The elementary years are a time for growing, changing, and learning. Our goal is to provide a setting where every student can learn, and each person is respected, valued, and challenged. We celebrate diversity and the uniqueness of each individual. Working together, students, teachers, and parents make the school an exemplary environment for learning.
The elementary language arts curriculum embraces a balanced literacy approach to reading and writing instruction. The reading program emphasizes phonemic awareness and incorporates grammar and writing skills. This curriculum balances skills with quality literature and strongly connects the reading and writing program to develop proficiency in both areas. In grades three through six, literature units are studied which enhance themes taught in the other disciplines and develop an appreciation for various genres of literature. A word study program, and the use of the Shurley English program, supports our readers and writers and incorporates grammar, spelling and vocabulary to round out the language arts curriculum. Our goal is to instill a love of reading and writing in each child and to encourage students to become lifelong learners.
The mathematics curriculum is designed to provide a foundational knowledge of mathematical skills crucial to problem solving in real world situations. Varieties of instructional methods are used. The primary focus is to teach number recognition, patterns, computation, reasoning, problem solving skills, and algebra. The students are encouraged to apply these skills in many different ways. Each student is taught to have a mathematical cognitive structure that builds upon prior learning and fosters a solid foundation for future math instruction.
The curriculum for all grade levels is incrementally developed to foster age appropriate mathematical foundations. The math has proven to give the students the solid foundation they need to be successful in pre-algebra. In addition to this, all grades use math manipulatives, participate in hands-on activities, group projects, centers, and drills. Finally, technology is incorporated into the math curriculum using interactive computer programs.
The social studies curriculum seeks to prepare the students for the complex world in which they live. The curriculum provides opportunities for discussion about God's world, its history, and the diverse populations that inhabit the Earth.
The social studies program in the primary grades consists of utilizing current events, Scholastic News, and ten themes that the reading series Open Court offers. These themes are integrated into the other disciplines as well. The third grade students study countries around the world, government and elections, global problems, economics, and map skills. The fourth grade spends a semester studying the state of Florida. Fourth graders take a tour of the Old Florida Museum in St. Augustine, do an extensive study of pioneer life, and visit the NASA Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education. During their time at the center, the students take advantage of real time data and images from NASA satellites. Fifth graders concentrate on United States History and American government. The course covers from the ancient American civilizations through the Civil War. They do an extensive study of the Civil War and travel to Charleston for a tour of famous sites. Sixth grade students study world history and ancient cultures. Cultures are analyzed politically, economically, and socially.
The science curriculum is intended to foster a respect for God's creation while also enhancing critical thinking. We strive to connect scientific principles to everyday life and encourage our students to draw inferences about the world around them. Students are then encouraged to use the scientific method to test these inferences. The curriculum is hands-on, age appropriate, and easily integrated into all subject matters. Field trips, science projects, and experiments enrich the science program.
In grades one and two, a hands-on approach is used to study common scientific units such as seasons, weather, animal life, plant life, changing matter, the water cycle, and the human skeletal system. Third grade units focus on the interdependence of plants and animals, ecosystems, chemical and physical changes, force and motion, and simple machines. Fourth graders study plants, rocks, minerals, fossils, landforms, cycles on earth and in space, and weather. A unit on health and nutrition is also part of the fourth grade curriculum. The fifth grade focuses on the areas of physical and life sciences. Students study the scientific classifications system, invertebrates/vertebrates, cells and genetics, and biomes in depth. The topics of force and motion, simple and compound machines, and matter and energy are also further developed at this grade level. The sixth grade concentrates on scientific inquiry and the scientific method. Life cycles on earth and in space are revisited at this level. Both the fifth and sixth grades develop science fair projects, which they present at a science fair. The curriculum at all grade levels aligns with the Sunshine State Standards.
Christian Formation and Character Education
Christian formation and character education are the very heart of our school. Our program provides each student with a means to practice his/her faith daily and to build a foundation for a lifelong spiritual relationship with God. Christian formation classes are provided at every grade level. Students also participate in outreach programs throughout the year. Our week begins with our Monday Flag Ceremony where children are recognized for their positive attitude and exhibiting the character trait of the month. The elementary students attend chapel services on Wednesdays with the first Wednesday of the month being Holy Communion. Students of all faiths are invited to participate.
The art program continues to build on the foundation laid in the preschool while revisiting some media in a more sophisticated way and continuing to develop skill levels. Children learn to love art while experiencing a wide range of media and activities. These may include: drawing, painting, carving, acrylics, tempuras, watercolors, printmaking, weaving, and ceramics. Art history and appreciation, color and design principles, and drawing and painting techniques are also built into the lessons. This program is designed to foster creativity, develop skills appropriate to age levels, create an appreciation for great artists and their works while developing a useful vocabulary.
Physical education is provided for grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Lessons are planned to meet the needs and objectives for each class based on age and ability levels Health and safety curriculum are shared with the classroom teacher.
Each class visits the library once a week for specific lessons and may check out books.
Spanish is scheduled for kindergarten through fourth grade once a week, twice a week for fifth and sixth grade. Basic concepts and vocabulary are introduced to the students. They will learn simple sentences, greetings, questions and answers, and participate in activities that will allow them to practice their Spanish skills. The teacher also uses traditional Hispanic songs, games, and stories to incorporate the Spanish culture. Spanish instruction focuses on grammar, reading and writing, vocabulary, and conversation.
Musical instruction is taught weekly. Students study musical notation, recognizing the direction of melodic lines, major and minor sounds, musical forms, styles, and structure, and how these ideas relate to music today. They learn to play, compose, and perform music using their voices and various instruments including drums, ukuleles, and Orff instruments. Units on important composers and musical styles from around the world are also part of the music curriculum. Students are given numerous opportunities to use their musical abilities. Programs are scheduled throughout the school year that showcase the student’s vocal and instrumental talents. Finally, music is an integral part of our chapel services and Monday Flag Ceremonies.
The technology program in the elementary division is constantly evolving. This program is designed to help prepare our students for the ever-advancing technological world in which we live. The use of technology in the classroom is designed to enrich and expand the learning capabilities of all students. It is our belief that technology is a means to connect the students to a broader range of information and learning techniques. Students develop fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, use software, and materials that enhance their learning in all subject areas, and stay up to date with the newest technological tools.