At the primary level, reading skills are developed to enable the students to become independent readers and writers. The Houghton Mifflin Reading program provides the framework for a Balanced Literacy approach to reading and writing. Targeted skills in phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, and writing and grammar are integrated into thematic units. Thematic learning integrates all subject areas within authentic contexts while keeping the interest and engagement of the students as key concepts are connected to learning. Leveled readers complement the reading program allowing for differentiated reading instruction. Small, flexible groups within the classroom also allow for specific skill instruction at varying levels. Children learn to write as a way to express themselves and for a particular purpose. Students produce writing pieces while taking them through the drafting, peer conferencing, teacher editing, and revision processes.
The Everyday Mathematics program provides the framework for mathematical content and reasoning. The content provides a curriculum that is rich in real-world problem solving opportunities. The students will engage in many hands-on activities relating to counting, numeration, measurement, geometry, patterns, sorting, data collecting, and calculator use. Math topics, concepts, and skills are revisited in a variety of ways over time connecting new learning with previous experiences, continually helping to develop an understanding of the skills. The program provides a balance between explicit, grade-level mathematical concepts and skills, and broader focal points which develop mathematical knowledge across the grades.
Religion is a faith journey, taught not only as an independent subject, but also integrated into the daily actions and behaviors of each child. In the primary grades, the children learn about God’s creation, Jesus, as God’s greatest gift to us and the Church as a servant community. They prepare for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Prayer, and service and outreach projects are integrated into the curriculum as signs and symbols of living a Christian life within the community and adhering to the gospel values of mercy and justice.
Science in the primary grades uses a hands-on, discovery approach where the students are encouraged to ask questions, make observations, and communicate their findings with their classmates. Units of study fall under four broad topics: physical science, life science, earth science and environmental science. Our science specialist introduces the students to the equipment in the Science Lab while stressing the importance of proper safety.
In social studies, students learn how they contribute to the community in which they live and their responsibilities to the global world. In third grade, special emphasis is placed on the history and geography of Pennsylvania.
Students in first through third grades learn how to use the computer as an effective tool for research and exploration, communication and creative expression. Students are introduced to basic word processing and research skills. They explore a variety of software programs, and use appropriate Web 2.0 tools designed to develop critical thinking skills and enhance curricular studies in their classrooms. SMART Boards, SMART Tables, iPads and laptops are used within the classroom.
Special classes—art, music, choir, gym, library, and Spanish—enhance the core curriculum.