Special Subjects & Enrichment Programs
Special Subject Areas
Special subject offerings are an important component of the St. Thomas’s Day School instructional program. They provide children multiple ways of expressing themselves, multiple ways of learning, and multiple opportunities for success. These curricular offerings are taught by teachers responsible for each particular subject and are integrated into the core program when natural connections are sensible and provide opportunities for enhanced learning. The richness of the St. Thomas’s experience is provided through coordination and integration across these special subject areas:
Art: Visual arts at St. Thomas’s Day School are an integral part of the curriculum. Our children learn to create and appreciate visual aesthetics using a wide variety of mediums. Painting, drawing, construction and deconstruction, design elements, printmaking and sculpture are just samplings of ways we open up our children’s minds to new and exciting worlds. A wide variety of projects are frequently linked to other curricular areas throughout the program. Our integrated and interrelated approach is designed so that every student can find success and enjoyment through self-expression.
Drama: The drama program aims to deepen creative thinking skills by engaging students in a variety of theatre experiences. The goal is to spark each actor’s imagination while building confidence through play. Students will explore perspectives using observation, role-playing, and reflection techniques. In the fall, students will have weekly, thirty-minute sessions consisting of a warm-up for voice/body/imagination, a discussion about a theatre concept, and an activity that reinforces the theme. In the spring, students will dive into production season with each class presenting a theatrical presentation of some kind either on the stage or in Chapel.
Library/Digital Citizenship: The library at St. Thomas’s Day School is an open and welcoming environment where our entire school community is invited to work, study, and of course, read! Our library houses approximately 8,000 volumes and has computer stations for research, Internet access, and an on-line catalogue search of our collection. Our program’s main objective is to use the library to support the classroom teacher’s curriculum. Students are exposed to a thoughtful range of diverse and stimulating literature, may engage in multi-media presentations and in collaborative projects with our fine arts programs. Library and research skills are taught. Our digital literacy and citizenship program provides collaborative activities designed to identify key issues facing students in today’s digital world.
Music: Music is a vital part of the St. Thomas’s Day School experience. Our goal is to inspire and encourage a love of music, to gain a solid understanding of musical concepts, and to become musically literate. We seek to develop musical ability and understanding by using the three artistic processes of creating, performing, and responding. The curriculum draws from a variety of methods and includes the use of Orff instruments and Kodaly solfege syllables. Special attention is paid to ear-training, vocal development, and instrumental skills, with the goal of encouraging students to become poised, joyful musicians. Students perform throughout the year at special events, chapel celebrations, and grade specific productions.
Physical Education: The physical education program reflects and embodies the belief that education of the whole child is of paramount importance. The structure, sequence, and continuity of the program provides opportunities for children to use their bodies physically, cultivate friendships through interaction during team play, develop self-confidence and self-esteem, and acquire knowledge. Students understand the importance of a healthy body being physically fit while realizing their potential as physical beings.
Religious Studies: Religious Education is an integral part of our common life. Our goal is to remain loyal to our Episcopal tradition while respecting the beliefs represented in our community, to affirm religious diversity, and to encourage spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional wholeness. Through Religious Education, children examine values and ethical questions and learn about different religious traditions as we celebrate our common humanity.
Science: Our students investigate a broad range of physical, earth, and life science topics. Starting in kindergarten, all topics are explored through hands-on activities and student inquiry. Students’ questions form the basis of an introduction to the scientific method. Students learn about making observations and predictions, asking questions, forming hypotheses, and designing and conducting experiments that will test their hypotheses. By the time they move on to the Upper School, students have had experience working on experiments both independently and in cooperative groups and have completed several scientific research projects. Science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) are integrated into the science curriculum.
Spanish: The Spanish program uses a hands-on approach to introduce students to a new language and to explore the cultural heritage of Spanish-speaking countries. The goal of the program is to develop the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in a positive learning environment. Students develop listening skills that enable them to comprehend basic vocabulary, structures, and expressions essential for everyday communication. Speaking skills enable children to respond to simple questions, statements, and commands using words, phrases, and short sentences. Participating in cultural activities results in acquiring a basic understanding and appreciation of the diversity of cultures in the Spanish-speaking world.
Technology/Computer Science: St. Thomas’s Day School reinforces and enhances curricular areas by integrating technology into classroom learning, thereby giving it a more meaningful and purposeful context. Students and teachers are exposed to a variety of hands-on computer tools to enhance their curricular areas, to support the acquisition of technology skills, and become better learners and teachers. Students are exposed to computer programming through an exciting and engaging curriculum that expands beyond teaching the use of computer programs to teaching how to make computer programs.