Students in grades one through four are taught in self-contained classrooms.
They are heterogeneously grouped. There is an emphasis on project-based learning and activities that require critical thinking and
creativity. SMARTBoard Technology applications are integrated into the curriculum. In the early grades students are encouraged to become responsible and independent learners. The curriculum includes language arts, mathematics,social studies, science, and religion. Conversational Spanish is taught twice each week by a Spanish teacher.
The literacy curriculum includes skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Early instruction includes phonics, word recognition, and comprehension strategies. Students in all grades are exposed to a variety of literary genre and as soon as they begin to read are exposed to many different kinds of literature. Independent reading is encouraged as a life-long activity. The writing curriculum provides various activities for developing the writing process. It includes skills in grammar, mechanics, handwriting, and spelling. Students learn how to draft, revise, edit, and publish their work. In addition, there are writing assignments in all academic subjects. Students have many opportunities to present their ideas orally in order to develop their presentation skills.
In addition, students in grades one through three participate in GRAB (Go Read A Book) program each week. The program requires students to read for 15 minutes each night. Those 15 minutes are not reflected in the average time guide for homework. A GRAB sheet is completed by the student, signed by a parent, and handed in once a week.
The classes are divided in half for mathematics instruction for one period every day. The classroom teacher works with one group, while a part-time mathematics teacher works with the other. The curriculum contains instruction in the various mathematics strands and emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving. The teacher uses many strategies requiring the use of manipulatives and other hands-on materials.
The social studies curriculum for the first grade focuses on the study of the community at work. The second grade focus is on people and places in our local community as well as communities in our country long ago. In the third grade, the social studies curriculum is focused on our country’s communities. The fourth grade focus of study is New Jersey and includes the study of the geography of the state and its regions. Much of the work in social studies is project-based, and many units are enhanced with field trips to area sites that enhance the study of history.
The science curriculum employs many hands-on and lab experiences to develop concepts. The science curriculum includes strands in life science, earth science, and physical science.
The religion curriculum is a developmental program based on Holy Scripture and rooted in the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It includes strands on Church, Sacraments, the Trinity, and Morality and is thematically based. Classes taught by a priest are an integral part of the religion program.
Students are instructed by special subject teachers in library skills, computer applications, vocal music, art, and physical education. In addition, third graders may take recorder lessons and fourth graders may study instrumental music and participate in the band. There is a choir for grades two through four.
St. Joseph School follows the curriculum guidelines outlined by the Diocese of Paterson and based on the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. Technology applications are integrated throughout the curriculum. Technology instruction is provided in the computer lab and followed through in the classrooms, all of which have Internet access and SMART Board technology.