Curriculum

RELIGION

The students will explore God’s gifts through Bible stories, songs, games, and art projects.  Students will learn about creation, family, our Church community, and ourselves. The curriculum also focuses on holidays and how they relate to the Church.  Songs, poetry, and prayer are built into each lesson to provide learning experiences for all students.

Text: Sadlier Discovering God’s Love

LANGUAGE ARTS

Language Arts covers many concepts in TK.  Students will develop their oral language skills through the use of word play, playtime, and reading.  Students will be provided with the opportunity to increase their vocabulary in each lesson.  New vocabulary is embedded in every story, song, and theme.

Students will learn about letters, letter sounds, rhymes, syllables, and word awareness.  Students will be introduced to a letter a week and are given opportunity to manipulate the letter through word play. Basic sight words are taught and used in vocabulary and writing.

Students learn about the concepts of print during every read aloud.  They learn through imitation how to hold a book and track print.  They learn about what authors and illustrators do and they practice good reading behavior.

Students learn D’Nealian Manuscript handwriting. This is practiced daily through the use of practice pages and journals.  Students explore different writing styles, which ranges from expository to descriptive to narrative.

Texts:
Robert-Leslie Publishing The InvestiGator Club
D’Nealian Manuscript Handwriting

MATH

Students will learn math concepts through engaging, hands-on lessons.  TK math focuses on colors, geometry, number sense, days of the week, patterns, and measurement.  Lessons build on each other and contain manipulatives that make concepts more meaningful.

Text:  Robert-Leslie Publishing The InvestiGatorClub

SCIENCE

There are 3 main areas in our curriculum: physical science, life science, and Earth & space.   Students learn about each area through observation and exploration.  They will learn about animals, plants, machines, seasons, weather, earth and the sky.  Students will also participate in experiments that teach about the scientific process as we investigate science.

Text:  Robert-Leslie Publishing The InvestiGator Club

SOCIAL STUDIES

In Social Studies, students will learn about various types of people and how they live.  They will learn about family, community, and diversity.  Students will also be introduced to jobs within communities and the concept of buying and selling goods.   Basic geography will be taught as students learn about maps and where they live.  The concept of time and how things change over time will also be explored.

Text:  Robert-Leslie Publishing The InvestiGator Club

DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL SKILLS

Students at Stella Maris Academy are exposed to and familiar with the Boys Town Social Skills Curriculum in grades TK-8. The Boys Town Social Skills curriculum focuses on empowering students to problem solve, make better choices, and self-advocate. Social skills are a daily part of our school community. Social skills include: following instructions, greeting others, getting the teacher’s attention, accepting no for an answer, accepting a consequence, staying on task, disagreeing appropriately, listening, working as a team, sharing, asking for permission, and saying an apology.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING PROGRAM

The Sanford Harmony Program is implemented in grades TK-8 and its core value is to build healthy peer relationships inside and outside of the classroom. The goal of Sanford Harmony is to create inclusive classroom communities, where teaching takes priority over resolving personality conflicts or issues among students. Students are empowered to communicate, cooperate, connect, embrace diversity, and resolve conflict. Students are taught meaningful and productive ways to interact and express themselves, which are irreplaceable skills that will last a lifetime.

TECHNOLOGY

Technology at Stella Maris Academy goes beyond the computer lab. All of our buildings are networked and well-equipped; each classroom has at least 3 computers, eBeam interactive white board technology, a document camera and an LCD projector. Technology-based projects are integrated throughout our curriculum. SMA buildings have wireless Internet access across the entire school campus. Stella Maris Academy uses iMacs and students utilize the Office 2012 as well as a variety of educational software and Web-based subscription programs. Students in grades TK-8 have access to a class set of iPads and ChromeBooks as well.  Technology is integrated into every component of our curriculum at Stella Maris Academy. Using technology in our daily learning prepares students for the real world environment, especially as our nation becomes increasingly more technology-dependent.  Students are prepared for their future careers, and are given opportunities to interact with classmates through collaboration.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Our physical education curriculum is composed of physical fitness fundamentals, motion skills and movement, social skills and sportsmanship. Basic skills that enhance balance, endurance, strength and agility activities, ball-handling skills individually, with partners and in groups, and rope jumping are taught. Each skill involves creative thinking, sportsmanship, fairness, cooperation and following directions.

FINE ARTS CURRICULUM

Stella Maris Academy provides a challenging, coherent, and relevant art curriculum, the goal of which is to help students experience and appreciate art and the beauty of the world around them, and to lead them to discover unique and constructive methods of self-expression.    In keeping with the diocesan guidelines for a fine arts curriculum, Stella Maris Academy includes in its visual arts curriculum for each grade level elements of four components:  (1) exploration of the visual elements and principles of art and design, including line, color, shape, and composition, (2) creative expression through experimenting with various materials and processes, (3) examination of the cultural and historical contexts in which art is created, exploring cultural themes, works of significant artists, styles and processes; and (4)  development of skills and vocabulary for looking at and discussing art in terms of design elements, characteristics and appreciation.

Transitional Kindergarten: Transitional Kindergartners explore (1) visual elements and principles of art and design using primary and secondary colors, line, shape, pattern, and texture, and symmetry in composition; (2) creative expression using a variety of media including drawing with pencil, crayon, marker, and oil pastel, painting with watercolors and tempera, collage, stamping techniques, and sculpting with paper, Play-Doh and ceramic clay; (3) visual arts heritage by exploring art from the Mexican culture (Our Lady of Guadalupe and Days of the Dead), and the works artists such as of Monet, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, O’Keeffe, Warhol and Eric Carle; and (4) analysis and interpretation by learning to recognize design elements and characteristics in the art work of peers, significant artists, and in various cultures, including Mexico.

SPANISH

Spanish language and culture are introduced through illustrated stories, flashcards, songs, videos, and art and craft activities. Activities like acting, singing, dancing, painting and playing games are enjoyed immensely by our little students and are a great way to enhance their memory. Because of their young age, we believe in the importance of a full immersion in the L2 language. Little students get easily used to a second language and are eager to copy and say words in Spanish. Students are taught the sign of the cross, pronunciation of letters and words, age-appropriate vocabulary, Latino/Hispanic/Spanish holidays/traditions, and simple sentence structures.  Specifically, students learn according to their age and needs: greetings/goodbyes; expressing feelings; asking/responding to name; basics of gender/number agreement (adjectives); animals; classroom commands and routines; colors; numbers 1-20; weather expressions; dates; days of the week; foods/drinks; opposites; body parts; and shapes. 

LIBRARY

The Stella Maris Academy Library/ Media program is built on understanding core knowledge instruction while also learning essential skills for critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.  Stella Maris Academy’s Library/ Media program fundamentally aligns itself with Common Core State Standards while working directly with each classroom teacher to align curriculum.  The main component of the Library Media program centers on building strong content knowledge and focusing literacy instruction directly to the text. Students in all grades (TK-8) are encouraged to draw direct evidence from the text itself in order to promote comprehension and cite evidence accurately and correctly.  A key component to the program includes an emphasis on interpretive and analytical skills within a range of texts, digital information and internet/ media.

In grades Transitional Kindergarten through Second Grade, students focus on a variety of digital literacy skills to access information efficiently, effectively and most importantly in a safe way to inquire, think critically and gain knowledge.  A main focus is to cultivate a love of reading and become a self-motivated reader.  Students learn the proper use and handling of books, identify and appreciate various genres and types of text (Non-Fiction, Fiction, Informative, Narrative) and applying that knowledge within the classroom. Students learn the basics of alphabetizing and the importance of organization in the Library Media Center.  Students develop successful strategies for locating information accurately and effectively to support their research. In addition, students in Second grade start the Accelerated Reader Program, which provides an individualized plan for reading comprehension based on each students comprehension skills, zone of proximal development and individual reading goals.  Students learn how to use the Accelerated Reader program to read books within their particular level and earn points based on the completion of online comprehension quizzes to accurately gauge their reading comprehension and individual reading readiness. The Accelerated Reader program continues through grade Eight and constitutes one hundred points of their Reading and Literature Grades.

MUSIC

The music program at Stella Maris Academy exists to provide students with a safe environment in which to experiment with and perfect the God given gift of their voices.  Students will be encouraged to sing accurately, in tune, together, and separately.  They will be provided with a variety of performance and leadership opportunities through school productions, after school activities, and church services.  We want to give our students the opportunity to do something GREAT!