Elementary School (K-5) at Saint John Academy

Kindergarten

Our full-day kindergarten program promotes a nurturing, Christ-centered learning environment for young elementary students, with an emphasis on our Catholic faith and traditions. Children who reach their fifth birthday on or before September 30th are eligible for enrollment as kindergarteners at Saint John Academy. There is no testing for entrance if the child has reached the required age.

Grades K-5

Elementary school students at SJA are presented with a variety of opportunities to build and develop their spiritual lives as they grow closer to Christ, and meet the challenges of our thorough diocesan curriculum. Learning is inspired in our students beginning in the elementary grades as teachers create engaging lesson plans based on curriculum-mandated learning objectives.Subjects covered in K – 5 include:

Language Arts and Reading

Basic writing skills, including grammar and punctuation, are emphasized in the Language Arts subject area. Journal writing, poetry, reports, plays, brochures, cookbooks, math word problems, and charts are some of the many ways SJA students are involved in writing. Students learn editing and revising skills and often work with peers. Learning to listen and speak effectively is another important component of language arts.

The primary curriculum goal of the Reading program is to have students understand, appreciate, and enjoy fine literature while becoming successful readers in the process. Phonics, spelling, grammar, comprehension and writing are part of the daily activity in the lower grades.

Students in grades K – 5 participate in the Daily Five Reading Program, an outstanding new reading, writing, and vocabulary building program that allows each student to develop at his or her individual levels. The five program components include: Read to Self, Writing Prompts, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, and Word Work (integrating vocabulary and spelling work).

Creative writing, research projects and oral presentations are used to enhance reading. Active reading strategies teach students how to think as they read and connect the printed word to their own experiences. Student book reports and engaging lessons that focus on plot, main character, setting, focus on specific details in stories and books help students learn about the writing process, and components of stories. Students also participate in “Great Books” programs, and have access to SRA reading kits.

Math

Mathematics is one of the core content areas taught to all students. Students sequentially develop skills in understanding numbers and number sense, computation of whole numbers, decimals, fractions, percents, geometry, problem solving, probability, statistics, patterns, graphs, measurement, functions and algebra. The curriculum is spiraled from kindergarten to fifth grade. This method helps students continuously review concepts already taught while learning new concepts.

Science

Science is a discipline requiring the ability to observe, analyze, and apply critical thinking skills in order to solve problems. By implementing the LabLearner™ (www.lablearner.com) program here at St. John Academy in grades 1-8, students are able to participate in a 100% research-based, hands-on system of science education that includes a fully equipped in-school laboratory, which will prepare them for high school science.

LabLearner™ is a comprehensive program designed to demonstrate basic scientific concepts in developing stages throughout the 1-8 educational experience. LabLearner™ focuses on augmenting student’s cognitive abilities in critical thinking and problem solving in a lab setting. For each new topic the program provides a CELL (Core Experience Learning Lab) which the teachers integrate into their science classes.  All students in grades 1-8 have access to LabLearner™ and the teachers are briefed on the details of the program at the beginning of the year. The program enables the students to explore the wonders of science while developing problem solving skills that will serve them not only in science class but in life.

Not only are essential science concepts, firmly linked to state science standards and approved by the Arlington Diocese, developed each year into a conceptual framework that spirals upwards through the grades, but important Mathematics and Language Arts skills are incorporated into each unit as well. A variety of assessment tools are used throughout each unit to draw upon the student’s experiences within the lab.

Social Studies

Various learning strategies include purposeful reading, outlining, note taking, critical thinking and discussion. Multiple assessment measures are used to gauge student performance, including quizzes, tests, research and oral reports, debates, interviews, models, drawings and exhibits. Integration of Social Studies with other curriculum occurs regularly with Language Arts, Science, Math and Technology.

Religion

Saint John Academy’s comprehensive religious education program emphasizes formation in the Roman Catholic faith, with a focus on the liturgical calendar. Students participate in the devotional life of the Church, including a weekly school Mass, and the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Penance weekly. In addition to the example set by their extraordinary Catholic lay teachers, students receive periodic instruction from their parish priests and members of other religious communities.

Health / Physical Education

P.E. is offered at Saint John Academy for PK – 8.  Our physical education program teaches the students to invest in self-respect and confidence through sportsmanship and exercise. The program starts with balance and coordination exercises and games for the younger students. By graduation, our students have learned valuable lessons in team work and have a working knowledge of many sports as well as experience with healthy exercises appropriate for their age range.

SJA views physical education as an integral part of a holistic Catholic educational process. SJA promotes and models lifetime wellness by teaching sound guidelines for a healthy lifestyle. Students are taught to respect their bodies and understand the importance of making good choices regarding eating and exercising.

Music

The SJA music program is centered on the Ward method, a composition of music training founded in Gregorian chant. This method teaches all elements of music that includes rhythm, pitch, notation, composition and conducting through movement and singing. The student Treble Choir practices three days a week and performs at Church and school functions.

Art

Saint John Academy’s art curriculum is designed to develop a young artist’s technical abilities and vision, through the study of a variety of traditional and contemporary media. Media used include drawing, oil pastels, paper mache, clay, chalk pastels, water colors and textile arts.

Each student has the opportunity to create their own projects and artwork based on the works of famous artists, including those of Van Gogh, Picasso, and Monet. There is no limit to what they are able to create. Students also work on large scale projects as a class, such as scenery and props for school plays and musicals.

Technology

SJA uses an engaging, project-oriented approach to captivate students, and involve them more deeply. Students are actively engaged in learning the practical applications of software through verbal and visual cues, and hands-on activities. Research, writing, and math skills are emphasized throughout various projects as the use of technology is integrated into the classroom curriculum when possible. Elementary students learn keyboarding skills, how to develop a PowerPoint presentation, how to safely research on the Internet, and how to put together a publication. Use of digital photography, desktop publishing, and other practical skills enable students to produce such products as recipe books, calendars, Christmas cards, and promotional brochures. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access are some of the practical applications the students learn to use.

Library

Saint John Academy’s library offers 14,500 volumes and programs including Battle of the Books for fifth and sixth graders. Bookworm Club and Junior Great Books programs are offered for students in grades one through four. An easy-to-use catalog search engine is installed on five computers. The Internet is also available on all of the computers, and all Internet access and activity is carefully screened and monitored.

Spanish

The teaching of a world language (Spanish) provides a variety of benefits. Research indicates the most successful language learning takes place between birth and age ten to twelve. At this young age, the child will have an easier time of learning and retaining the language. When children study world language, they develop higher cognitive thinking skills. Studying Spanish exposes students to the beauty and richness of another language and civilization. Fluency will more likely be reached if a child starts learning a world language at an early age.

At Saint John Academy, students in 1st and 2nd grade have Spanish class once a week. Students in 3rd – 5th grade have Spanish class twice a week.