Specialized Programs

Art
In Pre-K and Kindergarten, the classroom teacher integrates art activities through all content area themes.

The Art curriculum on the primary level is focused on the basic principles of the visual arts. Those principles are identifying color, line, and shape. The primary grades are introduced to subject matter in art that is age appropriate. Some of the subjects are portraits, family, and landscapes. Thematic projects are done throughout the school year. Students use various art media.

The intermediate level art curriculum is focused on identifying symbols, natural images, and objects to create their art. Students are exposed to photos of nature and of existing artwork. They use photos to create their work. The color wheel is reinforced and enhanced. Students are taught different techniques using various art media.

The junior high level art curriculum is focused on learning technical skills in drawing and painting. Students begin to express their own personal experiences into art form. Students also interpret art in their own personal style.

Physical Education
Students in Pre-K through grade two are encouraged to use their bodies to develop skills in basic locomotion activities. They learn to build confidence in their physical skills by involvement in games and activities. Some of the units are gymnastics, relays, throwing and catching, and jumping. Students in higher grades are challenged as they begin to become involved in team and organized sporting games. They begin to experience competition and learn the importance of sportsmanship. Some units are soccer, basketball, volleyball, wiffleball, various group games and relays. All students learn the importance of warm-up and stretching exercises and how physical fitness affects their daily lives.

Technology
Basic computer literacy and knowledge begin in Kindergarten. Computer skills are developed as the students progress to eighth grade. Students are introduced to the Windows operating environment through an exploration of various educational software packages. Computer class provides an opportunity for the students to learn keyboarding and word processing, and to apply the learned skills to project work. Our Computer lab is Internet accessible allowing our students to link classroom study with the tools of current technology. All students in grades 5 through 8 and their parents are required to sign an Acceptable Use Policy, which outlines the rules and regulations governing the use of computers at St. Thomas the Apostle School.

Music
In Pre-K and Kindergarten, the classroom teacher incorporates music into the daily routine. Kindergarteners learn many religious songs throughout the school year. They also learn nursery rhymes through the reading program.

Students in the primary and intermediate grades learn the rudiments of music including rhythm, tempo, melody, harmony, and musical notation. They play rhythm instruments and learn songs and dances. There is some viewing of classic films that promote the appreciation of the uses of music in the context of the story. Junior high students deepen their appreciation for American musical tradition by viewing and analyzing the great musicals of the Twentieth century Theater.

All students are further acquainted with the Catholic culture and liturgy through the study of hymns and musical parts of the Mass. When possible, students display their own talents by performing for their classmates and school community in holiday and seasonal shows.

Library
The curriculum on the primary level focuses on cultivating a love for books. Students explore and become familiar with the library and its content, while developing their listening skills. They learn book care and library behavior. Students are instilled with an appreciation of award winning books, their content and illustrations. Students are also introduced to how to select a book for information and enjoyment.

Students in the third through seventh grade learn to build on their basic skill of locating, selecting, and interpreting reading materials for both information and pleasure.

Spanish
Students in the primary grades are introduced to the language. Through songs and stories they become familiar with the Spanish language and culture. Students learn to use the Spanish language in their everyday lives.

The intermediate-level Spanish curriculum is focused on building vocabulary and using proper grammar. Students learn how to write sentences and conjugate verbs. They also learn how to pray in Spanish. The main goal is to prepare the students for advanced study, which begins in eighth grade.

The junior high-level Spanish curriculum focuses on preparing students for their High school language class. The class is conducted in a formal manner. High school-level materials and textbooks are used. Students read literature and newspapers written in Spanish. By mid-year, class is conducted mostly in Spanish so the students must learn to be conversant in the language.

Guidance
The Guidance Counselor provides services such as individual assessments, individual counseling, and classroom presentations on issues such as bullying, creating peaceful classrooms, drugs abuse, and conflict resolution. Other services involve, teaching relaxation techniques, such as meditation and imaging to fifth graders. At lunchtime, the counselor conducts groups for the upper grade students in which they discuss pertinent and age-appropriate issues. The Guidance Counselor is also available to consult with teachers and parents concerning students who may be experiencing difficulties.