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Curriculum

Reading at San Domenico Lower SchoolLanguage Arts

Reading is thinking. These three simple words are the foundation of the literacy program at San Domenico. Here, students learn to think—whether they are reading, writing, or speaking. Lessons teach strategies that encourage and empower the student to be actively involved in developing and applying expressive skills. The writing curriculum supports a process approach in which students are encouraged to use their own distinct voices.


Mathematics

At each level, the mathematics program at the San Domenico lower school carefully balances fundamental skills, problem solving, and critical thinking. The curriculum emphasizes the process as much as the answer. This approach is supported by research, which indicates that successful mathematics students must develop both procedural proficiency and conceptual understanding. The program inspires inquiry and challenges students to recognize how mathematics can apply to real situations that are relevant in their daily lives.


Music at San Domenico Lower School

Music

The main goal of the lower school music program is to lead children to a love of and knowledge about music, using the Kodaly method, which follows a child's development physically and intellectually, making sure a strong foundation is laid for each new idea. The program improves memory, abstract thinking, articulation, social learning, leadership qualities, and self-confidence.

Read more about Music at San Domenico Lower School

"Music is a manifestation of the human spirit, similar to language. Its greatest practitioners have conveyed to mankind things not possible to say in any other language.
—Kodaly Music Program

Kindergarten Music

In Kindergarten we are building a fundamental knowledge of music and it’s basic concepts: rhythm, dynamics, pitch matching, basic form, timbre and instrument recognition, phrasing and understanding expressive elements. We work on recognizing a steady and divided beat through creative movement and listening. Students begin to develop voice flexibility through singing songs together. We listen to a variety of different music and work on identifying different kinds of voices and sounds and recognizing fast and slow, loud and soft and musical contour (high, low, up and down).

As we progress through the curriculum, students will gain an understanding not only of the fundamental building blocks of music, but also an understanding of what they enjoy on a personal level. Students explore many different genres of music. We sing, move, and begin to read music as well as learn by ear. We explore instruments: xylophone, drums, bells, piano and of course, our own individual instrument, our voices.

1st Grade

In 1st grade we are building a fundamental knowledge of music and it’s basic and more complex concepts: rhythm, note reading and identification, dynamics, pitch matching, form, timbre and instrument recognition, phrasing and understanding expressive elements. We work on understanding and recognizing a steady beat, note reading, beginning to identify different musical markings for concepts such as fast and slow (tempo terms) and loud and soft (dynamics). Students listen to and can begin to identify different orchestral instruments and types of voices. We start working on understanding musical form and digging deeper into rhythmic understanding and notation.

As we progress through the curriculum, students will gain an understanding not only of the fundamental building blocks of music, but also an understanding of what they enjoy on a personal level. Students explore many different genres of music. We sing, move, and begin to read music as well as learn by ear. We explore instruments: xylophone, drums, bells, piano and of course, our own individual instrument, our voices.

2nd Grade

In 2nd grade, we are building a fundamental knowledge of music and it’s basic and more complex concepts: rhythm, note reading and identification, dynamics, pitch matching, form, timbre and instrument recognition, phrasing and understanding expressive elements. Students begin to explore more complex rhythmic concepts, covering syncopation, a variety of rests, and rhythmic and tempo changes and meters. Vocally, we are expanding our range and are beginning to explore more interval leaps and scales. We are working at reading music and understanding its connection to the notes we are playing on an instrument or singing.

As we progress through the curriculum, students will gain an understanding not only of the fundamental building blocks of music, but also an understanding of what they enjoy on a personal level. Students explore many different genres of music. We sing, move, and begin to read music as well as learn by ear. We explore instruments: xylophone, drums, bells, piano and of course, our own individual instrument, our voices.

3rd Grade

In 3rd grade we are building a fundamental knowledge of music and it’s basic and more complex concepts: rhythm, note reading and identification, dynamics, pitch matching, form, timbre and instrument recognition, phrasing and understanding expressive elements. Students build on our solid rhythmic foundation to explore and understand more complex rhythmic concepts such as: different divided beats, rhythmic texture, syncopation and more complex meters. We work on understanding the solo and accompaniment form and are increasing our understanding of different musical forms. Vocally, we are expanding our range and are beginning to explore more interval leaps and scales. We are working at reading music and understanding its connection to the notes we are playing on an instrument or singing.

Students explore many different genres of music. As we progress through the curriculum, they will gain an understanding not only of the fundamental building blocks of music, but also an understanding of what they enjoy on a personal level. We sing, move, and read music as well as learn by ear. Students explore instruments: xylophone, drums, bells, piano and of course, our own individual instrument, our voices.

4th Grade Chorus

Chorus builds a solid foundation of music fundamentals: rhythm, note reading and identification, dynamics, pitch matching, form, phrasing and understanding expressive elements. We work on expanding our vocal flexibility, singing in harmony and unison, as well as understanding some of the theory behind what makes the music sound as it does. We will perform a variety of musical styles, including jazz, pop, classical, holiday music, gospel and folk tunes.

5th Grade Chorus

Chorus builds a solid foundation of music fundamentals: rhythm, note reading and identification, dynamics, pitch matching, form, phrasing and understanding expressive elements. We work on expanding our vocal flexibility, singing in harmony and unison and reading music as well as understanding some of the theory behind what makes the music sound as it does. We will perform a variety of musical styles, including jazz, pop, classical, holiday music, gospel and folk tunes.


Physical Education at San Domenico Lower SchoolPhysical Education

Students engage in activities such as muscular strength, flexibility, and agility, while learning how their bodies work and how to keep healthy. Our whole child program encourages individual growth in skills and abilities. Physical education provides a venue for students to interact socially in a venue outside the classroom. With an emphasis on cooperation, community, and respect, students learn life-long social and emotional skills that will help them as they become effective citizens in the greater community. Students also enjoy myriad integrated opportunities with creative movement and dance.


Science at San Domenico Lower SchoolScience

Our program is designed to promote scientific knowledge of the earth, life, and physical sciences, with a special emphasis on developing critical thinking skills. Students are provided opportunities to use the scientific method in the classroom, laboratory, and field environment the campus provides. As students design and conduct experiments, they practice the processes of observation, data collection, questioning, hypothesizing, and forming conclusions. The program fosters scientific literacy and creative problem solvers, as evident in our Science Fair and Invention Convention. Field trips are a key part of the program.


Social Studies at San Domenico Lower School

Social Studies

Our curriculum is designed to promote knowledge in civics, geography, and the history of the local community, state, and nation. Students examine diverse societies and times to develop an understanding of the factors that divide nations, and common qualities that connect them. Our social studies program incorporates music, art, dance, and literature to better understand the story of human events. It is is a relevant way to practice literacy, math, technology, and library skills, capitalizing on experiential learning using field trips to historical sites and observation of government in action.


Spanish is offered at San Domenico Lower SchoolSpanish

At San Domenico, our Spanish program seeks to foster a desire of learning another language, and gives students the tools necessary to continue building their skills and proficiency in this lifelong pursuit. Students in the younger grades build a base of thematic vocabulary and acquire a basic understanding of the structure of language in an engaging and interactive way through project based learning and games. Students are prepared to use their knowledge towards conversational Spanish as reading, writing, and speaking.


Sustainability at San Domenico Lower School

Sustainability

At SD, ecoliteracy is interwoven into all of our classes and curriculum. We believe that as educators we have a responsibility to teach students about interconnectedness, patterns, relationships, and the web of life, so that they have the tools needed to create a sustainable world. San Domenico addresses these critical issues in concrete ways throughout our curricula, policies, and campus practices. Learn more about Sustainability at San Domenico.


Technology at San Domenico Lower School

Technology

The goal of technology at San Domenico is to equip students with skills that support and encourage lifelong learning in a global information society. The curriculum provides students with the skills necessary to present information, creative projects, and ideas to others. The objective is for students to use and integrate their knowledge into problem solving and understand that technology is a tool applicable to many settings. Learn more about technology at San Domenico.


Ethics, Philosophy, and World Religions at San Domenico Lower SchoolEthics, Philosophy, and World Religions

Rooted in Dominican tradition, and reflecting the school's mission to teach students of all faiths, San Domenico encourages even our youngest students to become moral thinkers as well as academic achievers. We provide a moral framework for making ethical decisions which guide personal choices and interpersonal relationships. Students apply the values they have learned within the school community and through participation in service learning projects.


Visual Arts at San Domenico Lower SchoolVisual Arts

The visual arts curriculum is cyclical: concepts are introduced, developed, expanded, and revisited. Each child is challenged to create in new directions and acquire more advanced skills—engaging in the process of art and fostering an appreciation of the arts of different periods and cultures. While mastering techniques, students discover and develop their creative talents and cognitive processes. Art is also integrated into other curricular disciplines, giving students the opportunity to connect it with academic subjects. Learn more about visual arts at San Domenico.


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