The early years play an important role in the development of a child’s future success in life. St. Anne provides Kindergarten through 5th grade students with a safe, nurturing Christian environment that encourages the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and cultural development of each child. Our highly qualified teachers focus on giving personal attention to each student by providing a balance of the long standing traditions of the structure of Catholic education and the integration of STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Through the exploration of their curiosity in a Christ-centered classroom, our students become virtuous adults prepared for a global society.
St. Anne School uses a Balanced Literacy approach to teaching reading and language skills at the elementary level. Our students become strong readers through engaging in a high volume of texts of all genres. They have books in their hands throughout the day and they enjoy interacting with print and acquire an appreciation of literature. They develop a love of reading through read alouds, big books, and independent reading time. The Lucy Calkins program is used in K5 to set the foundational skills for literacy and develop communication skills that enable the child to share his/her world with others as well as build stronger comprehension, speaking, listening, and fine motor skills. Students in grades 3-5 engage in novel studies throughout the year.
In the elementary grades, the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) is used to implement the diocesan curriculum. Teachers integrate reading, spelling, grammar, and writing to develop life-long confident readers and writers using whole group instruction, small group workshops, phonics drills, and practice. This involves the use of many different materials such as big books, leveled readers, books on tape, poetry, and decodable books. Through the IEW writing curriculum, our students have plenty of writing experiences using the writing process including personal narratives, stories, poetry, plays, research reports, making classroom books, and keeping a writing journal.
As students are learning to read in the primary grades great emphasis is put on phonemic awareness and phonics. As a continuation of what is taught during the preschool years, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills are developed, as our students become confident readers. The children also begin using the Accelerated Reader program second semester of first grade and continue with our most competitive “school sport” through the eighth grade year. As our students enter the intermediate elementary school years at St. Anne School, the reading curriculum provides more challenge through novel studies. As we believe in the importance of balance in learning using the structure of traditional Catholic education, we continue to put a strong emphasis on spelling, vocabulary, Standard American English, and formal handwriting instruction. We use the Writing Our Catholic Faith series to teach basic handwriting skills, starting with proper pencil grip and correct letter formation in grade one. Students learn cursive by the third grade and are expected to use it in fourth grade and beyond. Students are held accountable for using appropriate grammar, proper handwriting, and correct spelling throughout all areas of the curriculum. All teachers follow a consistent rubric developed to assess these skills. When our students leave St. Anne School, we are often told they have developed grounded skills in grammar and composition. To learn more about the research behind our philosophy, please visit the Columbia University Website: http://readingandwritingproject.org/
Beginning in preschool, our students develop a natural curiosity leading them to question, investigate, manipulate, classify, and report findings of knowledge and understanding of the themselves, others, and the world around them. The students discover and learn to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation through hands on activities, experiments, and discussion. In order to meet the needs of 21st century learners, our teachers balance the reading of literature with the reading of informational texts, including texts about science facts. Religious values of respecting life and God’s creation and stewardship are enveloped into lessons as students begin to develop scientific knowledge in all areas of science including but not limited to Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, and the Human body. NGSS resources such as DiscoveryEd and Studies Weekly are used as well.
At St. Anne Catholic School, technology is used to enhance instruction and provide students with another avenue to demonstrate their learning through an authentic approach. The curriculum is delivered through a sequential, spiraling set of experiences beginning in preschool and becoming deeper at each level. Through our 1:1 technology program, all students are issued a school iPad. The technology curriculum is naturally integrated across all disciplines on each grade level as students become lifelong learners who know how to appropriately use these tools.
Students develop a positive self-image and a loving relationship with God through their study of the weekly Gospels. Participation in religious activities such as weekly mass, prayer services, various liturgical celebrations, and age-appropriate service projects help to plant the seeds of faith and community service early on. Prayer happens throughout the day at St. Anne, fostering an environment where children can grow in their faith. Students learn about God’s creation and love on earth, in our families, and in our church. Catholic prayers and practices of our faith are taught according to the Diocesan Curriculum. The Our Life with Jesus- Ignatius Press series is used for all elementary grade levels.
We know that children learn through experiences. Engineering, by its nature, is an inquiry-based pedagogical strategy that promotes learning across all subjects. Through the engagement in engineering lessons, our students are introduced to everyday applications of science, technology, and math. Our teachers use various resources, such as Teach Engineering Curriculum for K-12 Teachers, to plan lessons that will “improve students’ understanding of fundamental concepts in a way that capitalizes upon their design, visualization, creativity, and teamwork skills.”
St. Anne offers a diverse curriculum in music, art, and drama throughout the school aimed at creating musical and dramatic fluency and literacy in all students. Students are actively involved in the “Arts” program. They attend weekly music class during which they develop a love and appreciation for rhythm, musical intonation, and lyrics. Through art lessons, they experience of a variety of mediums of to enhance the development of fine motor skills and creativity. During the elementary years, students are challenged with more intense drama instruction and even have the opportunity to participate in the major school productions.
St. Anne School believes in the importance of problem solving skills in the 21st century. Pattern blocks, unit cubes, and other hands-on activities are used beginning in preschool to develop fundamental math concepts and provide opportunities for students to develop a sense of pattern, to sort and classify, to categorize, and to think logically. Beginning in Kindergarten, students use the Sadlier Math series, which was ranked the #1 math series in the state of South Carolina. In the early elementary years, our students develop a solid foundation in the language and basic concepts of mathematics. A multi-sensory approach is used to teach and build on previous learning. Students are challenged to use higher order thinking skills, and extension and enrichment activities are naturally incorporated into each lesson. In-class guided practice, independent homework practice, and IXL are provided so that students achieve mastery of each skill. Our students benefit from the focus on basic facts in elementary school while developing problem solving skills in all strands of mathematics.
Students begin to understand citizenship, economics in terms of wants and needs, and the importance of rules in family, school, and community environments as they enter K3. The preschool and elementary social studies programs include meaningful, integrated, value-based lessons that should challenge students as they interact with information about their past, the present, and the future. Students develop an understanding of a rapidly changing society and become aware of their personal and cultural identities. Through group projects, family projects, and individual study, our students acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to become active citizens in their classroom, school, community, and world. NGSS resources such as DiscoveryEd and Studies Weekly are used for instruction.
By introducing Spanish in preschool, our students develop a positive attitude and excitement for learning a foreign language. Through the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, students are able to broaden their awareness, acceptance and understanding of the Hispanic culture. At the lower levels, Spanish is introduced through songs, short videos, movement, and verbal interaction between the students and the teacher. Additionally, elements of the Catholic faith tradition are integrated into the Spanish curriculum in order to provide a meaningful language and cultural experience within the context of the Catholic faith.
Physical Educationis an integral part of the St. Anne School curriculum. All students (K3-12) participate in this enrichment. The instructional program is designed to promote and encourage physical fitness, develop fundamental motor skills, emphasize safety, stimulate social and cognitive development, and encourage decision-making, problem solving, and cooperation. All areas are addressed within the context of a Catholic environment supporting the honor system and sportsmanship at its best.
Physical Education students will be exposed to a wide variety of sports, skills, and activities. As a result students will have the necessary opportunities to refine their personal abilities and needs. Placing an emphasis on participation rather than on the development of the gifted athlete is a prime goal. The units of study vary greatly according to each grade’s skill level. Each spring, the Physical Education Department sponsors Field Day. SAS Field Day is packed with a variety of indoor/outdoor games and activities!