At Waldron Mercy Academy, our Lower School begins in first grade and extends through fourth grade, when they become Middle School students for grades five through eight. The common thread that extends through everything we do is a strong trust in children and a commitment to meeting each student at their level.
Our flexible and gifted teachers are committed to directed learning, with differentiation that allows for a deeper dive or subject acceleration among our most gifted learners and extra support for students whose learning styles and abilities can benefit from the expanded personal involvement. We are committed to personalized learning outside the classroom, as well, whether students need enrichment or extra support from our specialists. The language arts program and math program used in the Lower School allows for consistency between grade levels. Both emphasis classroom learning with breakouts that enable individuals to learn at their own levels. The material covered from year to year is carefully planned to build on students' experiences and knowledge from the year before.
Children learn by example and each student is paired with a Big Buddy, providing a friend, a mentor and a glimpse into their future.
Service and outreach begins early as we cultivate a sense of mindfulness and awareness that we have a role to play in this world and each one of us, no matter how young, can and will make a difference.
Our students enter Middle School with academic and personal confidence, ready to take on new challenges.
In first grade, students build the foundational and essential reading skills of phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency through the Houghton Mifflin Journeys series. Students develop writing skills through the use of inventive spelling and experiences with a variety of genres. In the area of mathematics, students use a variety of manipulatives, explicit instruction and independent practice to foster their understanding of mathematical concepts. Through the Blest Are We series students gain an understanding of the Church teachings and work to build a relationship with God. Students are exposed to science and STEM through hands-on projects and experiements. Social studies encompasses history, civics, feelings, and being part of a community.
The language arts program in second grade is theme based, with a focus on fluency and comprehension skills. It provides a variety of phonemic awareness activities, phonics instruction, spelling, and practice in all areas. Students continue to develop writing skills with inventive spelling and experiences with a variety of story genres. The mathematics curriculum provides rigorous content focused on building a deep conceptual understanding of key math skills and concepts. Students continue to gain an understanding of the Church teachings, build a relationship with God and prepare for sacraments through the Blest Are We series. Students are exposed to science and STEM through hands-on projects and experiements. Social studies explores North America through government and leaders, communities, and maps.
The third grade religion curriculum focuses on following in Jesus’ footsteps in thoughts, words, and deeds. Using the Blest Are We series, third grade reads the Old and New Testament passages to relate to our lives at school, home, and at church. The emphasis is on becoming Children of God and living by Jesus’ example. The language arts program includes reading and writing components. Students explore types of fiction and nonfiction as well as narrative writing, persuasive writing, and investigative pieces. Chromebooks give students opportunities to explore in-depth activities. In math, students are exposed to varied approaches to problem solving strategies to develop competence and concepts. Social studies encompass a study of Pennsylvania and communities, and includes map skills, focusing on countries and continents. Students engaged in weekly science lab activities using investigative learning, in addition to classroom lessons. Third grade explores ecosystems, plants and animals and food webs and chains. Students also tackle hands-on STEM projects.
Students in fourth grade are introduced to scientific topics that they will expand on in Middle School: properties of matter, geology, plant and animal cells, and human biology. In math, students gain a deeper understanding of concepts as their mastery level increases.