Lower School Academics
Lower School Orientation 2011-2012
Lacordaire offers a well balanced curriculum of studies that both engages and challenges its students. Students are encouraged to become independent thinkers, confident decision makers and responsible leaders. All learning at Lacordaire has as its goal the development of good citizenship, global awareness, faith and personal duty. The basic subjects of reading, language arts, social studies, math, science and religion provide the foundation for curriculum at Lacordaire. The course of study is further enriched by the addition of art instruction, French language classes, music, physical education and computer science. Emphasis in all areas of the curriculum, in addition to basic skills, are independent learning, critical thinking, decision making and use of technology. Reading and math programs are developmentally structured programs which can be adjusted to individual needs. Student progress is evaluated through parent teacher conferences, portfolios, progress reports, report cards and standardized tests.
For more specifics regarding the curriuclum please click on the link below for our Course of Studies.
Course of Studies 2011-12
Pre-K and Kindergarten
Reading/Language Arts: In Pre-K and Kindergarten, the students are introduced to reading through a readiness program which includes storytelling, poetry, pantomime, role playing and drama. The program develops competency in reading by using a phonics as well as a whole language approach. Conversing, asking questions and sharing experiences develop vocabulary and verbal fluency.
Math: The study of math in Pre-K and Kindergarten begins with recognizing, repeating and designing simple patterns. Students learn to count, use the number line and employ manipulatives in order to perform basic math concepts.
Social Studies/Science: Students develop an awareness about self, family, culture and community through observation and exploration of the world around them. General topics of study include the five senses, geography, seasons and weather, space, plants and animals, dinosaurs, music, holidays, occupations, nutrition and the environment. All themes are integrated with the arts, reading, writing and math curriculum.
Religion: Recognition, appreciation and celebration of God’s creation introduces our earliest learners to their first faith experiences in school. The religion program is values oriented with a strong emphasis on building community and learning to respect one another. The principles learned in religion are integrated and reinforced throughout the curriculum.
Field trips include visits to farms, museums, fire department, and local community stores. Guest speakers are frequently invited to share their experiences and knowledge with the class.
Grades 1 & 2
Reading: Our reading program emphasizes skill development and balances literature, phonics and whole language. The curriculum focuses on acquiring extensive vocabulary, comprehension and analytical skills, such as sequencing, interpreting, drawing conclusions, predicting outcomes, and developing story structure. Students read both fiction and nonfiction from all over the world. The thrust of the reading program is to develop life long readers.
Language Arts: The language arts program integrates skill development, grammar, spelling and a process approach to writing. Students learn the formal writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising and editing, and publishing or sharing. A variety of genres of writing are introduced including writing narratives, descriptions, directions, persuasive pieces, and poetry. Students also keep daily journals and writing portfolios.
Math: The math curriculum is designed with students taking a hands-on approach to encourage critical thinking for problem solving. Students are introduced to addition and subtraction concepts and then progress to problem solving related to multiplication and division. Students are taught to use logical reasoning, and work with analogies and geometric figures. Money values and time concepts are demonstrated through board games and dramatic play.
Social Studies: Students are taught basic geography of the United States and other countries. They study about the unique needs of different people and their communities around the world. They learn the importance of rules and laws, and study the basics of the operation of our country's government. Students engage in active learning through the use of manipulatives, such as maps, charts, graphs, tables and time lines. They build models, conduct interviews and take part in a variety of other activities both in the classroom and at home.
Science: In science, students are engaged in hands-on activities which foster creative and critical thinking skills. The children learn about life sciences, earth science, physical science and space. Students complete various experiments and projects both in and out of the classroom. A number of instruments are used to enhance their learning, such as microscopes, magnifying glasses, charts, thermometers, and trade books. They develop such skills as observing, classifying and predicting taught through use of the scientific method.
Religion: Through the celebration of communal liturgies, multicultural holidays and daily prayer, children are taught to respect all culture and people. A sacramental program begins in the second grade and includes First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. Familiarity with Bible stories begins at this stage. Religious concepts are reinforced through activities and projects.
Field trips include visits to farms, museums, zoos, the planetarium, and local theatres. Guest speakers and presenters are frequently invited to share their experiences and knowledge with the class.
Grades 3 & 4
Reading: The intermediate reading program is designed to increase facility finding the main idea, predicting outcomes, and drawing inferences. These skills are applied to full-length works of childrens’ literature, which vary from year to year. The reading-writing connection is emphasized through frequent theme-based and creative writing assignments.
Language Arts: Language Arts skills are instructed across the curriculum in all writing activities. Intermediate level instruction emphasizes applied grammar and spelling skills, paragraph formulation and beginning essay writing. Children become familiar with writing techniques, such as brainstorming, word webs, and outlining. Students are encouraged to be part of the arts program to develop confidence in front of an audience at a young age.
Math: Making students aware of math in their everyday lives is the focus of the third and fourth grade curriculum. Math instruction is individualized and portfolio-based. Students build a solid foundation in estimation, problem-solving, multiplication, division, fractions and geometry. Games and manipulatives foster confidence in acquiring math skills.
Social Studies: Social Studies is a transitional curriculum utilizing an expanding world approach as students learn about their community, communities around the world, their state and their country. Particular emphasis is placed on the geography of the United States and regional differences. Research skills are fostered through map study, charts, tables, and graphs.
Science: The science program at this level begins with a study of habitats and the ecosystem. The earth is explored further through the study of land forms and natural phenomenon. Rock and fossil hunts bring students face-to-face with their world, past and present. Projects are emphasized as a way to make abstract concepts, such as the function of the solar system, more understandable. Constructing their own simple machines leads students to explore principles of physical science. Students follow the life cycle by studying the growth and development of plants. Students are introduced to the scientific method. The culminating activity is participation in the school science fair, where students have the opportunity to present and explain their best projects.
Religion: The religion program stresses the importance of developing a personal faith. Learning about the sacraments and celebrating them, reading scripture, and re-enacting bible stories leads to an awareness of the presence of God. Personal faith is deepened through communal worship, prayer and song.
Field trips include outings to museums and theatres. Guest speakers and presenters are often invited to the class to share their knowledge and enhance the curriculum.
Conferences & Reporting
Student success relies on strong communication between parents and teachers, especially in the younger years of education. To that end, teachers work to regularly inform parents of their child's progress. Progress reports and report cards are sent home each marking period, with updates as needed.
In Grades 1 - 4, parents receive detailed progress reports outlining student performance mid-way through each marking period. At the end of each marking period, parents receive report cards summarizing student performance.
In the Pre-K and Kindergarten, parents receive a mid-year and end of year report card, in addition to progress summaries sent home twice a year.
Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled each November, at the end of the first marking period.
Additional conferences can be requested any time during the school year by scheduling an appointment.
Students in grade PK - 4 participate in a variety of special classes. Physical education, music, art, computer, French, and reader's theatre help students explore their talents and expand their skills. Guest readers, presenters, and field trips help enhance curriculum.
The Lower School faculty works everyday to ensure students are engaged and challenged. Fun and creativity resonate throughout the curriculum to help students learn to the best of their ability in a supportive and nurturing environment.