Curriculum may be defined as "all the guided experiences of the child under the direction of the school." It includes the content of courses of study and also embraces the development of the whole child that is within the scope of the school. In keeping with our school philosophy and objectives, we enable the students of Notre Dame Academy to grow in knowledge and love of God, and of themselves. Religious education is experienced throughout the school day. The school has its own unique characteristics - an environment permeated with the Gospel spirit of love and freedom. The faith formation of a student is an ongoing process. Ideas about God and His world are incorporated into daily classroom activities as the opportunities present themselves.
The curriculum is designed with the student's social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and adaptive behaviors in mind. Instruction in academic areas follows both the directives from the California State Frameworks, as well as the Course Objectives from the Diocese of San Diego.
Textbooks used are on the "approved list" for the State of California. Time allotments for each subject area are set by the Diocese of San Diego. Instructional methodologies include a variety of teaching strategies designed for optimum student learning.
At the primary level, emphasis is placed on the child's personal relationship with God. This is accomplished through teacher-led discussions, Bible stories, plays, and shared prayer time.
At the intermediate level, students enhance their personal relationship with God through extensive scripture study, role playing, problem solving sessions, and prayer. Religion at the junior high level involves problem solving, liturgy planning, and community and parish involvement. It includes church history and scripture study.
Note for Catholic Families: Preparation for the sacraments involves joint cooperation between parish and school.
Special preparation for First Holy Communion is given at the second grade level.
Students in Grades 2 - 8 have the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
(English Reading, Spelling, Writing, Oral Communication)
The Notre Dame Academy language arts curriculum is built upon four interrelated strands in language development: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Through a sound, sequential program, students are provided experiences which make reading a pleasurable discovery experience.
The curriculum has been designed to take the students through a logical progression where skills and concepts are introduced, reinforced, and mastered. By the end of Grade 8, students will be able to write an intelligent, mechanically-sound essay and research paper; read and discuss literature with insight and perception; understand the underlying structure of the English language; deliver a formal speech; and effectively participate in a discussion.
The Notre Dame Academy math program blends discovery and discussion, projects, explorations, and investigations into a curriculum that recognizes and augments the children’s capabilities. The curriculum builds on the fundamental mathematical strands of numeration and counting, operations and relations, and problem-solving. It is achieved by integrating mathematics instruction into multiple curricula areas, with emphasis on application in science and social studies, the origins and uses of the language of mathematics, and its close relationship with visual perception.
Through the curriculum, the students gain a familiarity with math vocabulary while solidifying their computation skills.
The program also aims to build self-confidence in mathematical abilities and to teach organizational skills to the students as demonstrated by their work.
Notre Dame Academy provides students with a working knowledge of scientific concepts, experienced based methodologies, such as group discussion, lecture, and hands-on use of manipulatives, lab experiences, field trips, and science fair projects.
The Science curriculum is a comprehensive program that spirals in depth of understanding from Preschool through Grade 8.
The Notre Dame Academy social studies curriculum is a sequential program from kindergarten through Grade 8. The program emphasizes responsible membership in communities, nations, and the world. The curriculum is enriched through the integration of geography, current events, and citizenship training. The entire social studies program is a content intensive, thinking skills based program. A major goal of the social studies program is to develop caring, literate citizens as students grow into their roles of decision-makers in our democracy and in our world.
Computers and Technology
At Notre Dame Academy, computers are used throughout the curriculum at each grade level, both in the classroom and in the computer lab. The program is designed to develop a sound knowledge of computer literacy, program language, data base management, as well as basic computer skills. Students work with a variety of software applications such as computer-assisted instruction, paint and drawing, word processing, and hypermedia. They will learn how to use the Internet for educational purposes. Class projects are coordinated with classroom experiences and subject matter.
Through the use of a sequential art program, students are introduced to the masters of art, media of art, and hands-on art activities. The program emphasizes art as a process for communicating ideas and includes Visual Arts Heritage through major artist. To be most effective, students learn concepts and skills that facilitate individual expression in various arts and music. Skill building is presented through experimentation with a variety of techniques and materials. Learning to observe and listen carefully is the key to successfully communicating an idea through drawing, painting, and music. Concepts and skills are presented in a developmentally appropriate way.
At Notre Dame Academy, students in all grade levels are given tools to develop and strengthen organizational and study skills in order to enable them to succeed to the best of their ability. A sequential library skills program makes them proficient in the use of a library, while, at the same time, teaching them research skills vital to success in secondary education.
French and Spanish will be taught in Pre-School through Grade 8. The goal of the program is to increase the awareness of each child to the importance of learning a foreign language and culture. Cultural, linguistic, and affective strands of learning are incorporated. The children encounter a rich, interactive environment where language acquisition skills are balanced with cultural celebrations and traditions. The program also aims to build self-confidence in verbal skills in a foreign language, and to teach students organizational skills as demonstrated by their work.
The physical education curriculum and athletic programs are designed to meet the interests and abilities of the students at each grade level. The curriculum emphasizes the development of greater physical control and motor efficiency that will be useful in lifelong, everyday activities. Helping children to develop a positive self-image and good sportsmanship is an integral part of the program. Through a wide variety of drills, activities, and team sports, students develop a positive attitude toward
physical activity and are encouraged to integrate this into their everyday lives.