St. Mary School fosters the growth and development of the whole person through an educational program in which children are motivated intellectually, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and socially.
The early learning program at St. Mary School focuses on promoting the social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual growth of each child. In combination with our curriculum programs, we partner with our families in order to build a strong home-to-school connection. Our goal is for children to develop into confident, compassionate, and caring children of God.
Our Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) and Kindergarten programs program provides a well-rounded learning and faith curriculum designed to build a strong foundation for your children as they progress into elementary school. In addition to academics, children are exposed to music, art, Spanish, and STEM/technology and are integrated into the fabric of the elementary school via their location in the Primary wing of the school which includes Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms.
Our curriculum takes into consideration the goals and outcomes set forth by the State of Illinois and the Archdiocese of Chicago. Developmentally appropriate practices are utilized when planning lessons, units, themes, and centers. Using these practices enables young minds to explore, expand, and build their knowledge and love for learning.
Our PreK 3 and 4 Year Old Programs include daily classroom curriculum in foundational subject areas of Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts, Phonics and Handwriting which are guided by Common Core and hands-on activities. Weekly specials include Spanish, Music, Foreign Language, Physical Education, Technology, and Art. Religion is practiced daily in classroom, and our students participate in liturgical observances by attending mass and prayer services along with their 4th and 5th grade buddies on a bi-weekly basis for Pre-K and a weekly basis for Kindergarten. Our state-of-the-art facilities allow our teachers and aides to provide a tailored and differentiated learning experience based on your child’s age.
St. Mary provides dedicated 3-year-old and 4-year-old Pre-K classrooms with several class options, as well as full-day Kindergarten.
Pre-K class options include:
In our PreK and Kindergarten programs, aides assist the teachers in many ways. The aides are assigned to work with children, to work one-on-one, or with small groups who either need more attention, direction, or supervision while doing projects or classwork. By having these aides, the students who are absent or cannot follow along with the class are afforded opportunities to stay caught up.
The Elementary Curriculum emphasizes hands on learning in all subjects. Students are taught early reading skills beginning in pre-kindergarten 3rd through the use of exposure to different types of books and grade appropriate literature. Our Math program initiative is the Singapore Math Program which focuses on problem solving and utilizes a balance of concrete,-pictorial (graphs, charts, etc.), and abstract logic progression. In all classes, experiments, projects, and skills such as graphing, creative writing and editing are taught. We focus on concepts with our students and on using scaffolded learning to take organized planned steps to help our students reach conceptual understanding and mastery.
Junior High Math begins with a solid background in math concepts and continues through instruction of Pre-Algebra in Seventh Grade and Algebra in Eighth Grade. Instruction is diverse and engaging, incorporating instructional technology, manipulatives, and games targeting specific skills. We have regular and advanced track Math and Science beginning in fourth grade.
Reading Instruction includes Literature Circles through the use of novels. Skills of higher level analysis, comprehension, reflection and connection are taught, to name a few. Students write about and discuss what they read in whole class and small group format. Instruction in English class emphasizes many types of writing and students are taught grammar.
Science class is taught mainly through hands on experimentation and demonstration. Students are taught the Scientific Method in all grades. Students in grade eight participate in the Science Fair. St. Mary also maintains a Science Lab with equipment for the use of our junior high students.
Students are taught Social Studies using a variety of resources, including first-hand accounts, non-fiction books, films, and Internet resources. Skills such as note taking and historical analysis of events are taught. Students are evaluated with tests, projects, and presentations. Our seventh grade participates in the Chicago Metro History Fair.
St. Mary students are supported in their learning, and encouraged to learn at a level that is appropriate for them, regardless of their age or grade. Every child is challenged to do his/her best and to achieve.
Because every child is accepted for who they are and what they are capable of, St. Mary School works with children in many ways.
Tools we use:
We have two reading resource teachers who provide small-group instruction in reading. Mrs. Timmins focuses on primary grades 1st-3rd, and Mrs. Madden focuses on 4th-8th. Each child in 1st-3rd is tested at the beginning of the year using Fountas and Pinnell to determine where their needs would best be met. In addition, iReady scores and teacher recommendations are used to create small groups to be pulled out for additional reading instruction. The students are then tested periodically throughout the year to ensure their needs are being met and they are in the group that best meets their needs.