Kindergarten - Fifth Grade
The elementary years are a time of growth and development for your child during which many lifelong habits and attitudes are established.
The Highlands prepares children to read, with comprehension, the challenging works of literature, history, theology or the sciences, to analyze and evaluate what they read, then to speak or write (a 5-paragraph essay with a thesis and supporting paragraphs by the end of fifth grade) with clarity and attention to structure and style that is a sign of a well-formed mind.
At the start of this process, phonics instruction leads young readers to word recognition, and soon after, our students are reading sentences independently with comprehension. We introduce story with the richness of setting, character, and new vocabulary using classic and familiar stories from sources like the Junior Great Books® program: The Shoemaker and the Elves, The Pied Piper, or The Happy Lion among many others. A teacher-guided strategy for students’ responding to “read-aloud” both at school and at home deepens listening and oral comprehension skills beyond a child’s own independent reading capacity by the end of second grade.
By third grade, students have grown from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” where reading independence is expected. Student attention to the academic study of science, history, grammar, and the delightful works of children’s literature (like E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web or The Trumpet of the Swan) marks a turning point in a child’s education. Learning study skills and test preparation (with help from mom and dad) assist in the successful navigation of the third-grade year and beyond.
To encourage independent reading, we use Renaissance Learning’s web-based Accelerated Reader (AR)®; students visit our library weekly or borrow from classroom collections to read according to interest and reading level, striving to reach a quarterly personal reading goal. Web-based assessments challenge students to focus attention and expand the imagination while providing teachers and parents key data for evaluating progress.
In mathematics, students acquire basic numeracy and calculation skills from Pre-Kindergarten to second using the incremental approach of Saxon Math® which allows children a frequent review of previously learned concepts with both time and practice to retain math concepts to the level of mastery. Third to fifth sees continued deliberate practice by students in the classroom, independently, and over each summer to insure a solid foundation for concept development. Our math texts build basic concepts and foundational understanding with clarity and frequent review. Word problems align math learning to comprehension skills in both literacy and numeracy. Highlands students continue to demonstrate above average achievement in math on national assessments compared to peers throughout the elementary years.
Students receive instruction in the safe use of technology in a weekly computer applications class beginning in Kindergarten to begin setting the foundation for keyboarding, editing, and coding (programming) skills necessary for 21st century learning after third grade. Students periodically use iPad’s for assessment or skill practice in early childhood classes and daily beginning in third grade through fifth for reading assessment and to sharpen math calculation skills.
In addition, students receive weekly instruction in special classes: Art, Computers, Music, and Physical Education. Latin instruction beginning in the fourth grade supports English grammar skills, vocabulary development, and sentence composition skills.
Regardless of the subject or activity, students find joy in building friendships with others, take satisfaction in work well done, and cultivate a love and enthusiasm for learning in classrooms where the simple but beautiful faith of the children set the tone. Small class sizes and a family-like atmosphere allow your child to receive a Catholic education befitting this vision.