Greetings from Lacordaire!
Lacordaire Academy’s Lower School offers a well-balanced curriculum that both engages and challenges its students through inquiry, innovation, and project-based learning. Our youngest students learn through exploration of their world with hands-on and interactive activities. Developing students of character is an important component of the Lower School. Our curriculum seeks to develop good citizenship, global awareness, and faith, as well as a love of learning. Faculty collaborate to ensure effective scope and sequence of material, and each year builds and expands upon previous skills and knowledge. The basic subjects of reading, language arts, social studies, math, science, and religion provide the foundation for the curriculum. Reading and math programs are developmentally structured programs that consider the individual needs of the learners. The Academy is committed to Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math (S.T.E.A.M.) initiatives, and integrates various forms of technology across the curriculum at every grade level. The course of study is further enriched by the addition of art instruction, French language classes, music, physical education, computer science, and creative dramatics. Field trips, presentations, and special visitors are also utilized to bring learning to life. All instruction is designed to meet the needs of a diverse range of learning styles. It is our goal to deliver a curriculum that fosters a love of learning at an early age. Student success relies on strong communication between parents and teachers, especially in the younger years of education. To that end, teachers work to regularly inform parents of their child’s progress and we welcome and encourage an ongoing dialogue regarding student growth.
Head of Lower School
The Pre-K curriculum has been developed around a child centered approach with a strong Montessori influence. The room is divided into four areas, which include Practical Life, Mathematics, Language Arts, and Sensorial Centers. Children are encouraged to move throughout the classroom centers freely, choosing work that interests them while enabling them to make creative choices in their own learning process and building self-confidence. Age appropriate activities are arranged on eye leveled shelves in a manner that enables children to advance at their own comfort level, providing an environment that best supports the process of the children’s learning. All activities are carefully designed to engage the child and assist them in adhering to a process approach, while developing their sense of focus and independence. Throughout the year, thematic, interdisciplinary units are introduced and incorporated into the four areas of the room. In addition to learning in the classroom, the children also engage in the world around them outside of their classroom. They learn about the trees in the neighborhood, interview local community workers, and visit local stops such as the post office and supermarket. There are lessons to be learned everywhere. Therefore, we seize every opportunity to engage each child and their interests in order to ultimately foster their love of learning.
The Kindergarten experience at Lacordaire is unique and exciting for our students. Not only is the setting different from that of a traditional classroom, but our hands-on approach combines those traditional attributes while both nurturing and stimulating each student’s creativity and reasoning skills. Students are actively engaged in our challenging academic routine, and learn through exploration and collaboration. Students participate in many on-stage productions and public speaking opportunities within the classroom throughout the year, which aids in the development of self-esteem and social skills. Some highlights include the Thanksgiving feast, The Three Trees play, The Mission Bazaar, Personalities of the week, Multi-Cultural Luncheon, Flat Stanley Adventures, Kindergarten Talent Show, and our Graduation Production. Students enjoy the opportunity to take ownership of their learning, creating confident and innovative learners.
The goal of the first grade curriculum is to provide each student with skills to be successful in today’s world. Students are taught critical thinking skills through project based learning in order to become problem solvers. The first grade curriculum enables each student to develop intellectually, socially, and spiritually. The emphasis of the first grade program is to develop confidence and independence. The core subjects are taught through an interdisciplinary Whole Language approach. The concepts of reading, writing, speaking, and listening are integrated within all subjects. Students learn the writing process of prewriting, drafting, proofreading, revising, and publishing as they compose journal entries, personal narratives, descriptive essays, and research reports. Mathematics includes concepts, computation, and problem solving. Mathematical skills are extended into the science curriculum as students observe, measure, experiment, record, and graph data. Science includes environmental studies, life science, earth science, and physical science. STEAM lessons enhance the core curriculum through activities such as conducting a weather hour glass experiment, modeling a clay volcano, and building a model igloo using one hundred sugar cubes. The subject of Social Studies includes map skills, American Colonial history, and the study of multicultural holidays and historical figures. Religion includes Christian values, family life, and Bible stories. Instruction integrates audio, visual, and tactile methods. Hands-on activities and projects engage the students in the learning process. The first grade curriculum strives to develop the whole student.
Second Grade content and curriculum is designed to bring students to a level of independence that will enable them to succeed academically while aiming to develop and build upon their skill sets. Through exploration, analysis, and application of knowledge, students will explore content in a manner that allows them to both enhance and apply their skills. Using an interdisciplinary approach, core subject matter is linked to help students see connections in content to real world problems and circumstances. Students are encouraged to be reflective in nature and take ownership of their learning in ways that enable them to be creative and innovative, while fostering confidence and risk taking. As part of the second grade curriculum, baptised Catholics are invited to partake in our Sacramental Program, preparing students for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.
In the third grade, students begin to think more abstractly and begin to understand their connection to the world and their past. Developmentally, they are ready to make inferences and work more independently. Therefore, the curriculum is able to address more complex aspects of language arts, science, social studies and math. In preparation for Middle School and in keeping the instructional expertise, students in grades three switch classrooms for social studies and science.
Fourth grade is a bridge year between the Lower and Middle School. Therefore, the focal point of this year is to provide students with the critical thinking, organizational, responsibility, time management, and study skills necessary for the challenges of the Middle School. The curriculum is designed to furnish students with the building blocks they will need for success in Middle School. In keeping with instructional expertise and preparation for Middle School, students switch classes for Math and Science. STEAM and project-based initiatives as well as cross-curricular opportunities are integrated into the curriculum. The Reading curriculum is a literature-based incremental approach, with the goal of developing independent, fluent, and engaged readers who can acquire and evaluate information. The Language Arts curriculum sharpens and expands writing skills, developing successful and independent writers by utilizing the writing process effectively. The Social Studies curriculum explores the people and heritage of the United States, culminating with current trends and global connections, with an emphasis on using maps and geographic representations to acquire, process, and report information. The Math curriculum focuses on problem solving skills and mastery of a strong foundation in basic skill functions, while strengthening skills in estimation, fractions, decimals, and geometry. Science continues to explore the fields of earth, life, and physical science in greater depth than previous years, incorporating use of the scientific method and allowing students to design and conduct their own investigations. The Religion curriculum places emphasis on helping children develop a personal relationship with God. Throughout the year, students participate in a variety of performances to continue to foster confidence in public speaking.