Curriculum Introduction

What do we teach in the beginning grades?
The Saint Nicholas curriculum brings world class standards together at the international Texas Medical Center workplace, including:
• Multi-lingual Early Literacy
• Montessori
• Latin and Classical Studies
• Singapore Mathematics
• Fine Arts

Students acquire early competency of reading and writing in four languages in the Lower School, guided by the Montessori environment and teachers for Latin, Spanish, and French. The Languages Through Phonics program provides structural support and was written and developed specifically for Saint Nicholas School. The Montessori environment also provides a concrete foundation for mathematics and other areas.

The Classical School stage begins in Grade 3 with emphasis on Latin and classical studies and grammar and rhetoric in English.

A Scope and Sequence summary of the Singapore Mathematics program appears below. Concrete experiences are supplemented with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) activities.

The Choir Program provides training with a classical repertoire. Special teachers present music theory, history, choir, voice, drama, and piano. The Art Program includes appreciation, history, and studio art.

The Elementary Program

The daily schedule begins with Choral Morning Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. The school day is from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with a balance of group work, individual work, and complementary activity. Our own kitchen and chef provides a hot breakfast, morning snack, lunch, and Afternoon Tea. Supper is served at 5:15 p.m.

Tuesdays through Fridays are regular academic days with new material and concepts presented. Mondays are reading assignment days, lab days, outdoor activities, or museum or other field trip days. Special teachers present art and physical education as well as music. Students in Grade 3+ are issued individual laptop computers and there are printers in the classrooms. Students master joined Italic handwriting before beginning substantial keyboard work.

The Concrete Language Stage: Ages 3-7


Language and Grammar:
Texts are Languages Through Phonics Level A for English, Spanish, French, and Latin, and Level A Italic Handwriting. Students learn to diagram subject and predicate.

Texts are Lippincott Book A and B basal readers, McGuffey Eclectic Primer, and the American Language Series (Fun in the Sun, Scamp and Tramp, Soft and White). Usborne Beginners Series, Level 1 are assigned individually.
Singapore Math K includes counting, addition, subtraction, sequencing, and fractions in the Singapore format. My Pals are Here Science is also from Singapore. Montessori topics in math include the decimal system, composition of numbers, dynamic addition and subtraction, fractions, time, money, and skip counting, with practice sheets. Montessori topics in science include parts and function of plants and animals, classes of vertebrates, the water cycle, and the volcano. Montessori topics in geography include the globe, United States and North America puzzle maps, labels, tracing, continents and oceans, animals of the continents, the US flag, Texas flag, and flags of the world.

Grade 1:

Language and Grammar:
Language work includes Languages Through Phonics, Level B for English, Spanish, French, and Latin, and Level B Italic Handwriting. Topics from The First Whole Book of Diagrams are introduced.
Composition: IEW: Bible Heroes Writing Lessons from Memoria Press Reading: First texts are the Lippincott Basal Readers Books C and D. Then they read McGuffey’s First Eclectic Reader with vocabulary. Original source literature with study guide from Memoria Press: Little Bear, Caps for Sale, Frog and Toad Are Friends, and Make Way for Ducklings. The teacher chooses from these titles. The American Language Series is completed with At the Farm, On the Trail, and Sounds of the Sea. More Story Time Treasures are available according to the needs and interests of the class: Billy and Blaze, Blaze and the Forest Fire, The Story About Ping, Keep the Lights Burning Abbie, Stone Soup, The Little House, and Miss Rumphius. Singapore Math 1 topics include ordinal numbers, addition, subtraction, shapes, measurement, weight, time, money, and graphs. Practical applications and word problems are used throughout. Singapore Fact Fluency and My Pals are Here Science 1 coordinate. Montessori topics in math include greater/less than/equal to, addition and subtraction charts, vocabulary, work cards, and word problems. Montessori topics in science include the parts, types, and function of the root, stem, leaf, fruit, seed, and flower. They study five phylums with their characteristics, parts, and habitats. Montessori topics in geography include South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, maps, labels, and tracing.

Grade 2:

Language and Grammar:
Student work includes Languages Through Phonics Level C for English, Spanish, French, and Latin, Level C Italic Handwriting. The First Whole Book of Diagrams is introduced.
Composition: Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans from Memoria Press.
Reading: Lippincott Basal Readers E and F are completed with workbooks. McGuffey’s Second Eclectic Reader is completed with vocabulary. Original source literature from Memoria Press with study guides includes: Animal Folk Tales of America, Prairie School, The Courage of Sarah Noble, Little House in the Big Woods, and Tales from Beatrix Potter (The Tale of Tom Kitten, The Tale of Johnny Town Mouse, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, and the Tale of Peter Rabbit). The teacher chooses from these titles. Singapore Math 2 topics include addition and subtraction with renaming, multiplication and division, place value, measurement, money, introduction of fractions, writing numbers in words, time, graphs, and introductory geometric shapes and area. My Pals are Here Science 2 coordinates as does Singapore Fact Fluency. Montessori topics in math include multiplication, division, bead cabinet, and fractions. Montessori topics in science include the classes of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. They are introduced to atoms, molecules, elements, compounds, mixtures, the periodic table, common elements, states of matter, and physical and chemical changes of matter. They study the human body and its systems, nutrition, and safety. Montessori topics in geography include mapping, Canada, and Mexico, the earth’s lithosphere, latitude and longitude, and the compass. The Latin text is Prima Latina. In American history, a reader and a study of states and capitals are included.

The Grammar Stage: Ages 8-11

In the Grammar Stage the foundation of Latin provides an academic vocabulary, a formal system of grammar, and critical thinking. The study of the cultures of Athens and Rome, as well as Biblical and Church history, provides a basis for the understanding of European and American history. Beginning in Grade 3, students study English grammar and classical composition. Ancient writers used a way of teaching composition known as progymnasmata, which taught a disciplined approach to communication, appealing to logic as well as the heart. The core education of a classical person was designed to produce “the good man speaking well”. Thus was the teaching of John Milton, William Shakespeare, and the founding fathers of our country.

Grade 3:
Grammar: Texts are LP Handwriting Level 3+, English Grammar Recitation Workbook (tied to Latina Christiana I), and Wordly Wise Book 3, EPS. Composition: Introduction to Composition teaches concepts of narration, outlining, summarizing, dictation, and copywork. Reading: Lippincott Basic Readers G and H are used, with workbooks. Original source literature with guides, includes these titles: Farmer Boy and Charlotte’s Web. In languages they study Latina Christiana I , First Start French I, and Viva el Espanol. The math text is Singapore Mathematics 3. My Pals are Here Science 3 coordinates as does Singapore Fact Fluency. The history subject for Grade 3 is Texas History with a number of texts and original source materials and some reference to American History.

Grade 4:
Texts are LP Handwriting Level 3+, and English Grammar Recitation Workbook (tied to Latina Christians I). Diagramming Work Text is used as well as Wordly Wise Book 4, EPS.
Composition: Introduction to Composition teaches concepts of narration, outlining, summarizing, dictation, and copywork. Also used in Grade 3. Reading: Texts are Lippincott Basic Reading Book I, with workbook and McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader with vocabulary. Literature of C.S. Lewis includes The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Christian Studies begins with Christian Studies I: Old Testament. Classical Studies begins with D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. Languages continue with Latina Christiana I, First Start French II, and Viva el Espanol. Original Source Literature with guides includes The Cricket in Times Square, Homer Price, Dangerous Journey, and Blue Fairy Book. These are selected according to the needs of the class. The math text is Singapore Mathematics 4. My Pals are Here Science 4 coordinates as does Singapore Fact Fluency.
In American History they read The Story of the Thirteen Colonies, The Great Republic, and other topics.
Grade 5 in the Saint Nicholas sequence is considered middle school. Curriculum information is available for Grades 5-8.

Parent Guide for Singapore Mathematics

Singapore mathematics curriculum is organized in three categories: number sense, model drawing with word problems, and using mental math without paper and pencil. Like the Montessori method, Singapore Mathematics works from the concrete (objects) to pictoral (using pictures), and finally to the abstract (numbers represent symbolic values).

The Singapore mathematics program requires a secure foundation in number sense, measurement, and geometry for each level before beginning another. Therefore, students who are moving into this math program after grade three from another program take a placement test for correct placement. Descriptions of the levels are provided:

Grade 3: Topics for Singapore Math 3 include more advanced work in the four arithmetic operations including long division, equivalent fractions plus adding and subtracting, measurement, graphs, time, and geometry. Two step word problems and mental calculation is included.

Grade 4: Topics for Singapore Math 4 include all four functions with both fractions and decimals. Geometry includes computing degrees in angles and complex area and perimeter questions. Students work with advanced whole number concepts such as factors, multiples, and rounding off. Other topics are money, other geometric concepts, graphs, and averages. Two digit multipliers are introduced.

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