Lower School Academics

Curriculum Overview

At its core, our educational philosophy holds that academics should be active and engaging. To that end, we believe that

  • Learning is a lifelong process.
  • Each child can excel academically.
  • Children learn best through active learning opportunities.
  • Learning styles vary from student to student.
  • Academic success includes the development of self-confidence and appreciation for others.
  • Caring relationships between students and between students and teachers build academic confidence.
  • A strong partnership between home and school strengthens academic success.

Kindergarten—Fourth Grade

In the primary grades (K – 2), the children are taught to become independent learners.  In the elementary grades (3 – 4), the students take greater personal responsibility for their learning as they expand and solidify their basic skills and knowledge.  This is accomplished through the following course of study:

Reading, Phonics, Writing, Vocabulary and Spelling-- In the early grades, a foundation of literacy for future learning is formed. The St. Michael’s English/Language Arts program emphasizes phonemic awareness, word-attack skills and comprehension as students read and respond to quality literature and informational text.  Writing, spelling and vocabulary are integrated components of this program.

Mathematics—Our program emphasizes the standards recommended by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).  These standards are taught through a variety of methods, which include the use of hands-on activities, models, and paper/pencil algorithms.  The emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking skills forms an important undergirding for future mathematical learning.

ScienceInvestigation and experimentation are introduced in the lower grades as students learn the scientific method.  Students explore and investigate the world through hands-on activities and study Earth, Physical and Life Science.

Social StudiesChildren explore the world beyond themselves, learning about their place in their family, school community, and greater community.  They look into the past to see how time and place have influenced their present lives.  Understanding is enhanced through class activities, projects and field trips.

Foreign LanguageSpanish is taught beginning in Kindergarten.  In the lower grades, many learning modalities are addressed through a program which focuses on pronunciation, songs and vocabulary.

The ArtsFine Arts and Vocal and Instrumental Music extend our students’ creative expression and are essential to the total educational experience.  Specialists in these fields teach specific skills and work with the classroom teacher to integrate projects across different curricular areas.

ReligionOur Chapel program four days a week provides an avenue where spiritual growth, ethical responsibility and respect for diversity are taught.

Computer Education--Students focus on the computer as a tool, with emphasis on keyboarding and other basic skills to assist with the integration of technology across the curriculum.

Physical EducationPE classes stress developing the use and control of muscles.  Students are taught individual, lifelong athletic skills, as well as the ability to work as part of a team.

The fact that St. Michael's puts professional development at the top of its priority list is very obvious in the quality of teaching and learning that takes place in our curricular and co-curricular activities."

— Diane Williamson, Faculty, Curriculum Coordinator

Accreditations and Memberships