As much as students need their core courses, Specialist classes are just as important in academic and social emotional growth. In addition to empowering practical skills, Specials can help students find hidden talents or passions. Electives offer options that allow students to seek out interests, give time with their peers in a different setting and reinforce the teaching in core subjects. Our Specials, PE, Spanish, STEM, Music, Technology, Art and Drama, assist students in developing the skills of creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration as well as the ability to persevere, iterate, ask for help, and see themselves as capable learners.
Our Physical Education program engages all students in age appropriate activities that promote exercise and skills that allow for a healthy body and an active lifestyle. Students participate in physical education twice a week for a total of 60-90 minutes. Kindness, good sportsmanship and respect are integral parts in developing and improving physical skills, fitness and knowledge through organized sports, games and play.
A new language fuels curiosity and enthusiasm among children. For this reason, the Spanish program starts in PreKindergarten with growing proficiency through Grade 6. Students learn to read, write, and speak Spanish through fun activities, music, reading and projects. Our goal is to help students develop their skills as future Spanish speakers by creating a trusting and engaging environment where children build their competence in Spanish while learning and gaining an appreciation for a new culture.
Music positively impacts a child’s academic performance, assists in developing social skills, and provides an outlet for creativity that is crucial to development. All students, PreSchool to Grade 6, have weekly music class where they sing, play instruments, and learn about various music history and theory topics. In addition to the classes offered weekly, students in Grade 3 through Grade 6 can join choir and students in Grade 4 through Grade 6 can join band. Students learn to read and interpret music, gaining the knowledge of musical patterns and rhythms. Music helps our students grow confidence, build essential skills and prepare for bright futures.
In Drama students explore the world of Theatre through the Actor’s Toolbox: the body, the voice, imagination, concentration, and cooperation. Students use acting, improvisation, and storytelling activities to not only become more comfortable with performance, but to strengthen team-building and problem-solving skills. As the year progresses, students take on more roles within a theatre company, becoming playwrights, directors, and designers themselves. The year culminates in a class play performed for the entire school community.
Art has always been an important part of everyday life. It is a way to process emotions, demonstrate understanding of the world around us and an outlet to express ourselves. During Art Class, students are introduced to the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, Art History and Cultures around the world. Throughout the year we explore a variety of techniques and mediums creating both 2D and 3D artwork, collectively gathering inspiration from famous artists of the past, literature, contemporary artists and their very own peers right here at SJS. Students are given freedom to experiment and create their own artwork through drawing, painting, printmaking, collage making and creating sculpture.
Technology is all around us. The effective use of digital learning tools in classrooms can increase student engagement and facilitate personalized learning. Starting in Kindergarten, students in Technology start to build essential 21st-century skills. Technology provides our students with easy-to-access information, accelerated learning, and fun opportunities to practice what they learn. It enables students to explore new subjects and deepen their understanding of difficult concepts. By the end of the year students can log in, navigate a website, access programs, type efficiently, and use technology to learn.