St. James Episcopal Day School

Academics

Curriculum

Academic Curriculum

  • St. James offers an accelerated, integrated curriculum based on high expectations and best practices, which exceeds national and state standards. Our students participate in a variety of instructional strategies and collaborative efforts such as project-based learning, problem solving groups, partner teaching pairs, and authentic assessment.

We focus on nurturing the whole child through the following educational objectives:

  • To integrate spiritual formation into the standard curriculum
  • To provide curriculum that is creative and experiential
  • To provide instruction that makes learning interesting and fun
  • To provide lessons that are thematic and interdisciplinary, to enable students to enjoy their studies and to make connections between the classroom and real life
  • To provide physical education that promotes fitness, athletic skills, fair play and teamwork.
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1. Pre-K 3 

  • Comprehend or understand and use language

  • Comprehend and use increasingly complex and varied vocabulary

  • Develop an interest in books and their characteristics 

  • Comprehend stories and information from books and other print materials

  • Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print

  • Demonstrate understanding of different units of sound in language (words, syllables, phonemes)

  • Develop familiarity with writing implements, conventions, and emerging skills to communicate through written representations, symbols, and letters

2. Pre-K 4

  • The topics covered include letter recognition, letter sounds, rhyming skills, syllables, and reading comprehension.

3. Kindergarten

  • The reading program covers listening, comprehension, logical reasoning, letter and sound recognition, and decoding skills using context and letter sound association. Guided reading techniques are utilized in daily small reading groups.
     
  • At the end of the year, a kindergarten child should be able to write his/her name; recognize, write and associate a beginning sound to each letter of the alphabet; know the high-frequency words; communicate and relate ideas; recall a sequence of events; listen and follow directions; work independently and cooperatively; correct letter formation should be mastered.

4. 1st

  • Reading strategies, decoding words, vocabulary building, and comprehension skills are taught in the first grade reading program through guided reading.

  • With the use of interactive and model writing, students become familiar with prewriting strategies and become independent writers. Grammar concepts such as punctuation, capital letters, and comma placement are enforced during interactive writing.

  • First grade has a reading resource teacher that helps with both group and individual instruction.

5. 2nd

  • The ELA program incorporates phonics and spelling. Some phonics topics covered include, but are not limited to: consonants, compound words, contractions, prefixes, and dictionary skills. Various spelling topics include: short vowel sounds, beginning consonant blends, vowel digraphs, diphthongs, and homophones.

6. 3rd

  • Vocabulary is taught from the Wordly Wise 3000 series.

  • Students make the leap from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’.

7. 4th

  • Grammar, literature, and writing are used to develop critical thinking strategies across all subjects. This is accomplished using author’s purpose, knowledge of text structure, and varied genres.

  • Wordly Wise is a program used to teach and enhance vocabulary. 

8. 5th

  • Through a novel-based curriculum, students will enjoy a variety of literary genres and develop reading skills such as comprehension, inferences, sequence, cause and effect, and summarizing. 
     
  • Students will engage in shared reading, independent reading, and literature circles.  Class novels include The Landry News, The Lightning Thief, Number the Stars, The Upstairs Room, Walk Two Moons, A Wrinkle in Time, and Hoot.  Each novel will involve specific areas of study, including the U.S. Constitution, Greek mythology, World War II, Poetry, Drama and will incorporate some area of technology. 
     
  • Students will independently read several books of their choosing each quarter within a variety of genres.
  • Students will understand the rules of grammar and apply those rules in speaking and writing. 
     
  • They will learn to recognize the parts of speech and use proper capitalization and punctuation, including commas, quotation marks, apostrophes, semi-colons, and end punctuation. 
     
  • Fifth grade students will engage in all modes of writing during Writer’s Workshop, including persuasive, descriptive, expository, and narrative writing.   

1. Pre-K 3

  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, and relationships between number and quantities

  • Understand basic patterns, concepts, and operations

  • Understand attributes and relative properties of objects as related to size, capacity, and area

  • Understand shapes, their properties, and how many objects are related to one another in space 

2. Pre-K 4

  • Math topics covered in pre-k include, patterning, sorting, number values, number recognition, one-to-one correspondence, counting orally, shapes, and measuring.

3. Kindergarten

  • The math program involves manipulatives and hands-on activities. The children will be introduced to Singapore Math. Singapore Math strategies will be used to help develop number sense and number bonds.
     
  • At the end of the school year, a kindergarten child should be able to recognize and write the numerals to 30; count objects by rote; match numerals to sets, write numerals in order and have a basic understanding of the concepts covered during the year. 

4. 1st

  • Math in first grade emphasizes the use of concrete manipulatives and the application of math concepts and skills which can be related to real life situations. 

  • Some of the concepts that first grade focuses on are number sense, number bonds, place value, addition, subtraction, money, time, and simple fractions.

5. 2nd

  • The math program follows "Math in Focus/Singapore Math Strategies." Some skills learned include: number to 1,000; addition and subtraction to 1,000; using bar models (addition/subtraction and multiplication/division); metric measurement of length; money; time; customary measurement; fractions and geometry.

6. 3rd

  • Third grade follows "Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish." We cover numbers to 10,000 which include place value, rounding, odd and even. We cover addition and subtraction through 10,000, multiplication and division, fractions, geometry, measurement and data, time and money. 

7. 4th

  • Math follows Math in Focus / Singapore Math.

  • Fourth grade focuses on using applications to solve real world problems. 

8. 5th

  • Topis covered in fifth grade include: 
    • Fractions, Decimals and Percents
    • Ratio, Proportions and Probability
    • Geometric Figures and Concepts
    • Perimeter, Area, Circumference and Volume
    • Measurement, Data and Graphs
    • Pre-Algebra

1. Pre-K 3

  • Develop an awareness of geographic locations, maps, and landforms.
  • Develop an awareness of the importance of rules and responsibilities within their community and the actions/behaviors necessary for effective citizenship
  • Develop the ability to carry out the scientific inquiry process (ask questions, predict, make observations, explain observation, and draw conclusions)
  • Acquire scientific knowledge related to physical science (properties of objects and materials)
  • Describe people, events, and symbols of the past and present

2. Pre-K 4

  • Science topics covered include problem solving skills, critical thinking, cause and effect, the five senses, and scientific experiments.
  • Social Studies topics include environmental explorations, while also recognizing their responsibilty as members of a classroom.

3. Kindergarten 

  • Socialization skills and personal development are considered most important. 

4. 1st

  • Social Science is taught through hands on class experiments and field trips. The students will visit the STEM lab once a week to reinforce the concepts being taught in the classroom. 

  • Over the year first graders will explore subjects in Earth, Life, and Physical Sciences. 

  • The social science program also teaches the students about how our community plays a role in the world we live in today. 

5. 2nd

  • Science topics include: Life Sciences (insects, dinosaurs, animal habitats), Earth Sciences (landforms, space), and Physical Science (force and motion, light and sound).
  • Social Studies topics include: Units of Study (communities, America, Louisiana history).

6. 3rd

  • Science covers science as inquiry, energy and motion, characteristics of organisms, rocks and minerals and constellations.

7. 4th

  • Topics are covered like exploration, settlement, government, and regions, leading into modern society.
  • Social Studies is enhanced through reading historical fiction, studying historical videos, and discussing primary sources. 
  • Science involves research of topics like endangered animals, the human body, weather, matter, and the solar system. 

8. 5th

  • Fifth graders will study American history, including colonial America, and the Revolutionary War, World War II, and Louisiana. 
  • Students will use and understand maps and globes through use of Daily Geography.  This will include reading different types of maps, latitude and longitude, and directional terms. 
  • Students will also study the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and their importance to us as American citizens.  
  • Primary areas of focus in the fifth grade social studies curriculum include note taking and study skills that will benefit students in the lifelong learning process.  
  • Science topics covered in fifth grade include:
    • Rotation of the Earth
    • Flight
    • Sink and Float - Buoyancy
    • Sound, Tone and Pitch
    • Wetlands
    • Disappearing LA Coast and other Impacts from Erosion
    • Environmental Impact of Oil Spills

The art room is a hub of creativity. All lessons begin with an artist study or study of a technique or style. Then students create work in that style.  Students work in a variety of mediums including tempera paint, watercolor, acrylics, oil pastels, pen and ink, pencil, charcoal, and clay.

  • In younger grades, students spend time practicing their fine motor skills in cutting, drawing, and painting with large brushes.  As students grow, they begin fine tuning their work by adding creative details and using more sophisticated tools to express their art.  Over time, students are able to begin focusing on the elements of art and learn specific techniques.
  • The goal of the art program is to instill life-long knowledge, skills, and techniques that can be built upon in developing a true sense of appreciation for art for years to come.

Our Christian Education program meets with all students once per week. During class the children learn about the liturgy, Sacraments, prayer, bible verses, and much more! Our lessons follow the liturgical calendar of the church. Monthly we focus on a different virtue such as thankfulness, truthfulness, kindness, and patience. The Guidance Counselor and I collaborate on these virtues so that the students learn about them from a Christian perspective and a social perspective.

  • Our Christian Education program is designed so that the Pre-K 3 through Kindergarten students receive a basic introduction into the topics covered all the way through 5th Grade but every year we build upon what is previously learned. 
  • Our lessons follow the Liturgical Calendar and include prayers, Parables of Jesus, parts of the Bible/Bible navigation, Miracles of Jesus, and Old Testament study. We also focus on one virtue per month and the School Counselor and I collaborate so that she teaches it from a social perspective and I teach it from a Christian perspective. 
  • Here at St. James we are fortunate to have technology as an added resource in our classrooms. Students are able to use their iPads to enhance the covered topics along with using a hard copy bible to locate and read bible verses by book, chapter and verse. 3rd-5th Graders use technology to research and create projects using Apps such as iMovie, Sock Puppets,and Thinglink to teach their classmates and younger students about a specific bible story or subject.

The school counseling program cultivates and encourages the academic, personal/social, and career development of each child, as well as supports every students’ unique gifts through classroom guidance lessons, individual counseling, and small group counseling.

The Guidance curriculum works in conjunction with the Christian Education curriculum to teach monthly virtues to the students. These virtues are part of the program “Creating Classrooms and Homes of Virtue”. The guidance aspect of these lessons focuses on the social aspect behind each virtue. Some of the virtues that are covered are goodness, tolerance, perseverance, and thankfulness, among many others.

  • In Pre-K 3 through Kindergarten students learn about kindness, acceptance, tolerance, and being proud of who they are. The lessons of self-esteem and self-respect are important to teach at this young age because forging this strong foundation early gives the students more confidence to face challenges that will arise as they move through elementary, middle, high school, and higher education.
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade students learn about tolerance, respect, compassion, career education and goal-setting, as well as bulling prevention. Students understand that they should be respectful of everyone and accept others for who they are. Students learn about career paths and the importance of setting goals for themselves throughout their lives. The students also learn the definition of bullying and are able to differentiate between teasing and bullying. They learn how to be an advocate for themselves and others who may be going through uncomfortable situations related to bullying.
  • 4th and 5th Grade students continue to build on their understanding of tolerance, kindness, respect, goal-setting, and bullying prevention. Students are encouraged to be creative and think outside-of-the-box by creating skits and songs as a culminating lesson at the end of each unit. These performances are recorded on their iPads, and iMovie is used to further enhance their message. These movies are shown to younger grades to bring a student teaching perspective to the virtues they are learning.
  • 5th Grade students, who are our “seniors”, also do special lessons regarding the legacy they want to leave after their time at St. James in complete. Students create individual legacies as well as a class legacy they would like to be remembered as during their time here. Throughout the year, the 5th grade teachers and school counselor discuss the students’ progress and decide if they are living up to their legacy. It is a great accountability tool for the students!

The library is a dynamic, exciting place for exploration, reading, thinking, learning, creating, growing, showcasing student work, and coding on the iPad. The library strives to meet and exceed the expectations of the students, parents and faculty by ensuring a balanced, up-to-date collection of print and non-print resources are available for in-school and home use. Our library follows the professional standards of the American Library Association (ALA) for library instruction and collection development.

Music at St. James Episcopal Day School is to provide our students with an opportunity to create and respond to music expressively.  They will experience a variety of musical styles and genres through performance, technology, imitation and movement in the classroom.  Children are taught the basics of music theory along with the works of great composers. It is our hope that they will discover the value and enjoyment of music.

1. Pre-K 3

  • Students will learn to sing simple songs with basic rhythm in collaboration with Spanish class. The students will learn simple spanish words, like basic numbers and colors, in the form of song. Music and Spanish will be a combined enrichment program.

2. Pre-K 4

  • Learns that music is fast/slow, high/low 
  • Responds to the beat
  • Sings simple songs
  • Introduced to select composers & recognizes his work aurally
  • Uses rhythm instruments with the beat

3. Kindergarten

  • Practices imitating pitch for accuracy
  • Learns that there are silences within music
  • Introduced to the members of the String and Brass Instrument Family
  • Sings age appropriate songs
  • Practices stepping and clapping the beat
  • Introduced to musical terms “crescendo” “piano” “forte” and “tempo” with movement
  • Learns through body movement that music has phrases.

4. 1st

  • Learns to distinguish steps and skips on staff
  • Learns to read written simple rhythmic notation
  • Introduced to notation on the treble staff
  • Performs as a group in front of an audience
  • Instruments of the orchestra and their families

5. 2nd

  • Learns note values
  • Introduced to  American Folk songs
  • Learns that music has a form
  • Responds to music physically and emotionally
  • Performs an ostinato
  • Recognize orchestral instruments aurally

6. 3rd

  • Learns to put music into measures
  • Exposed to music of varied genres
  • Learns to apply solfege to the staff
  • Identifies verse and refrain
  • Performs in a Christmas program

7. 4th 

  • Learns to clap rhythmic patterns that include dotted notes
  • Learns to transfer rhythmic clapping to written rhythmic patterns
  • Sings a repertoire of music related to Social Studies project
  • Introduced to harmony
  • Explores musical composition

8. 5th

  • Explores the influence of music on society and culture
  • Distinguishes between major and minor modes
  • Explores music associated with different decades
  • Is able to read a lead sheet
  • Practices singing correct notes and their values

Physical Education is more than recess and a time to play. It is a time for learning. One of my primary goals as a physical educator at St. James is to teach every child how and why they should keep themselves healthy and fit throughout their lifetime.  Our physical education program provides developmentally appropriate learning experiences that teach children how to be physically active in ways that foster creativity and self-expression, increase physical competence and self-esteem, and promote joy through lifelong physical activity.   

That goal is achieved in the following ways:

  • Our physical education curriculum includes a balance of body management, locomotor movement, manipulative skills, and rhythms/dance experiences. These units are designed to enhance the cognitive, motor, affective, and physical fitness development of every child in a safe learning environment.  
  • We provide experiences that encourage children to question, integrate, analyze, communicate, and apply cognitive concepts.  
  • Activities are taught throughout the year that allow children the opportunity to work together to improve their emerging social and cooperation skills, thereby fostering an understanding of themselves and the acceptance of others.  
  • On-going fitness assessments are used to help children understand, enjoy, improve, and/or maintain their physical health and well-being.  
  • Class activities designed for maximum student participation, success, and fun.

The Spanish program exposes our students to a world language, providing them with basic receptive and expressive language skills needed to communicate in Spanish as well as respect for other cultures. Physical response activities are used for the students to listen to and carry out spoken commands in a safe and fun environment, where the students feel free to take risks and participate.

1. Pre-K 3

  •  The students will learn simple spanish words, like basic numbers and colors, in the form of song in collaboration with Music class. Students will learn to sing simple songs with basic rhythm. Music and Spanish will be a combined enrichment program.

2. Pre-K 4

  • Students learn songs, basic numbers, colors, shapes, opposites, animals, food, clothes, and transportation. 

3. Kindergarten

  • Students learn classroom objects, family members, and increase previous vocabulary.

4. 1st

  • Students introduce themselves, express how they feel, and report the weather. They learn the days, the months, the seasons, and keep increasing previous vocabulary.

5. 2nd

  • Students learn to express their likes and dislikes, to describe using adjectives, and to combine photos, words, and their voices to create presentations on their iPads. They keep increasing previous vocabulary and add the unit "Community."

6. 3rd

  • Students learn how to construct descriptive phrases, follow commands and instructions, and request food. They build on previous vocabulary and add the units "My House" and "The Wild Animals."

7. 4th

  • Students learn to describe personality, traits, locations and activities they like. They focus on the correct article-noun-adjective agreement to create descriptive sentences. They keep increasing previous vocabulary. 

8. 5th

  • Students learn to express feelings and states of emotion and to use personal pronouns and verbs. They create some fun projects like "My Family" and "The Restaurant," and they perform in the Spanish Movie.

STEM Education at St. James Episcopal Day School is an approach to teaching and learning that integrates the content of skills of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM behaviors include engagement in inquiry, logical reasoning, collaboration, and investigation. St. James students will participate in STEM activities that are inquiry-based, that involve teamwork, and that involve collaboration. 

K - 2nd:

  • The units of study include forces and motion, energy, molecules to organisms, earth's systems, and plants and animals.
  • They will learn to investigate by using the scientific method, use tolls to design structures, communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air and other living things in the environment. 
  • Students will learn to analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each preforms.
  • iPad apps and a 3D printer are also used to enhance STEM activities.

3rd - 5th:

  • Upper elementary classes will cover topics, such as the properties of magnets, ecosystems, weather and climate, forces and interactions, earth's systems, energy, the structure and properties of matter, and space systems. 
  • In each unit, the students will conduct a short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of a topic. 
  • The students will be actively engaged in the engineering process. Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 3-5 builds on K-2 experiences and progresses to the use of evidence in constructing explanations that specify variables that describe or predict phenomena. 
  • iPads and a 3D printer will be used to enhance the study of engineering. iPads will be used to teach CAD programs, such as "Makerbot Printshop" and "123D Design."

St. James Stories

"My favorite thing about St. James is a feeling that is indescribable. I believe the feeling comes from knowing that my children have been placed into the hands of the most loving, nurturing and supporting teachers."

The Fin Family’s Story

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