Kindergarten - 4th Grade
Students are encouraged to tap into their innate curiosity for exploring their world through discovery and active learning. We are growing critical thinkers, problem solvers, collaborators, and innovators. Our learning outcomes exceed national standards, and our curriculum is developmentally appropriate and engaging. Classroom instruction is complemented by weekly participation in art, music, drama, library, chapel, sacred stories, and physical education.
Connecting students with real life applications in mathematics is crucial to students’ understanding of how and why math works. Our curriculum focuses on mathematical reasoning and conceptual understanding while building a solid understanding of number sense and computation skills. Instruction is interactive and differentiated. Students work independently and in groups to ask questions, make connections, and solve problems in the five content standards of mathematics: Number and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, and Data Analysis and Probability.
At St. Benedict’s, we focus on a balanced approach to literacy. Teachers engage students in whole group, small group, and independent work on a daily basis. As we aim to produce fluent readers, proficient writers, and effective communicators, instruction is learner-centered and differentiated. Lower school teachers are trained in the Orton-Gillingham Approach and execute multi-sensory, structured, and sequential instruction in phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, applied linguistics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Reading occurs within three important modalities: shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading. Students explore and respond to a wide range of classic and contemporary texts from diverse cultures and historical periods. Our youngest writers learn proper formation of letters and cursive instruction begins in third grade. Opportunities to develop writing skills are incorporated through journal, responsive, creative, narrative, expository, and persuasive writing activities. Focused lessons on the traits of writing (ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation) allow students to sharpen their skills as they work through the writing process (pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing).
Spanish is a core subject and is taught by native-speaking teachers. The Spanish curriculum is age-appropriate with the goal of developing a love for the Spanish language and culture through songs, stories, and interactive lessons. Lower school students build a strong vocabulary foundation which allows them to understand key commands and phrases. Through conversation, literature, and grammar skills, students begin to read and write in Spanish. Because of the emphasis placed on Spanish in Preschool-8th grade, our graduates typically enter high school Spanish as a second or third year student.
Building a foundation of scientific inquiry at each grade level allows students to formulate a question that can be answered through investigation. Our youngest scientists discover relationships between objects, plan and carry out investigations, collect and analyze data, compare information, draw conclusions, and ask more questions. This type of scientific thinking leads to designing effective solutions for problems.
Social studies can be defined as the integrated study of social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. The cultural diversity of our St. Benedict’s student body reflects the importance of learning civic responsibility in our global society. During the lower school years, students study the ten themes of social studies as they explore geography, history, economics, and cultural studies. Topics include communities, holiday traditions, citizenship, government, important historical figures, early American history, and US History.
Art, drama, and music classes focus on nurturing the whole child and developing a lasting appreciation of the arts. The fine arts program is highly engaging and interactive. Music faculty use a hands on approach to train students’ musical ear by using the Kodaly Method, which prepares them for reading music for middle school band. Guest speakers, visiting performers and artists, and curriculum-related field trips expand our student’s knowledge and help them grow in awareness, expression, and appreciation.
Being mindful of our student’s cultural and religious backgrounds, we offer weekly worship services in the Episcopal morning prayer tradition where parents, relatives, and friends of every faith tradition are encouraged to join us. We gather together to support one another, to strengthen and celebrate our community, and to learn about how we can share the love of God beyond our school. Religious instruction is a comparative journey of biblical sacred stories, ethics, and social justice. By graduation, all of our students are growing in love, faith, and respect for one another and God.
Measurement Student Learning
We believe in using various forms of assessment to measure student learning. Asking students to demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter is critical to the learning process; it is essential to evaluate whether the educational goals are being met. At St. Benedict’s, we measure student learning in various ways:
Formative Assessment - Collecting detailed information that can be used to improve instruction and student learning while it’s happening.
Summative Assessment - Evaluating student learning at the end of an instructional unit.
Standardized Testing - Each spring, students take the CTP5 published by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB).