St. John’s provides a rich, meaningful, well-rounded education to each student in grades K-8. Learn more about what we offer and how we teach our students.
At St. John’s School, our classes combine multiple grade levels with a small student-to-teacher ratio that facilitates the positive aspects of both community learning and individual independent learning. Our academics emphasize a strong ELA and math core without sacrificing the other important subjects that round out a broad, quality educational experience.
Our goal for our youngest students is to teach them to become proficient readers, and transition them from "learning to read" to "reading to learn". For our youngest students, we rely on time-tested phonics instruction supplemented with a variety of engaging, experiential activities to solidify their learning. As our students progress, through the lower grades, they are able to read independently, and often above grade level. Click here for a list of books that are read independently in our 2nd/3rd grade class.
We model writing in the youngest grades by narration, dictation, and reading aloud from great books. As writing proficiency develops, formal writing instruction begins using thematic units from IEW. By the end of first grade, most students can explain the major parts of speech and can write descriptive paragraphs using quality adjectives.
In 4th/5th grade, the literacy focus is helping students acquire the tools of our language to become great writers and effective communicators. Teaching U.S. History serves as the springboard for introducing poetry, art, and historical fiction from this era.
In 6th-8th grade, students move on to studying world history and current events. By this point, most students are ready to write multi-page research papers with the guidance of the teacher, which is a skill that will serve them throughout the rest of their academic career.
In our K-1 classroom, students are introduced to math using the Bridges curriculum, which provides many hands-on activities to solidify math concepts. As students transition to 2nd grade, math instruction using the Saxon curriculum begins. Students are able to work at their own pace under direction and guidance from the teacher, and in this way, they can excel far beyond their grade level. Likewise, for a student who struggles with math, they can receive the one-on-one help they need without feeling pressure to hurry and finish because the class is moving on. Our goal is to have our 8th grade students spend their year studying algebra, so when they leave St. John’s they will be ready to take honors-level high school math.
Science instruction uses a unit study approach at the elementary level to introduce students to earth and space, life, and physical science. God is glorified as the wonder of His ordered universe is explored. Students use a hands-on approach to learn experimentation, observation skills, and the scientific method. In a typical year, three unit studies are taught in the different science disciplines. The Science and Technology for Children (STC) Kits are used throughout the grade levels as well as other supplementary units. This year the 3/4 students studied Astronomy, STC Motion and Design (a physics and engineering unit) and will study Earth Science using the STC kit Land and Water. K-2 students studied/will study weather, space and Soils (STC-earth and life science). Middle School students use A Beka Science and Apologia General Science curricula.
Students also begin an introduction to robotics and programming using Spheros. Starting in 3rd grade, each student uses their own ipad to program these small robots. Students are first taught how to program simple directions for their Sphero, such as how to change colors or move in a square. As their knowledge builds, they soon begin multi-step directions to have their Sphero to navigate obstacle courses, make jumps on ramps, and even swim underwater!
Mrs. Read, our art teacher, believes the goal of art education is summarized in the following paragraph, written by Denise Logan from Dynamic Art Projects for Children:
"The language of art consists of line, shape, color, texture, pattern, and form. These work together like words to create visual sentences. The brainpower to combine thoughts, feelings and information into a visual sentence is an important communication skill. Even though the solutions are limitless, it is not disorganized thinking; rather it is developing the ability to organize and redefine elements into an aesthetic whole. Refining this creative problem-solving skill benefits all aspects of life."
In the early grades, Mrs. Read introduces very basic art and design concepts, such as line, shape, texture, and pattern. Often, she will read a classic children’s book and then have them draw something related to the story. For example, after reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, the class talked about what parallel lines mean. The children drew parallel lines and combined simple shapes to draw a coconut tree. They then drew letters in different colors marching up their trees. With every project the children are strengthening their hand-eye coordination skills, observational skills, and listening skills.
In the middle grades, students work on a variety of projects using different art techniques and materials, such as colored pencils, markers, chalk pastels, oil pastels and watercolor. One recent project involved watching a short film on an artist named Gustav Klimt and discussing how he was part of the Art Noveau movement, and used texture and shape in a different way. Then, the students worked on a project called "Cozy Quilts" which incorporates some of Gustav Klimt’s pattern and shape ideas.
In the upper grades, students refine their usage of art techniques using a variety of materials. For example, students work on their drawing skills by using chalk pastels to add color and shadow to a sea treasures project, and to create simple landscapes. They use watercolor to paint fall leaves, sky and backgrounds. One recent project involved a mixed media ocean collage scene combining cut paper and tissue, watercolor, tempera paint and colored pencils. Currently, the students are working with oil pastels, trying different techniques to create different visual effects. One of the more stunning projects the older students do is to create blazing banyan trees and use oil pastels to color in the negative space in their drawings.