Rooted in our mission of educating the whole child, our elementary program of instruction addresses the social-emotional, academic, physical and spiritual development of our students. We believe that in order for our students to excel academically, they must first have a strong sense of significance and belonging at school and in their classroom community. To that end, we use a Responsive Classrooms approach to teaching and learning, considering the ways in which we:
- Proactively interact with students with care and respect
- Structure learning communities so that students feel connected and significant
- Respond to misbehavior rather than react to these so that mistakes become learning opportunities
This approach forms the foundation for a healthy academic environment where students feel socially and emotionally safe and are ready to delve into rigorous academic work.
Our Elementary curriculum is sequentially designed, so that content is aligned from Kindergarten through 8th grade. In designing our curriculum in this way, each content area unfolds for students in a connected manner, telling the story of a subject area from a variety of vantage points and becoming more and more rigorous as the grades increase. At AACA, our curriculum is standards-based so that all students are held to a clear set of performance criteria at each grade level. Standards for each content area as follows:
To ensure that students are able to access standards, teachers at AACA create curriculum maps that literally map out units of instruction that students will engage in throughout the year. Our curriculum maps serve as our long term plans that outline our instructional plan for teaching content, engaging students in practice and reflection on their learning and assessment of their learning. Units of study are designed to begin with an Essential Question that acts as a focus point for each unit. An inquiry-based approach is then used to pursue the best ways in which to respond to the Essential question throughout the unit.
Our elementary program of instruction is meant to provide students with full mastery of necessary academic and social skills that translate into a successful and rewarding schooling experience for our students who emerge as problem solvers, creative thinkers, and collaborative learners. Our approach to teaching and learning is based on the notion that the integration of the arts allows students to construct and demonstrate learning through various art forms and provides one avenue for differentiation of instruction across our classrooms. The arts play an important role in our PK -8 curriculum and are a central focus for the design of many of units of study. We strongly believe that arts both create and enhance learning opportunities for our students.
Across our elementary program, we share the responsibility with parents for the faith formation of their children. Our program of religion instruction invites students to learn more about their faith as Catholics and seeks to deepen their understanding of and love for Jesus Christ. Through modeling, instruction and living our faith as adults, we help to nourish and grow the faith of our students while they are members of our community, knowing that what they learn and internalize during these formative years will go with them for all of their lives.