Our school’s curriculum and philosophy of education are based on the work of several key mentors, especially the 19th century British educator, Charlotte Mason. Ms. Mason’s philosophy and methods are based on her biblical worldview of children, families, God and school. In the urban, diverse context of St. Louis, we believe that Ms. Mason’s philosophy skillfully and effectively addresses the needs of this area.
At SCCS we believe that all truth is God’s truth, and that the foundation for our quest for truth is the Bible. By reading and discussing the Scriptures, we are giving students a framework within which they can learn. We use the Big Picture Story Bible (Helm) for PreK-3, Jesus Storybook Bible (Lloyd-Jones) for PreK-4 and Kindergarten, The Child’s Story Bible (Vos) for 1st through 3rd grade, and the English Standard Version of the Bible for 4th grade and older.
By exposing our students to excellent music, we are not only giving them an ear for rhythm, melody and harmony but we are also teaching them to understand and appreciate great music. The enjoyment of music is an ability that can be enjoyed throughout one’s entire life.
Students in every grade at SCCS participate in at least weekly French lessons beginning with songs and conversation.
Being able to express oneself in writing is an important developmental milestone and life skill. At SCCS, we use a multisensory curriculum, Handwriting Without Tears, to develop this fine motor skill in PreK through 4th grade, and then utilize the Presidential Penmanship curriculum in 5th grade and older. Print is taught in PreK through 2nd grade, and Cursive is taught in 3rd grade and older.
One of the joys of life is to be able to create something beautiful with our hands. As they are creating, students will learn about color, pattern, texture and design as well as experience the satisfaction of working diligently and carefully on a project and seeing it through to its completion.
Language Arts and Reading Instruction
Living books, books that “…are more than just interesting [… they are] books that make a topic come alive”(2) are the foundation for our curriculum. Students will also receive instruction in phonics, spelling and writing. In almost every subject, the students will be taught the skill of narration that is, telling back what they have heard, to strengthen their memory and help them become focused listeners and critical thinkers. ~ see our SCCS Language Arts Overview for more information ~
“Math needs to be taught so 95% is understood and only 5% memorized”(1). At SCCS we use Right Start Mathematics in Kindergarten through 4th grade. Right Start is a multisensory curriculum that seeks not only to help students learn and understand math, but to enjoy it as well. By minimizing the use of flashcards and worksheets, and emphasizing the use of manipulatives and math games, the curriculum gives students the instruction and practice they need to achieve competency and become flexible problem solvers without becoming frustrated and bored by math in the process. In 5th grade we transition to Singapore Math, which dovetails nicely with the Right Start K-4th curriculum (both are based on similar Asian approaches to mathematics instruction), while providing for a greater emphasis on word problems in these older elementary years. ~ see our Right Start Math handout and Singapore Math handout for more information ~
Nature Study, Creation Care, Science
One of the distinctives of a Charlotte Mason education is the regular study of nature. Students are given many opportunities to explore and interact with the natural environment. Through nature study, keeping a nature journal, and taking regular nature hikes, students develop their observation skills and their appreciation of the beauty and intricacy of the world around them. The skills and principles developed in Nature Study extend into Science, as students learn about the principles that govern the natural world. Students also learn about the importance of caring for Creation through the study of conservationists, recycling, composting, and weekly time caring for our school garden during the growing seasons.
An excellent piece of art can captivate our senses and emotions, so we expose our students to the lives of great artists and their work. By learning to carefully observe and attend to a great work of art, the students learn to understand and appreciate masterpieces of both the past and present.
Social Studies: History and Geography
As the students read, hear, narrate and interact with living books, the opportunities to ask and answer questions of whom, when and where will naturally arise. By integrating the study of history and geography with literature, the students are able to see the connections between facts and ideas, and will develop a broader, deeper understanding of their world.