Preschool & Lower School Curriculum
- Global Education
- Makerspace & Design Thinking
- Religion & Sophie's Spirit
- STEM at ASH
- Mathematical Mindset
- The Arts
- Afternoons at ASH
Global Education at ASH
What is Global Education at Sacred Heart?
Global education is intrinsic to our identity and mission at Sacred Heart. Global education serves as a pathway on which students come to discover and understand themselves, their world and our connections to each other.
Why is Global Education important to ASH?
In Lower School, we begin to support our girls on the journey to becoming globally competent citizens. We intentionally design aspects of our curriculum to build global competencies such as collaboration, recognizing perspectives, engaging in effective communication, and taking action. As students continue to build these competencies from grade-to-grade, they become more prepared for national and international exchange experiences, and to live our mission as people of faith in action.
What kind of activities do students do in relation to Global Education at ASH?
In each grade level, students participate in units of study which are designed to teach and build important global competencies in our girls. For example, in third grade students developed their ability to recognize others’ perspectives and to effectively communicate through their participation in a long term unit on the study of the contributions of women in the field of space exploration. Third graders researched the lives, struggles, and accomplishments of female astronauts, engineers, and mathematicians, many of whom had been historically unacknowledged for their roles in the advancement of this field.
By the end of the year, what do students know about Global Education?
Students work to build global competencies such as communication and perspective-taking. We think of these competencies as a combination of knowledge + skills + disposition that are developed over a lifetime.
Why is Global Education an important foundation for the rest of their education at ASH or as a person?
Our global education curriculum at Sacred Heart supports our commitment to form global citizens and leaders who serve with faith, intellect, and compassion. To learn how the principles of Global Education are integrated through the Network of Sacred Heart schools, click here >
Makerspace & Design Thinking Initiative:
The Mater Campus Makerspace provides hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they develop independence, and self-regulation.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Trees
After reading the book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, students design a way for the letters to be off of the ground with the materials provided.
Materials Needed: small cube blocks, popsicle sticks, small letters
Skills and Concepts Introduced: Problem solving
Design Leprechaun Trap
Collaborating with the 4th graders, each group brainstorms and draws out a design, collect materials, and work together to create their design.
Materials Needed: All materials in the Makerspace are available for this challenge.
Skills and Concepts Introduced: collaboration, communication
Design An Insect
At the end of the Prekindergarten study of insects, students design and create an insect out of recyclable materials, then look for three body parts and antennae.
Materials Needed: All materials in the Makerspace are available for this challenge.
Skills and Concepts Introduced: Independently working
Jennie’s Hats ~ Ezra Jack Keats
During the Prekindergarten author study of Ezra Jack Keats, students retell Jennie’s Hats. A discussion of the book will follow as well as a brainstorming session on how to create a hat.
Materials Needed: All materials available
Skills and Concepts Introduced: independence, coordination
“I can make” Monsters
Students pick 7 cards that specifies what materials to use and how many of each material to create a silly “monster.”
Materials Needed: Cards, pipe cleaners, bottle caps, pom poms, playdough, swabs, straws, buttons, googly eyes
Skills and Concepts Introduced: working independently, numeral recognition, counting
Float a Penny
In connection with Prekindergarten study of sink and float, each student designs a prototype and tests it in a bucket of water. Once successful, they float their design in the fountain in the main courtyard.
Materials Needed: Recyclable materials and containers foil, tape
Skills and Concepts Introduced: collaboration, communication, working independently
Billy Goat Gruff
During the study in Reading Workshop on Billy Goats Gruff, students discuss the book and an alternate ending. “How can we get the billy goat across the “water” without touching the water?”
Materials Needed: Popsicle sticks, clothespins, small toy goat, “water” from paper
Skills and Concepts Introduced: Communication, problem solving
THE MATER CAMPUS LIBRARY
The Mater Library program in Preschool and Lower School seeks to develop a love of reading and storytelling, story-acting, library and reference skills, and care and use of books.
Research and reference skills are added to the Lower School library curriculum. First and second grade students are introduced to the library’s electronic online catalog, the Dewey decimal classification system, the sections of the library, circulation procedures and reference skills, including the use of the electronic encyclopedia, World Book Online. Third and fourth grade students learn to use the library with greater facility and increase their research skills. The library curriculum integrates with the classroom curriculum so that both content and research coincide and reinforce classroom units and activities. Students are taught to access the electronic books in the school catalog. Library teaches appreciation for literature, story structure and literary genres, as well as history, geography and cultural heritage.
ASH Guest Authors and Speakers series engage our students with storytelling, book mock up and development, and inspiring a culture of reading curiosity.
The Birthday Book Club continues to be enthusiastically received by all the children and provides the best of award-winning and outstanding new books for the school’s collection.
The proceeds from the Sacred Heart Book Fair (open to the wider public community) enable the school to host author and illustrator visits which are wonderful enrichments to the library program. The library is most grateful to the parents who present and support the annual Book Fair.
Preschool & Lower School students work with computers in their classrooms to enhance their regular curriculum work, to develop higher order thinking skills, and to become self-confident and independent in using the computer as a learning tool. Students are engaged with computer skills once per week in the Tech Café with a variety of software programs designed to enrich classroom activities.
- Identifying the parts of a computer
- Basic computer terminology
- Using menus
- Proper handling and care of hardware and software
- Basic troubleshooting
- Use of strategies in educational games
- Seeing multiple solutions to problems
- Visual spatial skills, creativity and memory building
- Basic web design
- Intro to Coding (code.org, Scratch, Kodable)
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Google Apps
Our iSafe © program which equips students with the critical thinking and problem solving skills they need to help them make safe and responsible decisions in our technological world. Students also use the Internet for research and online activities for interactive learning and collaboration.
iPads and Chromebooks are incorporated through a variety of educational apps to encourage creativity and student learning.
RELIGION & SOPHIE'S SPIRIT
The Lower School religion program focuses on Jesus as a way to come to know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Students pray and listen to Scripture stories. They are encouraged to find the presence of Jesus within everyone. They sing, write, draw and act out scripture stories. Students also learn about and celebrate special feast days and seasons of the Church.
Inspired by our foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, Sophie’s Spirit is a campus ministry club open to 3rd and 4th graders designed to develop leadership, planning, and public speaking skills while enriching the spiritual life at the Mater Campus.
Literacy: For the Love of LEARNING
What is literacy at Sacred Heart?
In the Preschool and Lower School, literacy is interwoven into all facets of our day. Literacy at Sacred Heart is more than just learning to read and write. It is learning how to become joyful, engaged, critical readers. It is learning how to express oneself both orally and in writing. It is learning how to interact with the world of literacy.
How is literacy different at ASH?
Our balanced approach to literacy includes multiple components including Reading and Writing Workshop as well as Wilson Fundations. However, it isn’t just our curriculum that makes literacy at ASH special –– it’s how we use those different facets to create a blended, cohesive approach that allows reading, writing, speaking, and listening to come together as one. We teach readers and writers, not a curriculum.
What kind of activities do students do in relation to literacy at ASH?
Students learn to take control of their own reading and writing, and as a result, take control of their learning. Each day, students are introduced to a skill in each subject area, given the opportunity to practice that skill with their peers, with teacher support, and independently. Every day, students read and write up a storm, and they love doing so.
A strong foundation for life.
The foundation that the preschool and lower school provides in literacy sets the stage for students as readers, writers, speakers, and listeners for the rest of their lives. Beyond reading and writing, students engage with a variety of texts, listen attentively and synthesize information, and express themselves independently.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
STEM engineers at Academy of The Sacred Heart dive into the world of STEM taking on challenges, experiments, and design thinking to expand their everyday thought process. We explore using the scientific method and observe the world around us. Focusing on sustainability and making the world a better place by creating trash collectors and exploring an animals natural habitat.
What is STEM at Sacred Heart?
In the STEM Department we try to expand each students’ way of thinking. By solving everyday problems and inventing new ways to make things better.
Why is STEM important to ASH? Or: Why is how we teach STEM special at ASH?
Students are introduced to design thinking starting at pre-k and goes through 12th grade allowing their mind sets to grow with them.
What kind of activities do students do in relation to STEM at ASH?
From the moment students enter the STEM zone students are asked how they would make the world better. Through a series of questions and challenges we engage in everyday problems the students can see get better because of them. Such as creating trash collectors to help save animals in a pound or reusing recycled paper from their own classrooms.
By the end of the year, what do students know about STEM?
Students realize they can make a difference and they can help make this world better from their ideas and hard work.
Why is STEM an important foundation for the rest of their education at ASH or as a person?
We see girls everyday things are difficult every day, but through their STEM mindset, they think it through and don't give up. They know if it is not what they want or they realize it can be better they work hard to try to fix it.
The Mathematical Mindset: numbers, Models & problem solving
In Lower School, we encourage mathematical engagement, the creative use of visual models, and encourage students to problem solve and persevere through complex problems.
This positive culture is created by our teachers. We lead whole and small groups, we work one-on-one with students, and we foster collaboration by providing students with many opportunities to actively engage with their peers.
The emphasis in mathematics is for the students to utilize every phase of the learning process to help them solve problems concretely before attempting to solve them abstractly. Concepts include basic facts in the four operations, multiplication with two- and three- digit multipliers, long division with one- and two- digit divisors, metric and customary measurement, geometry, fractions, decimals, and collecting and graphing data. Problem-solving strategies are continually reviewed.
In Lower School, art projects become more structured. Yet, the emphasis remains on the creative process. Students are encouraged to discover and develop their artistic strengths and interests.While exploring various media and techniques, students paint portraits and landscapes, draw still-lifes, make prints and build sculptures. All the while, they are becoming familiar with the basic elements and principles of art such as line, color, form, shape, and texture.
The Lower School Music program utilize all basic elements of music to gain an understanding of music as a discipline and a means of self-expression. The Orff/Kodály system of teaching is employed. The children incorporate all elements of music to improve their skills in melodic instrument playing singing, music reading and sight-singing (employing the Curwen Hand Signs), rhythmic response, and ear training. Students are offered participatory activities involving speech, movement, listening, and the ability to work in small and large groups.
The learning process involves imitation, exploration, literacy, and improvisation. Students undergo a group socialization process, which increases and enhances self-esteem, as they rehearse for liturgies and performances. Recorder and melody chimes are introduced in third and fourth grades.
THE COUNSELING DEPARTMENT
The Counseling Department's developmental approach considers the nature of human development, including the general stages and tasks that most individuals experience as they mature from childhood to adulthood forms the foundation of the guidance and counseling program. The program centers on the development of positive self-concept formed through experience and education.
Components of the program include socialization skills, group guidance activities, individual counseling, play group activities, and consultation with parents, faculty, and administration. Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) develop the topics and base their lessons on issues and problems important to each age group.
AFTERNOONS AT ASH: PLUS & PROGRAMS
~ NOTE: Currently suspended due to safety measures during COVID-19 ~
PLUS is a fee-based after-school service designed to allow Little Hearts-Grade 4 students choice time during the after school hours in a safe and supportive environment. PLUS Supervisors and Staff engage with children through play, scheduled activities, and guided study.
After-school enrichment programs are available for Little Hearts, Preschool and Lower School students after school. These offerings allow students a chance to try out new opportunities and have fun –– right at ASH!
Prekindergarten is a full-day program that provides a secure and stimulating environment to nurture the ever-active minds of four- and five-year olds. A literary-based approach integrates the study of language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
Language arts includes letter recognition, letter formation, and phonological awareness. Oral language skills include listening to, retelling, and narrating stories. Children also learn there is meaning in their words as they watch teachers write what they say.
Math activities foster an understanding of number sense through the use of manipulatives. By playing games in small groups, children learn counting, comparing, patterning, sequencing, matching, sorting, and problem solving.
Field trips and special classes in religion, library, physical education, art, computer, and music enhance the curriculum. Enriching group experiences promote spiritual growth, sociability, sharing, and concern for others and the environment.
ASH PLUS offers after-school care from the end of the school day until 6:00 p.m.
Kindergarten is a full-day program that integrates structured as well as unstructured activities for five- and six-year-olds. Whole group instruction and small group lessons meet the needs of individual learning styles.
Language arts activities include reading instruction, letter formation, listening skills, comprehension and creative writing.
The math curriculum includes the use of manipulative materials to reinforce an understanding of abstract concepts.
Social studies includes an introduction to and cultural exploration of our city and state with monthly interactive activities across the curriculum. In addition, timely discussions based on articles and information found in “Weekly Reader” enhance global awareness.
Students attend special classes in religion, music, science, library, art, computer and foreign language. The kindergarten program promotes spiritual development, encourages positive social interactions and reinforces a positive attitude toward school and learning.
ASH PLUS offers after-school care from the end of the school day until 6:00 p.m.
For more information about Lower School, contact:
Ashley Zito, Director of Admission