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Curriculum Highlights

Pre Kindergarten 3 year old Curriculum

The PreK-3 year old program at Saint Mary Star of the Sea School treats all children as individuals with unique personalities. Therefore, the program is designed to meet the needs of the whole child. Activities are planned that enhance the growth and development of the intellect of each child as well as his/her emotional, social, and motor skills. In addition to the subject areas of Religion, Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies, the PreK-3 year old curriculum includes daily enrichment classes including Art, Library, Music, Physical Education, and Spanish. Students attend Mass once a week and visit the on-campus chapel each day. There is a three-day or five-day option for attending the PreK-3 program.

The PreK-3 year old program closely follows the Consensus Curriculum established by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. The complete curriculum can be found at the following website: http://www2.richmonddiocese.org/ocs/school_curr/index.htm

Overview of the Program

The PreK-3 program has a structured learning environment that prepares 3 year olds for a more rigorous program in PreK-4 and beyond. The PreK-3 program focuses heavily on emerging math and literacy skills while enabling the child to develop the social skills needed to become successful in school.

During daily “Circle Time,” students learn to recognize his/her written first and last name. Each day, math and science concepts are introduced and reinforced as students learn about the calendar, patterns, and seasons throughout the year. Students learn the importance of cooperation and responsibility as each is assigned a weekly job that is important to the functioning of classroom routines. Across the curriculum, each weekly theme is carefully planned so that the letter of the week, Religion chapter, and Math concepts relate to each other and build upon previously mastered skills. Monthly goals are established that students learn to recognize 4 new letters, 1-2 numbers, 1 shape, 1 or 2 colors, develop various gross and fine motor skills, explore science concepts, and refine social interaction skills. Many of these skills are reinforced through the use of age-appropriate songs, books, rhymes, and finger-plays which capture the attention of 3 year old children.

In addition to whole group activities, the PreK-3 year old program utilizes learning centers to reinforce concepts introduced during whole group instruction. These centers include Language Arts, Math, Arts and Crafts, and students’ choice of free play activities. With the assistance of the teacher, many of these centers incorporate the use of manipulatives (games, puzzles, blocks, counters, buttons, etc.) in order to provide an interactive and individualized experience for each student.

Students are also encouraged to participate in a weekly show-and-tell related to the letter of the week in order to gain experience and confidence in speaking in front of his/her peers. Students also benefit from this by practicing listening skills, reinforcement of beginning sounds of words, and being courteous and attentive to his/her classmates.

The PreK-3 program also participates in special annual events such as a Grandparent’s Day Show, Halloween Parade, Thanksgiving Feast, Christmas Program, Circus, and Stepping- Up to PreK-4 Ceremony.

Religion: God Made Me

The God Made Me textbook incorporates a comprehensive early childhood curriculum designed to nurture and enrich the faith and spiritual lives of children at the age of 3. Each developmentally appropriate unit is carefully planned so that at completion, the children are ready to continue their faith journey in the PreK-4 year old program. A variety of teaching methods are used in order to ensure that the Good News is conveyed in ways suited to diverse learning styles. In addition, the God Made Me textbook encompasses multiple disciplines such as Language Arts and Science, as children learn about prayer, the gifts of the five senses, and the people and world around them. This series also includes special lessons for religious holidays observed in the Liturgical Calendar. This series is authored by the Sisters of Notre Dame, Chardon, Ohio, and published by Loyola Press.

Pre Kindergarten 4 year old Curriculum

In addition to the subject areas of Religion, Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies, the Pre-Kindergarten 4 year old curriculum also includes daily enrichment classes including, Library-Technology, Music, Physical Education, Fine Arts and Spanish.

Religion

The God Made Everything series is a comprehensive early childhood program designed to nurture and enrich the faith and spiritual lives of children ages three, four, and five. Each developmentally appropriate curriculum is carefully planned so that at completion, the children are ready to continue their faith journey into Kindergarten and beyond. The Pre-Kindergarten 4 year old program uses the God Made the World 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, Chardon, Ohio, and published by Loyola Press.

Language Arts

Happily Ever After language arts program used in the Pre-Kindergarten 4 year old classroom is published by The Rowland Reading Foundation. It is carefully sequenced, comprehension-based readiness program. It is designed to meet the needs of students with no or little previous school experience and of those who have had some readiness preparation. Students will learn to listen and follow directions, improve auditory and visual discrimination, and practice oral expression. y will also develop their fine motor skills through a variety of activities. This program teaches the skills and concepts necessary to ensure later success in sound recognition and proper letter formation.

Mathematics

The Little Treasures reading series also integrates basic math skills that are presented and practiced in the classroom. These include vocabulary, exploring concepts, and basic functions of numbers. The students are taught program solving strategies, sorting, patterning, predicting, estimating, numeration, computation, measuring, and other mathematical components. Manipulatives (counters, blocks, buttons, etc.) are used to provide the students with a greater understanding of the concept being taught.

Science and Social Studies

Little Treasures reading series also integrates science and social studies in weekly unit themes. emphasis in social studies is placed on basic historical and geographical literacy as well as cultural and sociopolitical knowledge. Included are rights and responsibilities, good citizenship, and basic knowledge of our national identity and constitutional heritage. Closely integrated with the social studies curriculum is science. science curriculum is an inquiry-based program in which science content is selected and adapted through a variety of sources in order to meet the interests, knowledge, understanding, abilities, and experiences of the students. Included in the curriculum are: earth and space science, life science, physical science, and environmental science.

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 Library- Technology, 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, puppet play and other hands-on activities.

Mathematics

Progress in Mathematics, published by Sadlier-Oxford, is the basis of our math curriculum. The students are taught problem solving strategies, reasoning and logic, numeration, computational skills, estimation, measurement, graphing, and other mathematical components. All skills taught contribute to a full understanding of the basic general nature and uses of mathematics.

Many lessons are further complemented with hands-on manipulatives and applications to fully demonstrate the concepts being taught.

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.

Science/Social Studies

The Nancy Larson Science curriculum is an inquiry-based program in which science content is selected and adapted through a variety of sources in order to meet the interests, knowledge, understanding, abilities and experiences of the students. Included in the curriculum is: earth and space science, life science, physical science, environmental science and marine science. Kindergarten marine science is a new addition to our curriculum and is taught by a marine biologist weekly.

In addition to the historical perspective, science and social studies are taught from many perspectives including personal, social, ethical and moral perspectives. In social studies, emphasis is also placed on cultural and sociopolitical knowledge, civic values and basic knowledge in our constitutional heritage/national identity.

First Grade Curriculum

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

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

Religion: Christ Our Life, Loyola Press

  • Pray formally and spontaneously as an integral part of the day.
  • Identify God as Father, Jesus as God’s Son, and Spirit as God’s Love.
  • Recognize Mary as Jesus’ Mother, and the Church as the people of God.
  • Recognize that God’s people celebrate together as a community.
  • Recognize and practice four different types of prayer.

Language Arts:
Reading and Grammar: Superkids, Rowland Reading Foundation
Spelling: Word Journeys, Guilford Publications, Inc

  • 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.

Math: Progress in Mathematics, Sadlier-Oxford

  • 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: Nancy Larson Science 1, Nancy Larson Publishers

  • Explain how seasonal changes and weather affect plants, animals, and people.
  • Classify animals according to one or more properties and learn about their habitats.
  • Identify the parts of a plant and their functions.
  • Conduct experiments using the scientific method: make predictions, conduct experiment, record observations, and draw conclusions.
  • Describe physical qualities of solids, liquids, and gases.
  • Experiment with the force of magnetism.
  • Identify the six simple machines and how they help us.
  • Identify natural resources and learn how to best use and conserve them.
  • Identify parts of the human body and the functions of the skeletal, digestive, and respiratory systems
  • Examine the characteristics and life cycles of insects

Social Studies: Virginia Social Studies: My Country – Yesterday and Today, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

  • Illustrate responsibilities of good citizenship and respect for country.
  • Identify the world’s oceans and continents.
  • Learn how to read a map; understand cardinal directions, map symbols, and the map key.
  • Understand the difference between goods and services and the need to save money.
  • Appreciate the cultural diversity of America, and learn how various cultures have contributed to the development of the United States.
  • Understand the history of holidays and celebrations.
  • Identify national landmarks.
  • Recognize America as a democracy, and learn about the first colonies and America’s fight for independence from England.