Curriculum


Pre-Kindergarten for Three and Four year olds

At Saint Teresa of Avila, the curriculum includes goals for motor, social, emotional, language/cognitive, general-knowledge and skills development. It is in Pre-Kindergarten that teachers prepare children for more formal instruction, which will come in the years ahead. The curriculum provides guidance and experiences to support children’s developing sense of community. Large group activities as well as use of small-group and one-on-one time are all incorporated into our instruction. Each month a Home-School Connection activity is sent home. Children complete the activity with their parents and return it to school to be displayed for the entire school to see. Our Pre-Kindergarten programs use hands-on learning to develop the entire child, mind, body and spirit.

Religion

Religion is an integral part of the Catholic Pre-Kindergarten Program. During the early childhood years, children develop good decision-making skills and form good habits. The children begin to memorize simple prayers and learn about God’s love for them through Bible stories and symbols of our faith. Prayer is an on-going refrain throughout the day. It is part of Circle Time and it precedes snack time. Students attending school five days a week will also participate in weekly school Mass.

Language Arts

Phonological awareness is one of the most important aspects of our early childhood program. It refers to all the language areas, from basic awareness of speech sounds and rhythm, to rhyming and sound similarities, to an awareness of syllables and phonemes. These skills are emergent during the preschool years and should be developed through interacting with others. Group times focus primarily on language development. The children are taught the months of the year, days of the week, weather, and patriotic songs. The four-year-old programs include The Letter People and Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. A Letter Person is introduced weekly and themes for that week focus on that letter. Children are assigned at least one Letter Person throughout the school year. They take the Letter Person home with them for the weekend and return it on Monday along with a scrapbook that chronicles their activities that weekend.

The children learn to write their names and explore the written language. Stories are read to the children daily. The four-year-old full day program will visit the library once a week and have the opportunity to check out a book.

Math

Mathematics at the Pre-Kindergarten level involves acquiring knowledge, which comes from the understanding of colors, shapes, and quantification concepts such as size and shape differences, basic counting skills, and classifying and ordering of objects. These concepts are learned through hands on activities with manipulatives, puzzles, memory, matching and play experiences. The student’s choices during playtime help them gain understanding of position words and ordinal numbers. We spend time on fine motor skills through, cutting, lacing, painting and tearing.

Science

Children starting Pre-Kindergarten bring a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world. Children develop an understanding of science when they investigate and interact with real objects. They come to know that objects have particular size, color, weight and texture. Themes and activities often include: nature walks on the school campus, a field trip to Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm, art projects, nutrition, animals and plant life.

Social Studies

Social development is a key factor in Pre-Kindergarten. The classrooms at Saint Teresa of Avila are safe, caring community with an orderly routine, and each child is valued as an individual. Dramatic play is essential for children to learn how to problem solve and interact with each other in a creative manner. When children play pretend games or build with blocks, and work together in small groups, they learn to accept differences and deal with their emotions. Students also learn the Pledge of Allegiance and sing a variety of patriotic songs during circle time.

Programs Available

Pre-Kindergarten 3 year olds:

  • Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 8:30-11:00
  • Children must be 3 by September 1st
  • Children must be toilet trained to attend class
  • Maximum class size is 12 children with 1 teacher and 1 aide

Pre-Kindergarten 4 year olds:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, 8:30-11:00
  • Children must be 4 by September 1st
  • Children must be toilet trained to attend class
  • Maximum class size is 20 children with 1 teacher and 1 aide

Pre-Kindergarten 4 year olds:

  • Monday-Friday mornings, 8:15-11:30
  • Children must be 4 by September 1st
  • Children must be toilet trained to attend class
  • Maximum class size is 20 children with 1 teacher and 1 aide
  • Morning care available starting at 7:00 am

Pre-Kindergarten 4 year olds:

  • Monday-Friday, 8:15-2:45
  • Children must be 4 by October 1st
  • Children must be toilet trained to attend class
  • Maximum class size is 20 children with 1 teacher and 1 aide
  • Morning care available starting at 7:00 am
  • After school care available until 6:00 pm

Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third Grades

In the Primary Grades, we balance developmental growth with academic achievement.  Our core curriculum, established by the Diocese of Pittsburgh and aligned with the Pennsylvania State Standards, addresses the whole child: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically. This provides the basis for abstract, higher-level thinking in the years to come.  During these years, we see our students develop a growing sense of personal accomplishment and self-assurance, as they become confident learners and role models for others.

We provide a foundation in the Catholic faith as we integrate Christian values throughout our school day. Children attend and participate in Mass weekly starting in Kindergarten. In addition, students in all grade levels participate in daily classroom prayer and grade-specific prayer services.  With Christ as our model, children participate in community service. Students are introduced to the traditions of our Catholic faith such as Advent, Lent, Stations of the Cross and the Liturgical Seasons.  Students prepare for and receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion in Second grade.

Academic curriculum is based on differentiated instruction meeting the needs of individual learners. The subjects include English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies. This curriculum provides a well-rounded experience for our primary children. Committed to the highest standards of academic excellence, we enrich our students with the knowledge and skills essential for life-long learning.

Academic core subjects are enriched by the following: physical education, computer, music, library, Spanish and fine arts. Unique to Saint Teresa’s is the STAR art program (Saint Teresa’s Art Review).  We also incorporate technology in several forms to enrich the learning experience in meaningful ways.

Extra-curricular activities include Pep Squad for Kindergarten through third grade, and the Little Titans Basketball program for first through third grades.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grades

The Intermediate grades offer a strong traditional curriculum for these industrious learners.  In the “Continuous Growth Program” of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, students advance through a defined curriculum according to their individual needs and abilities – while fostering their natural curiosity to learn.

Religion education processes through learning more involved prayers and church history.  Students have an opening prayer service each morning – with simple prayers before and after lunch, at the beginning of each class period, and at the end of the day.  

In the intermediate grades, the students in fourth grade are in a self-contained classroom – except for changing for special classes.  In fifth and sixth grades, the classes are departmentalized. In all cases, we follow the Diocesan curriculum guidelines, include inquiry based interactive learning, and a “hands on” approach. Our school offers reading or literature (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies for all levels and computer literacy.  In addition, our students have the use of two dedicated science labs.  

To enhance our core curriculum, students become more comfortable with weekly classes in Spanish, computers, physical education, library, gym, health, art, and music.

Extra-curricular activities are offered to enrich our students’ growth. For our fourth grade, there is Diocesan spelling bee, chorus, and band.  Fifth and sixth graders may participate in Student Council, robotics, forensics, math challenge, Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science, and two spelling bees.  Finally, our students are able to be involved in various sports activities – including football, basketball, volleyball, and cross country.

Seventh and Eighth Grades

Our Middle School is comprehensive and challenging:  it focuses on preparing our students to excel at the best high schools in Pittsburgh.  Our faculty works to encourage, empower, and challenge emerging adolescents.  We introduce our students to new fields of study consistent with the rigorous academic standards set by the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the State of Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Catechetics continues to be the heart of our Catholic school.  We make every effort to create a Christ-centered atmosphere by stressing Christian values.  A formal catechetical program is taught daily.  Students prepare for and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in Eighth grade.  

We prepare our students to think and act critically, creatively, and collaboratively.  In English Language Arts (ELA), students gain an appreciation of literature with skillful authors who vicariously open new worlds of adventure of far off places, times long past, and modern trends of good reading.  Having developed a love for good literature, this aesthetic element overflows into our student’s personal, oral, and written statements.  In mathematics, teachers promote problem-solving skills, encourage an exploratory inquisitiveness, and cultivate critical thinking skills and logical reasoning.  Students successfully completing our algebra program are typically placed in advanced algebra and geometry classes as freshmen.  In science, students enjoy hands-on inquiry based interactive learning in our recently updated lab. Our science curriculum is aligned with the National Science Standards together with the STEAM Standards.  Social studies concentrates on the study of American history from its earliest settlers to modern times. Values such as social justice, peace, and cooperation between states are integrated in the program.  

For the middle school students, academics are balanced by an array of opportunities:  Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science, band, choir, forensics, newspaper, and student government.  Students continue to participate in football, basketball, volleyball, cross country, soccer, and cheerleading.  Through these extra-curricular activities, students explore their interests, develop new talents, and gain confidence in their growing independence.