St. Theresa’s Catholic School’s early elementary program plays an important role in our overall educational objectives. A Catholic atmosphere, adapting to school routines, practicing good social skills and developing a positive attitude toward learning are the four educational cornerstones for our youngest students. Our early elementary teachers are dedicated to helping each student become increasingly independent by promoting self-motivation and initiative. Class begins each day at 7:55 am. Pre-K offers a 1 pm and 3:10 pm dismissal. Kindergarten releases at 3:30 pm. New parents should review the expectations for entering students: Pre-K & Kindergarten.
Both Pre-K and kindergarten adhere to TEA state guidelines and TEKS, and feature supplemental work to address differences in students’ learning styles, levels of maturity, educational and developmental needs.
Both grade level curriculums include weekly or twice-weekly classes in Art, Music, P.E., Spanish, Computer and Liturgical Music taught by special teachers. Both grade levels are taught religion daily and participate in weekly Mass with the entire school body. Individual assessment is provided throughout the school year over the four quarters. Field trips, special guests and participation in all school-wide celebrations help supplement the curriculum and build a sense of community.
Pre-K centers on a theme-based curriculum focusing on centers (or stations) as educational play opportunities in order to promote age-appropriate learning. Pre-K students receive instruction in large and small group as well as individually. Pre-K language skills focus on beginning, ending, and middle letter sound recognition, beginning letter formation and writing skills. Rhyming words and word families are also introduced. Early math skills introduce concepts and develop skills like number recognition, small number families, shapes, patterning, ordinal numbers and number formation.
Kindergarten students practice daily reading, writing, math, science, social studies, health and computer. Kindergarten teachers blend group instruction with learning centers. Language arts incorporates classroom activities in phonics instruction with a self-paced computer program which combines phonics and guided reading in the Early Childhood Computer Lab. Kindergartners begin our school-wide math curriculum concentrating on number concepts, geometry, logical thinking, measurement, graphing through the use of manipulatives and problem solving.
The primary focus in these grades is on core curriculum. Students are challenged to develop academic and physical skills, pursue knowledge, and critically study and analyze the world in which they live. Fundamental skills are emphasized in religion, math, language arts, science and social studies. Students also participate in enrichment classes in fine arts, Spanish, physical education, library, and technology. To further enhance their curriculum, classes also go on field trips and bring in outside programs to the school. New parents should review the expectations for entering students: 1st and 2nd.
The language arts curriculum is an integrated program of reading, writing, English grammar, spelling and handwriting. To build a strong foundation in this focus area, language arts skills are developed in a logical progression. Student achievement is frequently assessed, and instruction is tailored to meet the students’ needs as indicated.
Reading: The goal of the reading program is to develop strong phonics and comprehension skills, vocabulary proficiency and a love of reading. A structured basal reader system, coupled with the study of selected novels, provides reinforcement, practice and enrichment of basic skills. Comprehension is built through the study of a wide range of literature intended to meet the varied interests and reading levels of the students. Students apply their knowledge in all areas of the curriculum as they read textbooks and research materials. The Accelerated Reader program supplements the reading program and is available to all students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Grammar and Composition: Students develop the ability to communicate both orally and in writing using a variety of approaches at each grade level. Book reports, journals, essays, content area reports and creative writing are examples of writing projects. In pre-kindergarten through second grade, students use technology in the Early Childhood Lab to practice basic writing skills. The process of writing, editing and rewriting is taught beginning in the first grade. Grade appropriate use of grammar, correct spelling and manuscript and cursive writing (introduced in second grade) are expected in all curricular areas.
Research, Organization & Study Skills: As reading and writing skills are mastered, emphasis is placed on locating and synthesizing information. Students learn to use the Internet and library resources to discover more about the world around them. They present their information orally, in writing or visually to their class, the school or the community at large. Student responsibility is fostered through the weekly folder system and, in second grade, by planners which record assignments, tests and class activities.
The social studies curriculum conveys a body of knowledge that integrates history with economics, geography, civics and culture in a way that captures students’ attention and understanding. It aims to equip students with specific skills that will help them become informed and involved citizens as well as to further their language arts and research skills. The focus follows the natural progression from self to family to world communities, mirroring young people’s path toward independence.
The math curriculum emphasizes the development of proficiency in procedures, computation and problem-solving skills. Investigations and technology enrich and support learning. Multiplication and division is introduced in second grade. Mastery of basic addition and subtraction facts to 18 is expected by the end of second grade. Assessments are continuing throughout the year.
The science curriculum provides opportunities for students to investigate and inquire about the world. Students receive instruction and practice in the same process and thinking skills that scientists use: observing, formulating questions and hypotheses, predicting, collecting and interpreting data, and drawing conclusions. At each grade level, topics in life science, earth science, physical science and the human body are explored. Hands-on activities such as experiments, models, nature walks and student projects are emphasized. Technology is integrated throughout the science curriculum with the use of computer-assisted learning. Furthermore, reading and writing skills are reinforced and extended in this content area.