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Curriculum

Reading at San Domenico Lower SchoolLanguage Arts

Language Arts instruction at San Domenico is delivered via a balanced Language Arts curriculum. We understand and value the importance of immersing our students in rich language experiences that provide for the development of understanding through purposeful and authentic practices. Our Language Arts curriculum is mainly built around the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project models. The goal of our Language Arts curriculum is to help students become avid and skilled readers, writers, and inquirers. We ensure that our students are immersed in a curriculum that is delivered with state-of-the-art tools and methods for teaching reading and writing, developmentally appropriate learning progressions to accelerate progress, and literacy-rich content-area instruction.

The Writing Units at each year level are built on best practices and a proven framework developed over decades of research and dedicated work. The Units of Study are balanced between fiction and non-fiction writing and allow students to develop competencies in: Opinion and/or Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing. Teachers facilitate explicit instruction in these areas of writing and provide sustained rich and authentic opportunities for practice. The Reading Units give students a framework for learning that provides a comprehensive, developmentally appropriate curriculum in which skills are introduced, developed, and deepened. As with the writing units, the reading units offer well-balanced learning opportunities that develop skills and strategies for both fiction and non-fiction reading. Teachers provide explicit instruction to develop these reading skills and strategies and ensure to provide extended amounts of time for independent reading.

In order to best support students in their acquisition of reading and writing skills, we understand the importance of having dedicated and explicit instruction in phonics, spelling and handwriting. We supplement our rigorous reading and writing instruction with Fundations which is a program that was developed by the Wilson Language Training Corporation. Fundations is a multisensory and systematic phonics, spelling, and handwriting program that benefits all students. The Fundations program provides instruction of the foundational skills of language, and significantly supports the development of reading and writing. It encompasses explicit instruction in: letter formation, phonological and phonemic awareness, sound mastery and vocabulary.
It is the goal of San Domenico to have our students become powerful readers and writers who read and write for real purposes. We aim to have students advocate for themselves and others, to deepen their own knowledge and the knowledge of those around them, and to enrich the lives they live and the world they are a part of. We aim to develop life-long, confident readers and writers who display purpose and independence in their future endeavors.

 


Mathematics

The mathematics curriculum at San Domenico carefully balances the development of fundamental skills, problem solving strategies, and critical thinking processes. The curriculum emphasizes the process as much as the answer.  We use the Singapore Math philosophy, which is a highly effective teaching approach based on research of math mastery. This approach yields results in mathematics that see schools that utilize it as being ranked at the top of math testing outcomes globally. Successful mathematicians must develop both procedural proficiency and conceptual understanding. With an intentional progression structure, the Singapore Math approach instills a deep understanding, along with positive attitudes and a sense of comfort that helps reinforce the importance of mathematics. In harnessing this philosophy, our mathematics curriculum inspires inquiry and challenges students to recognize how mathematics can apply to real situations.

In order to best deliver a mathematics curriculum that embraces the philosophy of Singapore Math, San Domenico has embraced the Eureka Math program, coupled with Zearn, for mathematics instruction. Eureka Math is a comprehensive mathematics program that ensures that students not only become literate, but fluent in mathematics. It was built around the core principle that students need to know more than just what works when solving problems, they need to understand why it works. The Eureka Math program goes beyond facts and formulas. It teaches students to think about math conceptually. Zearn Math provides students with a uniquely integrated approach to math teaching and learning, connecting a rigorous curriculum with a cohesive classroom system. The Zearn Math component of our mathematics curriculum is delivered online.

Our students learn multiple methods for computation ensuring that they build a repertoire of strategies. This not only helps students solve different types of math problems more efficiently, but they gain a deeper understanding of mathematics and how to use it in daily life. By ensuring that our teaching and learning is immersed in real world objects and situations, with the help of pictures and models, students develop skills and strategies to visualize math problems. Through visualization, students are able to unpack more abstract mathematical concepts and verbalize explanations of their thinking.


Music at San Domenico Lower School

Music

The Lower School Music program is designed to develop an appreciation and understanding of music through active participation.Students experience songs from American traditions as well as songs and genres from around the world.Music classes include movement, the playing of percussion and Orff instruments, as well as a weekly focus on singing.


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.


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.


Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning or “SEL” is the process of teaching the skills to:

  • recognize and manage emotions,
  • develop caring and concern for others,
  • establish positive relationships,
  • make responsible decisions,
  • handle challenging situations effectively.


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.


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.


Digital Citizenship

In the Lower School, we use the Digital Citizenship program developed and maintained by Common Sense Media. They designed an effective program to, "empower students to think critically, behave safely and participate responsibly in our digital world." Please visit their website to access a wealth of information for parents of children of all ages. Click here for the full Digital Citizenship scope and sequence and here to visit the home page of Common Sense Media.

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