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Curriculum Highlights

Pre Kindergarten 3 year old

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 Marine Science, Art, Library, Music, Physical Education, and Spanish. They also visit the on-campus chapel every week. There is a three-day or five-day option for attending the PreK-3 program.

The Pre-K (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 offers a blended Montessori and traditional learning environment that prepares 3 year olds for further progression in PreK-4 and beyond. The PreK-3 program focuses on allowing each child to develop at his/her own pace using all of their senses to explore the world around them. This approach also provides plenty of opportunities to grow in social skills such as empathy, cooperation and courtesy.

During daily “Morning Meeting,” 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,  Math and Science concepts relate to each other and build upon previously mastered skills. Skills are reinforced through the use of age-appropriate activities, 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 Montessori learning centers to reinforce concepts introduced during whole group instruction. These centers include Language Arts, Math, Art, Sensorial, Science and Culture and Practical Life. and students’ choice of free play activities. With the guidance of the teacher, many of these centers incorporate the use of manipulatives (games, puzzles, blocks, counters, buttons, etc.) in order to provide an open-ended, self-correcting, individualized experience  for each student.

Students are also encouraged to participate in a weekly show-and-tell, typically related to a topic of interest or 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 students also participate in special annual events such as a Grandparent’s Day Show, Halloween Parade, Thanksgiving Feast, Christmas Program and Stepping- Up to Pre-K 4 ceremony, as well as class field trips.

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

The PreK-4 year old program at Saint Mary Star of the Sea School is designed to meet the needs of the whole child, recognizing first and foremost that he or she is a Child of God.  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-4 year old curriculum includes daily enrichment classes which includes  Art, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Music, Physical Education, and Spanish. The children also visit the on-campus chapel on a regular basis to pray as well as helping develop their faith.

The Pre-K Junior Kindergarten (4 year old) program closely follows the Consensus Curriculum established by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.


Overview of the Program

     The PreK-4 Junior Kindergarten program has a structured learning environment that prepares the 4 year old child for a more rigorous program in Kindergarten and beyond. The PreK-4 program focuses heavily on reading readiness skills using the Happily Ever After reading program and understanding numbers and number sense while enabling the child to develop the social skills needed to become successful in school.

     During daily “Morning Meeting Time” students gather together to sing a "Good Morning" song and go over assigned jobs for the week that help teach the importance of responsibility, waiting turns, and daily routines. Singing is encouraged during our Morning Meeting Time to help learn about the daily weather and calendar (months of the year and days of the week). Weekly themes are implemented to introduce a letter and/or number of the week correlating with Religion lessons and Math concepts that build upon previously mastered skills. Science and Social Studies concepts are introduced to the children throughout the year.

     In addition to whole group activities, the PreK-4 Junior Kindergarten year old program utilizes learning centers to reinforce concepts introduced during whole group instruction. These centers include Language Arts, Math, Science, 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, educational,  and individualized experience for each student.

     Students are also encouraged to participate in a weekly show-and-tell relating to the letter or theme 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-4 students also participate in special annual events such as a Grandparent’s Day, Halloween Parade, Thanksgiving Feast, Christmas Program, and an End of the Year PK celebration.

Religion: God Made the World

The God Made the World textbook incorporates a comprehensive early childhood curriculum designed to nurture and enrich the faith and spiritual lives of children at the age of 4. Each developmentally appropriate unit is carefully planned so that at completion, the children are ready to continue their faith journey in the kindergarten 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 the World textbook encompasses multiple disciplines such as Language Arts and Science, as children learn about prayer, develop a relationship with God and His people,  and the 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.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Program (CGS)

CGS was developed by Sofia Cavelletti, an Italian Hebrew scripture scholar. Cavelletti built on the work and methods of Maria Montessori. Hands on material along with scripture readings are used to teach the children about the life of Jesus, Parables about the Kingdom of God, and liturgical celebrations in the Catholic faith.

Happily Ever After Reading Readiness Program

The Happily Ever After Reading Readiness Program teaches the child the skills necessary to prepare for reading in Kindergarten and beyond. The program incorporates 10 Fairy Tale stories with activities that build upon each other such a folding, cutting, following directions, and listening comprehension.

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.

  

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