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Curriculum Highlights

Pre Kindergarten 3 year and 4 year old Curriculum

Montessori-based Curriculum and Method of Instruction

 Saint Mary, Star of the Sea School began a Montessori curriculum and approach for the Pre-Kindergarten program for the 3 and 4 year old children in 2017.  Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was a faithful Catholic woman with a brilliant mind.  She was the first Italian woman to achieve a medical degree and went on to study and observe children and their developmental and educational needs.  In her life and work, she discovered that young children absorb everything in their environment like sponges.  If introduced to materials that are developmentally appropriate in an environment of order, peace, and concentration, children flourish and take joy in learning.  A Montessori approach to education guides children towards joyful learning, independence, freedom, and self-discipline.

The Montessori classroom at Saint Mary´s has five categories of materials:  Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, and Cultural (which includes geography and science).  The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Curriculum uses the Montessori approach to introduce children to prayer, the life of Jesus, the Mass and Liturgy, the Parables of the Kingdom, especially the Good Shepherd, Baptism, the Paschal Mysteries, and the geography of Israel and the city of of Jerusalem. At the beginning of the year, we lay a groundwork of grace & courtesy that teaches the children how to respect their teachers, friends, and materials. We practice self-control, patience, and good manners that allow the children to peacefully learn together.  The children are free to choose materials once they have been introduced through a lesson by the teacher.

The Montessori approach recognizes that each child is a unique child of God, worthy of respect and dignity, bearing unique gifts and talents.  Children are capable of great depths and heights of learning and thought and prayer.  We are excited to begin this new program with the youngest children at St. Mary’s!

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Religious  Curriculum and Method of Instruction 

CGS was developed by Sofia Cavalletti, an Italian Hebrew scripture scholar. Cavelletti built on the work and methods of Maria Montessori and provided a Catechesis that gives children guidance and vocabulary to foster an awareness of their relationship with God and to give expression to it. With the Catechesis, each child is encouraged to continue to grow in their love for God and one another in community.

•The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to religious formation developed by Sofia Cavelletti in the 1950s. In sixty years, it has become widely-used and spread to 37 countries.

• As a child-centered approach, the curriculum and method of instruction appeals to the nature and needs of the child to introduce the child into the life of the Church. A unique aspect of the method focused on the child entering the Church through the atrium, the sacred space of receiving instruction that is solidly founded on Scripture and the Liturgy, addressing the moral formation of the young child. The curriculum and method of instruction situates the child’s living relationship with God within the broader picture of the history of God’s Kingdom.

• Catechesis of the Good Shepherd provides an essential piece that provides age-appropriate religious instruction. Its primary goal is not to impart information, but to build a lasting relationship between the child and God.

Kindergarten Curriculum

In addition to the subject areas of religion, mathematics, language arts, science and social studies, the Kindergarten curriculum also includes daily enrichment classes including computer, library, music, physical education, Spanish and fine arts.

Religion

The God Made Everything series is a comprehensive early childhood program designed to nurture and enrich the faith and spiritual lives of kindergarten students.  Each developmentally appropriate lesson is carefully planned so that, at completion, the children are ready to continue their faith journey into first grade and beyond.  Kindergarten uses the God Loves Us textbook from this series.  A variety of methods and techniques assure that the Good News is conveyed in ways suited to various learning styles.  This series is authored by the Sisters of Notre Dame and published by Loyola Press.

Additionally, our religious program is further enriched with a school-wide Virtues program as well as age-appropriate religious videos, art activities, weekly Mass, and visits to the chapel.

Language Arts

The Superkids Reading Program, authored by the Rowland Reading Foundation, is a comprehensive reading and language arts program with phonics at its core.  Extensive research has overwhelmingly validated the importance of systematic, phonics-based instruction for the primary grades.  As Superkids builds strong phonics and decoding skills, it simultaneously integrates instruction in comprehension, vocabulary and fluency.  The program also develops students’ skills in writing, spelling, grammar, usage and mechanics. Journal writing twice weekly, sight word practice, language art stations, and writer’s workshop are also included in the curriculum.

Mathematics

Guided Math is a combination of conceptual math and procedural math, with a balance of teacher directed learning and student centered activities.  The students are taught number sense, addition and subtraction, fractions, measurement (to include linear, weight and temperature), time and money, 2-D and 3-D shapes, data analysis (graphs), and patterning and classifying.  Lessons are complemented with hands-on manipulatives and real-world applications to fully demonstrate the concepts being taught.  

Science/Social Studies  

Teacher-created units to go along with the standards form the basis of the curriculum  Social studies lessons include good citizenship, community helpers, history, (past and present), love for church and country (including holidays and people associated with holidays), simple maps and globes, needs and wants, and the effect of location, climate and physical surroundings on a community.  Science standards include investigating the effects of sunlight on the Earth’s surface, health and safety habits and responsibilities, understanding of the connection between the needs of living things, and what plants and animals need to survive, animal and plant life cycles, describing objects by physical properties, understanding properties of water, and investigating forces such as pushes and pulls.  Curriculum will be supplemented with Scholastic’s Let’s Find Out and Science Spin (weekly magazines with on-line activities and videos), field trips, and guest speakers. Marine science and our outdoor classroom are also part of the curriculum.

First Grade Curriculum

The core subjects of first grade are Religion, Language Arts, and Math, Science, Social Studies, and Handwriting.  Art, Spanish, Music, Physical Education, and Library/Technology are also part of the first grade curriculum.

The following sections describe the textbooks used and some general objectives for Religion, Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.

Religion

Christ Our Life, Loyola Press

Christ Our Life is published by Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry dedicated to helping children and adults deepen their friendship with God. Christ Our Life, which sets the standard for religious education, is written by the Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio. The program is rich in content, doctrine, and Scripture, with Jesus at the heart of every lesson.

Additionally, our religious program is further enriched with a school-wide Virtues program as well as age-appropriate religious videos, art activities, weekly Mass, and visits to the chapel.

Language Arts

The SuperKids Reading Program captivates students from the start with tales of the SuperKids. These relatable characters and their ongoing adventures provide an engaging and cohesive framework for literacy success. SuperKids is a comprehensive English language arts curriculum crafted for grades K–2 using evidence-based literacy practices. This proven-effective program follows a unique systematic and explicit instructional path through engaging, increasingly complex text.

  • Identify consonants, vowels, blends and digraphs.
  • Recognize sight vocabulary and high frequency words.
  • Identify rhyming words. Demonstrate ability to blend and decode.
  • Identify main idea, character and setting.
  • Demonstrate correct formation of all upper and lower case letters.
  • Demonstrate correct use of capitals, ending punctuation, and spacing within simple sentences.
  • Predict outcome, answer questions, retell stories, and draw conclusions.
  • Recognize and use nouns, verbs, and adjectives in sentences.
  • Write stories with a problem-solution plot.

Mathematics

Hand to Mind Guided Math Program 

Guided Math is a combination of conceptual math and procedural math. There is a balance of teacher-directed learning and student centered activities. We share our time between whole group instruction and small group differentiated instruction. The components of our math block math warm-up begins our math instruction with a standards-based activity to engage our brains in either our current concept of study or a review of a previously learned skill in order to build accuracy and fluency. Students participate on Math mini-lessons, power-packed whole group lessons where the entire class engages in an introduction to the new learning objective consisting of math talk, public participation, and shared mathematical thinking. Small group instruction/workstations dynamic instruction differentiated to optimize student learning through meaningful instruction and independent workstation activities. Reflection lifelong learners reflect in order to grow for the better! We wrap up our learning by sharing connections we made, struggles we overcame, and by helping classmates with areas that need clarification.

  • Count by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s.
  • Count backwards from 100.
  • Compare numbers using greater than, less than, and equal to.
  • Read and write ordinals to tenth.
  • Add and subtract facts to 20 (horizontally and vertically).
  • Add and subtract two 2-digit numbers without regrouping.
  • Mentally recall facts.
  • Identify odd and even numbers.
  • Identify place value of 2-digit numbers.
  • Order, count, and write numbers to 100.
  • Estimate to the nearest 10.
  • Count through 99 cents using pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
  • Tell time to the hour and half-hour with digital and analog clocks.

Science/Social Studies 

Teacher-created units go along with the standards form the basis of the Science and Social Studies curriculum. Social studies lessons include good citizenship, community helpers, history, (past and present), love for church and country (including holidays and people associated with holidays), simple maps and globes, needs and wants, and the effect of location, climate and physical surroundings on a community.  Science standards include investigating the effects of sunlight on the Earth’s surface, health and safety habits and responsibilities, understanding the connection between the needs of living things, and what plants and animals need to survive, animal and plant life cycles, describing objects by physical properties, understanding the properties of water, and investigating forces such as pushes and pulls. Curriculum will be supplemented with Scholastic’s News and Science Spin (weekly magazines with on-line activities and videos), field trips, and guest speakers.  Marine science and our outdoor classroom are also part of the curriculum.