Getting Education Off to a Good Start!
Welcome to the Saint Miriam Academy. We are currently enrolling Kindergarten and First Grade students for the upcoming school year. Saint Miriam Academy is the next step after our Zion Preschool program with a well-rounded, family oriented education designed to foster a positive attitude toward learning as well as exposure to some basic Christian values like sharing and friendship.
This year we are also piloting an exciting approach to learning with combined classrooms for our Kindergarten and First Grade programs. The research supports mixed-age classrooms indicating that academic achievement is the same as, or better than, the academic achievement of children in same-grade classrooms. Mixed-age classrooms do not negatively affect student achievement, and students in these classrooms have significantly more positive attitudes toward school, themselves, and others (Stone, 1998; Veenman, 1996).
Take, for example, tying shoes. Older children who have mastered this skill will often help younger siblings tie their shoes. The older child has the opportunity to develop her patience, as well as the verbal skills necessary to communicate the steps to the younger child, while the younger learns how to tie her shoes.
With reading, an older child may read a story to a younger child, occasionally pointing out letters of the alphabet as they read. The older child has the opportunity to develop and solidify reading abilities, while the younger has an opportunity to develop listening and early reading skills.
At Saint Miriam Academy, children are prepared for later grades in elementary school by learning exceptional skills that promote academic fulfillment and a love of learning utilizing a curriculum designed to introduce your child to a more formal education, aligned with national and state standards. Dedicated teachers guide children in age-appropriate activities designed to prepare them, both socially and intellectually, for school. We are able to do this in a small classroom which enables teachers to balance more personalized instruction with active play, class participation, and exploration so your child will learn more and love learning. Our program fosters the cognitive and social development of every child through fun lessons and activities, guided by a certified teacher.
In Kindergarten Language Arts, our goal is to establish a solid foundation of reading, writing, listening and speaking skills and strategies. Instruction is provided through our core program, Trophies, a Harcourt publication. Picture books, chapter books, self-selected reading, reinforcement and enrichment programs supplement the Trophies anthologies supporting a balanced literacy approach. Various grouping arrangements are used for instruction including whole class, small group and individualized. Students have opportunities to read and write daily by responding to fiction and nonfiction text and teacher assigned and self-selected writing prompts and topics. At the kindergarten level the “Kid Writing” procedure is used. This highly interactive program helps children understand the relationship of sounds to letters and words.
With regard to math, we believe in nurturing an appreciation and enjoyment of mathematics, while developing a deep number sense. Our goals include teaching our students to become creative problem solvers who persevere, clearly communicate their thinking, and manipulate patterns and numbers with accuracy as well as fluency. Students are actively engaged as they make real world connections and realize math is embedded in their daily lives. Mathematics instruction at the elementary level is based on Eureka Math: A Story of Units, a comprehensive, student-centered curriculum aligned with the PA Core Math Standards. Eureka Math is structured around three essential shifts that drive instruction; focus, coherence and rigor. Rigor is three pronged, requiring teachers to pursue with equal intensity deep conceptual understanding, fluency/procedural skills, and application to real world problems.
The Social Studies program leads the students from learning about their immediate area to the vastness of the greater world. The program follows a spiral starting with the family, then onto the neighborhood, the community, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States. Map and globe skills are key components of the program. The development of critical thinking, questioning, and spatial relationships encourage the students to understand how they are an integral part of the world today. Projects, and presentations are used to encourage students to use their talents to the best of their ability.
Science is a way of knowing, and a process for gaining knowledge and understanding of the natural world. The goal of the kindergarten science program is to build the basis upon which students will learn more in later years. By using a variety of resources from Scott-Foresman, students learn core concepts and engage in hands-on activities that involve observing, inquiring, questioning, formulating and testing hypotheses, analyzing data, reporting, and evaluating findings.
In addition to these core subjects, students will participate in physical education, music, art and an introduction to world language.