Lower School Enrichment
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.
First grade girls learn traditional prayers as well as other forms of worship through music and meditations based on Bible stories. Students learn about the seven Sacraments as special signs of God’s love. They also learn about Parish families and their role as members of Christ’s family at home, at school, and in their communities. Girls also learn about Jesus’ ministry and how to embrace Him as our loving God and friend.
Second grade students learn about the sacraments , with a special focus on the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. The Mass is studied as a meal, a sacrifice, and a celebration. First Reconciliation and First Communion are celebrated in the parish to which the family belongs.
Third grade focuses on the Church and the role each of us has as a member of God’s family. The study of related history includes the apostles and the early church, the life, culture and land of Jesus, and of Jewish customs. The parts, prayers, and actions of the Mass are studied as well as the hierarchy and structure of the institutional Church.
Fourth grade girls study virtues as a basis for the formation of a Christian conscience. They learn how virtues are related to the beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, and the lives of Catholic saints.
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.
All levels are introduced to the work and styles of different artists and relate what they learn to what they are doing in the classroom.
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 in grades prekindergarten-fourth are further instructed once per week in the computer lab. In this setting they are introduced to touch-typing and a variety of software programs designed to complement and enrich classroom activities. Topics include:
- 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
- And more
Students also use the Internet for research and online activities for interactive learning and collaboration. They are further instructed on Internet safety through 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.
iPads and Chromebooks are also incorporated into the curriculum to enhance the classroom experience through a variety of educational apps which encourage creativity and student learning. Students will be able to take control of their own learning by engaging more interactively with the content.
The Counseling Department is responsible for the creation, implementation, and administration of a developmentally-based guidance and counseling program which supports the mission of Sacred Heart education. The general stages and tasks that most individuals experience as they mature from childhood to adulthood form the foundation of the program which centers on the development of positive self-concept formed through experience and education. Counseling services include individual and group sessions regarding personal, social, emotional and educational decisions.
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. Counseling may include consultation with other members of the Counseling Department, appropriate administrators, faculty and parents, in order to meet the specific needs of individual students.
The purposes of the Academy’s Counseling Department are:
- To help each student deal more effectively with her schoolwork, parents, teachers and/or peer relationships.
- To help each student understand and accept responsibility for herself and her actions.
- To help each student understand that she can make choices based on gospel values to deal with any life situation.
- To help parents/guardians understand the stages of the developmental process, the problems inherent in those stages and ways to deal with those problems.
The French program in grades kindergarten through fourth primary is a highly communicative program that uses a multidimensional approach which develops fluency.
The curriculum emphasizes the development of oral communication skills with subsequent introduction to reading and writing. Students learn word-meaning relationships and develop an awareness of grammar and syntax in oral language contexts.
The library program in Preschool and Primary School seeks to develop a love of reading and storytelling, story-acting, library and reference skills, and care and use of books.
Preschool students look forward to storytelling time and to acting out nursery rhymes and nursery tales. Finger plays, singing games and other activities are all part of their language arts and reading readiness development. Kindergarteners are excited by the new privilege of checking out books to take home and read. The library curriculum is integrated with the classroom curriculum so that the books selected for library classes reinforce and enhance classroom units and activities.
Research and reference skills are added to the Primary 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.
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 library is most grateful to the parents who present and support the annual Book Fair. The proceeds from the Book Fair enable the school to host author and illustrator visits, which are wonderful enrichments to the library program.
In Lower School, students attend music class twice in a six-day rotation period for forty-five minutes. The goals of the program in the Lower School are to 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.
An after-school choir is encouraged for third and fourth graders, which performs for liturgies, special events, and concerts. The awareness of musical instruments and their sounds, composers, and styles of music are studied, with a special emphasis in the spring on American music history.
A study of diversity is provided through the introduction of composers and music from various cultures. Children prepare for liturgies, feast days, assemblies, and concerts throughout the year.
Following the philosophy of the SPARK Physical Education program, Preschool P.E. offers a wide variety of engaging activities selected according to the developmental needs of each age group. The SPARK program is designed to involve all children, incorporate social skills, and emphasize health related fitness and skill development. Activities and games involving large motor skills and manipulative skills are offered. Other areas of focus include low organized games, simple recreational games, and fitness /warm-up starters. Good sportsmanship and cooperation are encouraged in each level, and all physical activities are geared toward developing an appreciation for a healthy and active lifestyle.
The Lower School P.E. program for third and fourth grades introduces team sport skills. The SPARK curriculum focuses on movement concepts to provide a base for sport-specific skills that are taught in a logical sequence. This progression allows the girls to develop these skills in an appropriate time frame. Intramural tournaments take place during the morning recess and provide an opportunity for the girls to develop these sport-specific skills, have fun, and cultivate good sportsmanship at the same time.
In the first and second grades, most activities are individual in nature and center on teaching movement concepts through theme development. Girls learn movement principles and body management skills at this level. The first and second grade girls also participate in an intramural program. All grade levels are introduced to simple concepts relating to basic fitness, health, and nutrition. The Mater Gym is the perfect facility for P.E. classes and intramurals.
The Lower School curriculum introduces students to science using an inquiry-based approach. Students visit the science lab where they investigate and experiment in a scientific atmosphere.
First grade students discover connections to the world around them by exploring the galaxy, Earth, and their local environment.
Second graders seek to answer the question, “How do things change?” They conduct investigations and experiments related to plants, the phases of matter, weather, and dinosaurs.
Third grade students explore magnets, simple machines, electricity, and engineering to answer the question, “How does it work?”
Fourth graders work to investigate humans and our place in the universe. The year begins with a study of the solar system and continues the focus narrowing to studying our home, Earth. Then, they learn about each of the systems of the human body and conclude the year with an investigation of inventions.
Each year of science builds upon the ideas and principles learned the previous year with new investigations, factual information and knowledge added along the way.
STEM activities are imbedded throughout the curriculum throughout the year in all grade levels.
For more information about Lower School, contact:
Ashley Zito, Director of Admission