Kindergarten - Grade 4 Program
St. Matthew’s elementary school consists of one class at each grade level and operates under the leadership of the Principal, Grades Preschool – Four. Each class is self-contained and team-taught by two educators who take responsibility for planning, teaching and monitoring the success of all learners in the class. The two full-time teachers work together and share their expertise to build a dynamic learning environment at each of these grade levels. Having two master teachers at each grade creates a synergy where one plus one will actually equal more than two. Homeroom teachers have access to “break-out rooms,” which allow teachers to work with smaller groups and/or individuals.
An integrated curriculum provides a strong base in literature-based reading, phonics, writing, hands-on mathematics, social studies, and technology. Specialist teachers also work with the students during the week in the areas of art, music, science, library, technology and physical education. Students have countless opportunities to develop and refine cognitive and social skills.
Within this challenging yet nurturing environment there is a strong emphasis on building character and empathy as well as a focus on service learning. Children develop curiosity, express creativity, appreciate the value of hard work and experience the joy of learning.
Language Arts: During the school day, a strong emphasis is placed on the development and refinement of the ability to read, an effort that exposes students to high quality literature as well as phonics and word analysis skills. Value is placed on the knowledge and pleasure that reading provides. Creative and expository writing activities emphasize each child’s authorship and the mastery of the protocols of composition while promoting the ability to communicate ideas effectively.
Mathematics:The mathematics curriculum aims to develop in each student a strong understanding of mathematical concepts and the mastery of facts. Instruction includes manipulatives, math games, cooperative learning, and problem solving in journal work. Students are challenged to maintain open minds, be curious, think divergently, make intelligent guesses, and problem-solve for everyday situations.
Social Studies:Social studies integrate activities from multiple disciplines around meaningful topics and points of focus. The goal of the social studies program is to help children understand the many communities – both near and far, present and past – to which they are related, and the responsibilities that are concomitant because of those relationships.
Technology: First through fourth grade students use technology as a tool to support work in other areas of the curriculum. Students utilize classroom computers and the elementary technology lab in small groups to learn computer skills, applications and how to utilize web research in support of writing, social studies and math projects. Each year students build upon previous knowledge of applications learned. By Fourth Grade, students integrate technology into the curriculum as a way to enhance daily lessons and units of study. Teachers and students in each of the first through fourth grade classrooms use SMART boards.
Specialists:In addition to the core subjects, art, music, technology and library, religion and physical education are very important elements of the First through Fourth grade program. These subjects, though woven into homeroom activities, are also regularly scheduled each week and taught by teachers who have specialized, professional backgrounds in those areas.
Science: Science studies allow the students to investigate and appreciate the world around them. A science specialist plans experiments and other activities with the students in the science lab, in their classrooms, or in the natural environment of the school’s thirty-acre campus.
Music: Music and movement activities provide the children with joyful, engaging musical experiences to help develop each student's ability to become a life-long music maker and an informed music listener. Students are involved in lessons and activities that incorporate active music making, musical skills and concepts, as well as preparation for school performances.
Art: In art, students work in small groups to develop self-expression and the appreciation of one’s own creativity and that of others. Students are exposed to and experience basic techniques and the exploration of different mediums.
Physical Education: Daily skills-based classes are taught in a developmentally appropriate manner with a focus on personal fitness, development and refinement of basic motor skill. A strong emphasis is place on the cultivation of attitudes of cooperation, mutual support and sportsmanship.
Library: Library time is devoted to stories, projects, locating and checking out books, learning library skills and reading. Specialists foster interest and joy in reading to help develop positive, life-long reading habits that reinforce literacy skills.
Religion and Chapel: The School Minister visits Kindergarten through Second Grade to prepare for special chapels and seasons of the church year. Religion classes begin in Third Grade with a focus on spiritual development and community service. Fourth Graders lead the weekly K-4 elementary chapel service. In addition, students attend the weekly K-8 chapel led by the Head of School, where each grade shares classroom news and periodically makes a presentation to the entire school.