Our elementary program for Grades 1-5 combines core content areas, such as literacy, math, science, and social studies, with co-curricular subjects like music, computer, art, library, and physical education. In this way, the program provides our students with a well-balanced, developmentally appropriate set of experiences that promote creative thinking, support curiosity about learning, and develop global awareness.
The language of instruction is English for all classes apart from those associated with our Italian language program. Students experience the beauty and historical significance of Rome and Italy through field trips and cultural studies at each grade level. They also celebrate the cultural diversity represented by our students and teachers during monthly assemblies and a bi-annual International Project in which children “travel” around the world to learn about different cultures and customs.
Teaching is based on the best practices found around the world and encourages inquiry and critical thinking. Teachers carefully assess each child's development on an ongoing basis and provide an instructional program that equips children with the skills, concepts, and tools needed for continued learning. A low teacher-student ratio helps to support learning, as do our collaborative EAL and Special Needs programs.
Through the use of a positive response philosophy, teachers help to foster in all students the social skills of cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
The Language Arts program impresses upon students that language is not only a viable form of communication but also an invaluable skill that extends thinking about themselves, others, and the world. Students learn to listen attentively, to speak fluently, to read and comprehend, to compose, to be clearly understood, and to view language as an art to be enjoyed. Literature plays a large role in the Language Arts curriculum, exposing students to a variety of authors, new worlds of adventure, interesting characters, social issues, and cultures from around the world.
Research indicates that the single best predictor of reading achievement is the amount of time spent reading, and Elementary students at Marymount read a great deal. Marymount employs The Reader’s Workshop model to ensure that all students are reading books that are “just right” for them and that they are able to advance appropriately based on their own personal stage of readiness and interest. In addition to the Elementary School Library, students in each grade level have access to extensive classroom libraries that house a full range of books including poetry, realistic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, and classic novels.
Students in the Elementary School write daily as they explore ideas, communicate their experiences, and respond to the literature they read. The Writer's Workshop approach helps students develop fluency and build confidence in writing as they learn to draft, revise, edit, and produce a final copy. Students learn skills such as spelling, usage, and grammar within the context of their own writing rather than as separate, unrelated and unauthentic lessons.
Beginning in Kindergarten, children learn to make the connection between sounds and letters in words, and by Grade 1 they begin to make a gradual transition from invented to standard spellings through the study of frequently used words and common spelling patterns. In Grades 2–5, children are held accountable for correctly spelling more difficult words while learning to apply spelling generalizations and patterns.
The Elementary mathematics program at Marymount ensures that students develop a deep understanding of math concepts and become strong problem-solvers who can compute well and communicate their thinking. Each grade level introduces and develops seven strands of mathematics with a spiraling curriculum that builds on the skills learned in prior years. These strands include: Computation, Problem Solving, Numbers and Operations, Statistics and Probability, Measurement, Algebraic Concepts, and Geometry.
The Elementary science program at Marymount employs the inquiry method based on the AERO (American Education Reaches Out) standards. In addition to studying Earth, Life, and Physical Sciences, students learn scientific skills such as observing, inferring, and experimenting. Students participate in “hands-on” activities, describe objects and events, ask questions, construct explanations, test their explanations against current scientific knowledge, and communicate their ideas to others. Students also identify their assumptions, use critical and logical thinking, and consider alternative explanations. In this way, students actively develop their understanding of science by combining scientific knowledge with reasoning and thinking skills.
The Elementary social studies curriculum promotes curiosity about the world in which we live. Through readings, activities, and discussions, students begin to learn about where they live, the beginnings of civilization, the development of society, and the relationship between the environment and human activity. At each grade level eight key areas of social studies are addressed through an overarching theme. These areas are: Time, Continuity and Change; Connections and Conflict; People, Places and the Environment; Culture; Society and Identity; Governance, Leadership, and Citizenship; Production, Distribution, and Consumption; and Science and Technology. Field trips are an integral part of the curriculum.
In addition to the regular classroom subjects above, children in the elementary school attend classes with trained specialist in the following areas:
Marymount’s Elementary computer curriculum uses U.S.-based technology standards and benchmarks. All subject areas integrate technology topics and skills, such as word processing, databases, spreadsheets, graphics, and presentation programs. Students learn other skills, such as programming, specifically within their computer classes. Students also learn about the social, ethical, and human impact of technological development.
The Elementary English Language Learners (ELL) program assists children whose first language is not English to develop a level of proficiency that allows them to participate fully in the social and academic life of the school. Marymount promotes Additive Bilingualism, in which English is added onto rather than seen as a replacement for the first language. All students are encouraged to develop and maintain their mother tongue. Children learn in small groups where risk-taking is encouraged and errors are considered inevitable and necessary. ELL teachers collaborate closely with (in some cases working alongside) subject-area teachers to monitor the progress of ELL children.
Students of Italian as a second language study vocabulary and grammar to develop skills in conversational and written Italian. Students of Italian as a first language also continue to develop their conversational and grammatical skills. They write descriptive passages and summaries, take dictation, and create book reports to learn about word order and parts of speech, including the subjunctive, conditional and imperative moods. Reading assignments focus on learning about different literary genres.
Students in Grades 1-5 attend library classes for 45 minutes once a week to learn how to use the library, take care of books, and use the online catalogue. They also learn to conduct research by locating, using, and evaluating information in books, online databases, and the Internet. Emphasis is placed on literature appreciation as students learn about types of literature and become familiar with a variety of authors.
In their music classes, students at Marymount learn to listen to and appreciate a wide variety of music and make judgments about musical quality. They become active participants in different forms of music making, both individual and communal, thus developing a sense of group identity and togetherness. Students also develop technical skills and learn about the core elements of performing, composing, appraising, and listening to music.
Through the Physical Education Program the students participate in activities that develop fine and gross muscle coordination. They learn the fundamentals of soccer, basketball, and other organized sports as well as dance. Classes in all grade levels stress sportsmanship and teamwork.
Children from all religious traditions are welcome at Marymount. In the Elementary School, our religious education program seeks to help children receive and respond to the great gift of God’s personal and deep love for them. We want children to explore God’s loving gifts of creation and most especially the gift of his son, Jesus. The children participate in the liturgy once a month to give thanks and praise to God through prayer and song. Children also create and share personalized prayers each morning.
Learning Support & Enrichment Programs
Marymount offers support and variety of resources to students who may engage in Enrichment Programs or have need Learning Support. Click here to learn more.