Mother Seton Academy’s Curriculum
At Mother Seton Academy we believe that religious growth and faith formation are an integral part of Catholic education and are included as part of a child's developmental stages. Students learn to relate to the care and love of God and are able to develop a relationship with God through the experiences they have in the relationship with others. Our goal is to hand on the Catholic faith, to help students from pre-school to grade eight hear the message of hope, and to help them spread God's love through life and service.
A developmentally appropriate curriculum is designed for students pre-K to grade eight to accommodate the different learning styles and needs of all students. This curriculum is set forth by the Diocese of Trenton and is in accordance with New Jersey Core Curriculum and Content Standards.
Our Pre-School curriculum follows the guidelines established by the Early Childhood Council of the Diocese of Trenton. We endeavor to create a learning experience for our children, which is solidly based on the practices promoted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Our children in Rainbow Patch are made comfortable in a responsive, preparing, and adaptive environment where they have direct hands-on experience with stimulating learning materials which foster active-directed and self-directed learning in a variety of subject areas.
Children are introduced to God and how He made the world and the people around them. Since they are still egocentric at this age, our religious curriculum fosters learning about God through special things He made for them. This includes learning that God made our feelings, our families, our friends, our five senses, animals, water, food, and other things that they can easily relate to. The children also learn that God created each one as a special person who can accomplish many things through God's Grace.
Language Development includes color recognition, letter recognition, producing letter sounds, and an introduction to letter writing. The children are introduced to spatial concepts such as over and under, opposites, and rhyming. Children also build their vocabulary through singing, story-telling, and dramatic play.
Mathematical concepts are fostered by learning to count by rote, number and shape recognition, sequencing and categorizing objects by size, shape, color, and texture.
Science includes many hands-on experiences and covers a wide range of topics and activities: cooking, nutrition, dental hygiene, keeping healthy, the seasons, hibernation, weather, plants, and the planets.
Fine Motor Skills are developed through printing, coloring, painting, cutting, tearing, gluing, using play dough, doing puzzles, and stringing beads.
Gross Motor Skills are built through various physical activities such as: hopping, jumping, running, skipping, playing with balls, bean bags and hula hoops, dancing and playing games.
Social and Emotional Skills are fostered in a loving, enhanced Christian environment. This emphasizes such skills as: learning to play and share cooperatively with others, gaining appropriate control over our feelings, accepting authority, developing good listening skills which enables the children to follow directions, developing the ability to work independently, learning to be responsible for themselves and their belongings, and most importantly developing a good self-image.
Primary Grades K - 3
The primary grade curriculum provides a warm Christian environment which stimulates the student to learn in all areas. Cooperative learning and critical thinking are some of the instructional strategies used in the classroom to motivate students to learn.
Religious instruction includes helping the student learn about God as a loving Father, Mary as our Mother and all the saints in heaven. Students are introduced to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and His Church through prayer worship, scripture, morality and sacraments. Second grade students are prepared for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Third grade continues with the instruction of the Sacraments and begins the study of the history and structure of the Church.
Our Language Arts program in Kindergarten introduces students to beginning reading skills: letter recognition, phonics and decoding words. Integrated Language Arts encompasses reading, language, listening, writing, speaking, spelling and these are introduced through the reading program. Written and oral language expression that stimulate thought and imagination are also fostered and developed throughout the grades.
Throughout the Math program students discover computation, measurement, geometry, and problem-solving skills through the investigation of meaningful problems while working individually or together in cooperative groups. By 3 rd grade concepts continue to be reinforced and multiplication is taught.
Students develop problem-solving, decision making and inquiry skills in Science, as they formulate practical questions and hypotheses; plan experiments, conduct systematic observations, interpret and analyze data, draw conclusions and communicate their results. In each of the grades students study earth, physical and life sciences.
Through Social Studies students develop a sense of self and others, as they learn about rules and safety, about students' rights and responsibilities. They are exposed to democratic citizenship and diplomatic ideas. They actively participate in community service that helps develop an awareness of society and their role in it.
Intermediate Grades 4 - 5
In a religious atmosphere the curriculum in the intermediate grades begins to take the students from concrete operations to a higher level of independent and critical thinking. In religion students are guided to grow in faith and respond to God through on on-going understanding of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes as a guide for Christian living; the Liturgy and the Liturgical year; the sacramental life of the Church; and the Old Testament. Students are encouraged to develop a relationship with God through prayer. They are offered a variety of experiences including observation, investigation, discovery and creativity to foster the desire to make decisions based on an informed decision.
During the fourth and fifth grade Integrated Language Arts program, the emphasis is on the role of the student. Through interaction and interdependence, a positive attitude toward the process of using listening, speaking, reading and writing skills with the influence of a multicultural society is developed. Fluency is attained by understanding and applying standard English mechanics and multiple language strategies. Technology and technological skills are coordinated to all aspects of the Integrated Language Arts program. The foundation of assessment criteria allows for the recognition of individual learning styles. Students acquire the habits of questioning and research in order to become life-long thinkers and learners and effective communicators.
In grades four and five, students will continue learning skills and concepts presented in accordance with the standards for Math as outlined by the National council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). All students will develop number sense and perform numerical operations and solve problems involving all types of numbers in a variety of ways. Students will develop spatial sense and the ability to use geometric properties, relationships and measurement to analyze, model and describe data and mathematical ideas.
The students are taught the life, earth, and physical sciences in grades four and five. They are developing critical, logical and analytical thinking skills. The students are encouraged to express ideas, orally and in writing, using correct terminology in a variety of ways including hands-on activities, demonstrations, experiments, oral reports, and research projects. They apply techniques to real world situations, which helps to identify and solve problems. The students engage in learning activities to help them recognize the importance of Science in their everyday lives. Fifth grade students are also expected to submit a project for the Science Fair, which takes place in the spring.
Through our Social Studies program, fourth and fifth graders are encouraged to use critical thinking to examine history for the purpose of understanding human behavior, cause and effect, change and continuity. Through activities such as research, role play, creative writing, and art, students develop an awareness and respect for the diversity of religions, cultures, and societies, while examining the impact each has on our past and present. Geographical understanding is enhanced by studying the environment and the world in spatial terms. In the fourth grade, students study the states and capitals with an in-depth study of New Jersey . The core content of the fifth grade revolves around the exploration of the Western Hemisphere and the development of societies, systems of government and economics in Canada, Mexico and select countries from the Caribbean, Central and South America. The core content in grade six centers on the development of culture, religion, ethics, philosophy, economic systems and social groups spanning from select ancient civilization in the Eastern Hemisphere to the Middle Ages.
In an atmosphere of Christian values, the Middle School curriculum emphasizes the importance of critical thinking, problem solving and cooperative learning. Our religion program encourages students to respond to the challenges they face in their own Christian lives and to reach out in service to the community. Middle School students explore the history of the Church from the New Testament (grade 6) through the past two centuries (grade 7 and 8). A catechesis on the Holy Spirit is an integral part of the students' preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Integrated language Arts is separated into receptive and expressive language because reading and listening are ways to receive information, while writing and speaking are ways to express information. Our language arts program promotes the integration of skills and strategies incorporated into receptive and expressive language. Receptive Language includes decoding, comprehension, vocabulary, study skills, predicting outcomes, formulating questions, and responding creatively. Expressive Language includes pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing (grammar and spelling/vocabulary), publishing (handwriting), defining purpose, organizing ideas, applying skills, and oral communication.
Middle School math is a pre-algebra and algebra based program designed to ensure our students' success in high school. Along with simple algebraic expressions, basic operations and skills are reviewed. Fractions, decimals, and percents are covered. Geometric formulas and operations are also presented. Students who demonstrate mastery in pre-algebraic formulas and expressions in the seventh grade are asked to participate in Algebra I as eighth grade students. Algebra I students begin with algebraic equations with more than one variable and more on to solve and graph quadratic equations. Everyday problem-solving skills are regularly presented.
Our Middle School science curriculum focuses on both earth and physical science. Life science is integrated where appropriate. Students begin with the structure and history of our changing earth, the dynamics of plate tectonics, earthquakes, and crust movement. Throughout the next two years, students discuss weather and climate, and the history of space exploration with an overview of astronomy. Topics in physical science including atomic structure, properties of matter, chemical and physical changes of matter, motion and forces, energy and waves, electricity and magnetism. Students will be challenged in a variety of ways including hands-on activities, demonstrations, experiments, oral reports, and research projects. Seventh grade students are also expected to submit a project for the Science Fair, which takes place in the spring.
Middle School students examine the historical, political, social, geographic, economic, cultural, and aesthetic dimensions of our country. The seventh grade curriculum includes America 's development from the 15th century to the Civil War. The eighth grade curriculum begins with the Reconstruction period and continues to the present time with an emphasis on the role of the United States among nations in the world. Discussion of current events is an integral part of the curriculum in each grade.
In the elementary levels, the curriculum involves teaching basic computer skills and literacy, including terminology and proper use of equipment. This is done by using educational games and keyboarding software appropriate for each age group. Wherever possible, lessons are integrated with the major subject areas. Ipads are provided to students in these grades.
In middle school (and upper elementary levels as well), Microsoft Office applications are used to further the student's skills in the areas of word processing, spreadsheets, presentations (PowerPoint), and desktop publishing. Most projects are in some way integrated with multiple subject areas in order to provide added value in each of the other curriculum areas. Students in grade 4-8 have ChromeBooks.
General Music instruction is provided for students in grades Pre-K - 8 on a weekly basis. Instrumental music instruction is offered to students in grades 3 - 8 by Future Musicians of America. Students in grades 1 - 4, as well as instrumental students from grades 4 - 8 participate in the annual Christmas Concert. The Spring Concert is comprised of a 5 - 8 grade chorus and all instrumental students.
Visual Arts Curriculum
In grades Pre-K - 8, students are introduced to age appropriate basic art history and are encouraged to create original artwork in a variety of media. Students learn about the elements of art, which include shape, line, color, and texture. Students are given opportunities to participate in a variety of art contests, both locally and nationally. Seasonal art shows highlight artwork done by our aspiring young artists.
The Spanish program introduces students to the fun of learning Spanish in a challenging classroom environment where students in grades Pre-K - eight will experience the thrill of success with a foreign language. This comprehensive program focuses on meaningful communication with increasing accuracy of expression, exploring grade-appropriate lessons organized by topics familiar to the student as a practical way of teaching and learning basic Spanish. It promotes cognitive benefits, academic achievement, and the development of positive attitudes toward cultural diversity. In addition, it makes connections to the multicultural world of the 21st century, thereby fostering a greater understanding of an appreciation for world cultures.