Our academic program provides learning experiences that invite curiosity and discovery while fostering strong, respectful relationships. The curriculum focuses on myriad areas of development to facilitate students in discovering their gifts and the wonders of the natural world through their interactions with the environment and with others. Our learning experiences and environment are intentionally designed to align with the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Schools and the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards.
- Promotes student engagement through developmentally appropriate teaching practices.
- Fosters independence, self-regulation, and responsible decision-making.
- Cultivates curiosity and encourages exploration and discovery in order to develop creative thinkers and problem solvers.
- Values purposeful play and exploratory learning, through which students learn social skills as the foundation for healthy relationships.
- Provides student-centered, interdisciplinary experiences in which students use their senses to experience, discover, and share learning about the world.
- Focuses on collaborative, interactive experiences where students have the opportunity to work and share their learning with others.
- Engages students in mindfulness and self-reflection to deepen a sense of empathy and love for all of God's creation.
- Social-Emotional Learning
- Early Literacy
- Social Studies
Social-emotional development is essential to promote a child's growth in self-management, decision-making, interpersonal skills, social awareness, and responsible behaviors. Teachers model and provide a nurturing environment in which every child is respected and loved. This allows children to feel safe and to acknowledge and express their feelings without judgment. Children learn essential lessons and skills for life, such as autonomy, self-regulation and perspective-taking. The entire school day includes ongoing interactive experiences that allow students to apply these skills in social settings as they share, take turns, make choices, and learn from mistakes. These experiences help students acknowledge their gifts, share them with others, and learn how to demonstrate kindness, empathy, and compassion.
PRE-KINDERGARTEN AND JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN
• Build relationships with peers, teachers, and school personnel
• Recognize and name specific feelings
• Articulate reasons for experiencing different feelings
• Express feelings appropriately
• Recognize and respond appropriately to others’ feelings
• Identify feelings as a natural, accepted, and acknowledged part of being human
• Regulate behaviors and emotions
• Demonstrate mindfulness practices to relax, be still, and be present in the moment
• Demonstrate an ability to concentrate and focus
• Demonstrate confidence, particularly in challenging situations
• Develop resilience while working through difficult experiences
Young children are naturally interested in math and often experiment with number concepts or try to figure out if something is large or small, a circle or a square. Tapping into a child’s curiosity by using an inquiry-based approach helps children begin to understand mathematical concepts and develop a sense of numbers and what they can do. By providing opportunities to meaningfully connect to things that children understand and care about, they will naturally explore math concepts such as measurement and quantities, objects and patterns, and early concepts of geometry and spatial relations. Children begin to make predictions and collect data, often combining science and math learning.
• Demonstrate beginning awareness of numbers, number names, and numerals
• Recognize single digit numerals
• Recite numbers 1-10
• Identify ordinal positions (first, second, third) of objects
• Differentiate numerals from letters
• Compare, sort, describe, and order objects according to characteristics such as shape, color, or size
• Identify and replicate patterns
• Name, recognize, and match common shapes
• Experiment with measuring using various measurement tools
• Define a numeral as a symbol that stands for a number
• Explain the distinction between a number (the idea of how many) and a numeral (how we write the number).
• Identify numbers that come before and after a number (1-10)
• Describe ordinal positions of objects
• Experiment with addition and subtraction using manipulatives
• Count and recognize numerals
• Organize and describe data using concrete objects, pictures, and graphs
• Name, recognize, and match common shapes and their attributes (sides, lines, category of shape)
• Extend patterns
• Describe, determine and apply the probabilities of events (never, always, unlikely, likely)
• Use measurement tools with the knowledge that different attributes (length, weight, time) are measured using different kinds of units (feet, pounds, minutes)
The science curriculum enhances the natural curiosity that young children have about the world around them. Science activities enable children to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills through hands-on activities and the use of their senses. Children are encouraged to explore their surroundings, while learning to appreciate and respect all living things. Children have many opportunities to develop scientific skills such as questioning, experimenting, researching, observing, identifying, and comparing as they discover the natural world.
PRE-KINDERGARTEN AND JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN
• Express wonder of the world by asking questions, seeking answers, and solving problems through the creation of original designs
• Collect, describe, compare, and record information from observations
• Demonstrate curiosity of the natural world through daily exploration of nature
• Demonstrate respect and care for all living things
• Recognize that we rely on the environment to live and grow
• Explore the effects of common forces in our world
Listening, speaking, and writing are critical to a child’s academic achievement. Effective language and literacy involves assisting children in learning the skills they need to function socially. Receptive and expressive language are developed primarily by teachers modeling the proper use of grammar and the pragmatics of communicating with their students and colleagues. Phonemic awareness skills (noticing that every word can be comprehended as a sequence of individual sounds) are developed by providing opportunities for children to rhyme, recognize words that sound alike, and count syllables. Exposure to books that are rich with predictable patterns, rhymes, and alliteration
• Interact frequently with multiple forms of print
• Identify classroom signs and labels as words that name familiar objects
• Practice using oral and written language
• Explore a variety of multicultural nonfiction and fiction books for enjoyment as well as for specific purposes
• Recognize the relationship between letters and sounds
• Engage in language play, games, rhymes, and rhythmic activities to identify the sounds in words (phonemic awareness)
• Listen to stories and recall details
• Engage in discussions related to stories
• Ask and answer questions to show understanding of what was read
In addition to reinforcing early literacy skills taught in PK, students will:
• Hold a book with the proper orientation, recognizing that books are read from front to back, and from left to right
• Recognize the differences between authors and illustrators and locate this information on a book
• Identify all letters of the alphabet and their corresponding sounds
• Demonstrate reading comprehension through verbal book-sharing experiences with peers
• Identify characters and settings in stories
• Sequence key events in a story as occurring at the beginning, middle, or end
• Compare and contrast stories or informational texts with their own experiences
The social studies curriculum helps children develop a sense of self and understand how their social relationships exist within their family, school, and wider community. Children develop skills to prepare them to become active, productive citizens. By providing opportunities to engage with free and dramatic play, field trips, and culturally diverse materials, children learn to form friendships and become more globally aware. Through these experiences in a nurturing, welcoming school community, children become safe, respectful learners as well as good citizens in our world.
PRE-KINDERGARTEN and junior kindergarten
• Describe qualities of a good citizen
• Describe the responsibilities and benefits of being a member of a community
• Identify and role play various family members, friends, neighbors, and community members
• Recognize the reasons for rules both in the classroom and at home
• Locate objects and places in their homes, school, and community
• Begin to recognize they exist within and belong to various communities, such as their class, school, city, state, and country
• Identify that they attend a Sacred Heart school, which is one of many Sacred Heart schools all over the world
Children are provided myriad physical activity experiences throughout the school day to enhance physical fitness, develop healthy habits, and promote healthy living. Exposure to the full-size gymnasium, sensory exploration room, outdoor green space, yoga classes, and a playground will provide children with ample space to move freely while using a variety of equipment. Physical education and movement activities allow children to increase their concentration, improve focus, strengthen gross and fine motor skills, and reduce disruptive behaviors. Children build effective communication, decision-making abilities, and life skills during these experiences, especially during game play. They learn how to take turns, share, and be a good sport. Combining these skills with healthy eating allows children to grow and express themselves while leading a healthy life.
PRE-KINdergarten and junior kindergarten
• Demonstrate body awareness
• Combine large motor movements
• Move with balance and control in a range of physical activities
• Demonstrate individual responsibility during teamwork activities, such as cooperation and rule-following
• Identify safety practices that promote healthy living and personal care
• Explain the difference between healthy and unhealthy lifestyle choices (e.g. eating, exercise, hand washing) and the effects on the body
Children's experiences include visual arts, music, dance and drama, and are often tied to learning goals in the broader curriculum. Individual and group activities stimulate children's imaginations, encourage their decision-making abilities and provide opportunities for collaboration, negotiation, and problem-solving. Emphasis is placed on the process used to create their work, rather than the final product. Projects are most often inspired by children's own ideas, allowing them to discover, test and explore.
pre-kindergarten and junior kindergarten
• Produce various types of creative work as a form of self-expression
• Communicate thoughts and emotions through the arts
• Demonstrate intentional and creative movement through yoga, dance, drama, music, and the visual arts
• Develop fine motor skills through drawing, cutting, and gluing
Children are welcomed into the community as a child of the Sacred Heart, with all learning experiences emphasizing how each individual is known and loved. They learn to honor the faiths of all of our students and explore holy days of major faith traditions. Religious learning is embedded throughout the curriculum and emphasized in various ways throughout the school day. Children develop a foundation for personal faith and a relationship with God. They learn to recognize God’s love for them and show that love in how they treat others. While learning about the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart, children develop a strong values system rooted in a love for God, others, and themselves. Classes participate in daily prayer and learn about Sacred Heart saints and traditions throughout the school year.
pre-kindergarten and junior kindergarten
• Recognize all people as God’s children who may have similar or different religious beliefs
• Identify the five Sacred Heart Goals (Love God, Love to Learn, Help Those Who Need Us, Be a Friend to all, Make Wise Choices) and ways to enact these in daily life
• Recognize and recall the stories of select Sacred Heart saints
• Describe what it means to be a child of the Sacred Heart
• Recognize and share gifts with others through service
• Demonstrate appreciation and respect for the beauty of God’s creations
• Recognize that Christians believe in one God, but can think about God in different ways: Father, Son, Holy Spirit
• Engage in various forms of prayer and reflection
• Identify religious symbols
The Spanish curriculum provides a nurturing environment where children can feel comfortable and confident as they begin to absorb the sounds, structures, and vocabulary of a second language. Emphasis is placed on hands-on activities that incorporate songs, movement, conversation, and play. In laying a solid foundation for their future Spanish-learning, children also build their listening, memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills as well as nurture their awareness and appreciation of Spanish culture and traditions.