3-Year-Old “Little Saints” Pilot Program
The 2016-2017 school year boasts the launch of a pilot class of 3-year-old students at Our Lady of Mercy. Developed as a preparatory year for Pre-Kindergarten, our smallest children spend their school day learning early literacy and math skills through play and developmentally appropriate learning centers and social interactions.
Pre-K and Kindergarten:
Our youngest learners on campus are given ample opportunities to explore and discover during teacher-directed and student-directed learning and play activities. Centers and literacy stations offer students chances to practice skills as well as to play and share. All of our Early Childhood Educators have received extensive Orton-Gillingham training, a multisensory approach to teaching reading fluency and foundational skills. A developmentally appropriate religion class is taught daily, and the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum helps students develop fine motor and writing skills. Teachers use weekly or monthly thematic units to tie together the skills and learning targets. Most of the time, our little ones are having too much fun to realize how much they are learning!
1st – 3rd Grade:
Our lower elementary students spend at least half of their day working on mastering the foundational skills for reading fluency and comprehension, writing, and mathematics. Social Studies and Science units are developed throughout the year to reinforce literacy and critical thinking skills. Religion classes are taught daily. Students in 1st grade attend Library, Music, Spanish, Art, and Health/PE weekly, and students in 2nd and 3rd grades attend Music and Library weekly, Health/P.E. twice weekly, and Art, Computer, and Spanish three times weekly on a rotating basis every six weeks.
4th – 5th Grade:
Our 4th and 5th grades are semi-departmentalized so that our students can begin learning the procedures and organizational skills required for changing classes. Students rotate daily to a specialized teacher for Reading and Math for 75 minutes. Social Studies and Science are taken for 45 minutes daily in alternating nine weeks, with a 30-minute Religion class taught daily by a certified Religion teacher. Writing skills in all content areas become a special focus during these grades, in addition to a daily Writing Lab, taught by their homeroom teachers. For enrichment, 4th grade students attend Music and Library weekly, Health/P.E. twice weekly, and Art, Computer, and Spanish three times weekly on a rotating basis every six weeks. 5th grade students may choose to take Choir or Band instead of a Fine Arts Survey class, and the courses Art, Computer, Spanish, and Study Skills are taught to each student for a nine-week-period, in addition to P.E. class twice a week.
6th – 8th Grade:
Our middle school students spend the day rotating through 50-minute Religion, Math, Science and Social Studies classes and two 50-minute English Language Arts blocks. Beginning in 6th grade, students choose two elective classes for the year. Elective classes offer robust and specialized focus in courses such as Art, Computer, Spanish, Choir, Band, Drama, Study Skills, and Health/P.E.
Accelerated ELA and Math courses are offered to high-performing students, giving them the opportunity to prepare for high school credit exams as well as to earn advanced high school credits.