in our language. This knowledge is one of the first and most important steps to becoming successful readers.

Getting Along Together: Though stories, videos, feelings cards, a feelings tree, and interactive activities, student are introduced to different feelings as well as strategies to use in the class to work together and solve problems with our peers. Chilly is the main friend involved with this part of our day. He knows all the right ways to play with our friends and deal with the different feelings we have during the day!

Plan and Play: The classrooms are divided into different areas, such as art, building, dramatic play, sand/water, science, writing, and manipulatives. During Plan and Play, students explore concepts of the day while building creativity, math, vocabulary, and problem-solving skills.

Math Moments: Students interact with a variety of manipulatives to learn many early learning concepts in math. Curiosity, Squeaky, and Chilly often join in on the fun as students receive whole group instruction. Each day, students will also practice the skills taught with a partner.

STaR: As they enjoy a wide variety of wonderful children’s stories, the children develop thinking and language skills.  They predict, retell, recall, act out, and make connections to the stories.

Outside/Gross Motor Play:  The children run, skip, jump, hop, throw, kick, climb, and engage in other large group activities to promote physical health and develop large motor skills.

Snack Time: As they sit together to enjoy wholesome food, children learn proper eating habits and table manners.  Students also practice serving others and cleaning up after themselves. Snack and lunch time are a wonderful time to practice turn taking in conversation as well.

Questions & Reflections: At the end of the day, the children gather together to talk about what they have learned.

* All information obtained from the Success For All Foundation

Now accepting enrollment. There are no zip code restrictions.