Religion: The Religion Program follows the Archdiocese of New York’s Guidelines for Catechesis. Kindergarten Iona focuses on teaching the whole child in a student centered program, which starts in our earliest grades. Our Kindergarten students celebrate holy days and the seasons of the Church, and the focus is on the love that God has for each of us and the many gifts that He gives us. Grades 1-2 The first grade religion program continues the theme of God the creator and his great gift to us, Jesus. Second grade comes to know Jesus the Savior, better and prepares for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. Grades 3-5 In third grade, students come to know the Church better as a Christian community. The fourth grade studies God’s laws and works on formation of a healthy conscience. Students in the fifth grade focus on the sacraments and how, through them, we experience more fully God’s love. Students in grades three through five take the Archdiocesan Religion Exam in June. Grades 6-8 The sixth grade Religion program is a concentration on the Old Testament. The students learn about God’s plan to save all people beginning with Genesis. This theme is brought to fulfillment in the seventh grade study of Christ. The eighth grade course is a dual study of Church history and Catholic morality. Grade seven participates in the Archdiocesan Religion exam in June
Language Arts: The English language arts program in grades K-5 follows the Writer’s Workshop model of instruction with some variation based on teacher preference and student needs. This model is supplemented with additional skill work as noted below. Grades 6-8 have two levels of instruction, core and honors. Students are placed in honors based on classwork in grade 5 and Iowa Assessment scores. Kindergarten In Kindergarten students focus on phonemic awareness skills and letter/sound relationships. Sight words are introduced along with a weekly spelling program. Writing and reading skills are introduced to those students who show an early aptitude. Grades 1-2 Increasing the sight-word vocabulary, continued development of phonics and writing skills are the focus of first grade. In the second grade students further develop grammar skills as well as their phonics, vocabulary and spelling.
Through first and second grades the students are also developing confidence in their writing ability. Manuscript writing is also taught in first and second grade. Grades 3-5 Students continue to learn phonics, vocabulary and spelling patterns. Students advance from writing paragraphs and short essays to writing for many varied purposes. Writing mechanics are further refined. Continued emphasis is given to fundamental grammar rules. Further work is done on the writing process and developing the elements of writing. Cursive writing is taught in grades three through five. Grades 6-8 The program develops and refines the skills taught in grades 3 through 5. All three grade levels stress the fundamentals of basic grammar. Different types of writing, the writing process and creative writing are all practiced extensively. Students also continue to work on their oral communication and presentation skills.
Reading: The reading program in grades K-5 follows the Readerâ€™s Workshop model of instruction with some variation based on teacher preference and student needs. Grades 6-8 have two levels of instruction, core and honors. Students are placed in honors based on classwork in grade 5 and Iowa Assessment scores. Kindergarten Students in Kindergarten begin to practice the skills necessary to become active readers. Auditory discrimination skills, along with daily read-alouds help students prepare to become lifelong readers. Students also sharpen phonemic awareness skills and begin to recognize the conventions of print through shared reading and reading leveled readers. Entering Kindergarten Reading is encouraged but not required. All students will need to show some level of reading skill before being able to continue to first grade. Grades 1-2 High-frequency words, along with decoding skills, are continued in the first grade utilizing leveled readers and daily read-alouds. In the second grade, a concentration on vocabulary and reading strategies help students continue improve comprehension skills. Context clue use and word analysis are developed in both grades. Grades 3-5 In third and fourth grade studentsâ€™ vocabulary is enriched and students are challenged with meaningful reading projects. The reading skills established in the early grades are extensively practiced and developed. Students are presented with a wide array of reading material and encouraged to explore topics and authors they are interested in. Grades 6-8 The reading program for both core and honors is literature based, incorporating both classic and contemporary works. Students discuss and write about themes and characters in literature and interpret the assigned novels. Critical reading analysis, comprehension and vocabulary are reinforced and expanded.
Mathematics: Kindergarten Mathematics in Kindergarten is presented in a multi-sensory approach. Students are introduced to basic math vocabulary and concepts through hands-on activities that help improve a student’s number sense. Basics of geometry and graphing are developed and word problems are introduced. Grades 1-2 First and second grade students continue to expand the elementary math topics of addition, subtraction, graphing, measurement, time, money, estimation, geometry, fractions, fact families, and problem solving. The basics of multiplication and division are introduced. Working with math manipulatives helps the young learner see concrete examples in problem solving. Grades 3-5 Students in grades three through five continue to expand and refine the elementary math topics practiced in previous years. Problem solving strategies are taught to help students solve word problems. The curriculum includes fractions, mixed numbers, decimals, ratio, percent, and probability. Developing and communicating explanations of the process of solving problems is emphasized. Grades 6-8 The math courses for these grade levels are broken into core and honors classes. The sixth grade reviews the previous year’s skills and expands to graphing; calculating mean, median, mode; decimals; adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions; estimation; geometry of polygons; integers; ratios; proportions. In seventh grade, students build on the previous year’s curriculum by continuing with proportions; ratios; probability and patterns of geometry; integers and real numbers. Eighth grade math stresses algebraic reasoning, statistics, probability, geometry and measurement. Students enrolled in the advanced eighth grade math class complete Algebra I.
Social Studies: The science program utilizes Integrated SS curriculum from PNWBOCES for all grades. Units of study in each grade level are correlated to the New York State learning standards for Social Studies and English Language Arts. Kindergarten In Kindergarten, “Me and My Family” is the central social studies theme. Students also learn about important people in history and celebrate the holidays using picture books, stories and activities. The students also explore holidays celebrated in the United States as well as other countries. Grades 1-2 In the first grade, students’ concept of the family and its place in the world they live in is developed. Types of communities and living in a community are the theme in second grade. Map and globe skills are taught.
Grades 3-5 World Communities is the theme in third grade. Map and globe skills are continued along with a study of the oceans, continents and landforms. In fourth grade, students focus on the study of New York State, its geography and inhabitants from pre-civilization until today. The theme for fifth grade is the land and people of the Western Hemisphere. Students present research and mapping projects. Grades 6-8 The sixth grade social studies curriculum concentrates on Ancient Civilizations. The seventh grade theme is Early America (1550-1850), which includes the early Native Americans, the American Revolution and the trials and tribulations of a young country. The eighth grade continues the study of American history (1850-1960). Emphasis is placed on the Civil War, Manifest Destiny and America’s development as a world leader.
Science: The science program utilizes the Science 21 curriculum from PNWBOCES for grades K-6. Units of study in each grade level are linked to the New York State learning standards for mathematics, science and technology. Kindergarten The seasons of the year develop the science theme for grade K. Changes in the seasons and the weather allow for many outdoor and hands-on activities. Kindergarten follows the “Science 21” program theme of “Exploring Our World”. This inquiry based program-provides hands-on activities for students to explore their senses to learn more about themselves and the world. Grades 1-2 The first grade and the second grade benefit from the “Science 21” program which encourages self-directed learning through hands-on student centered activities. First grade students follow the yearlong theme of “Order in Our World”. Skills of investigating, organizing, and identifying are emphasized. Second grade students follow the theme “Measuring Changes in Our World”, which includes measuring changes in energy, living things, and changes in the environment. Grades 3-6 In third grade, students investigate the “Cycles in the Natural World”. The cycles of plants, electricity, water, and animals are explored. The fourth grade focuses on “Organization in the Natural World”. Units include the organization of the scientist, organization of the earth, simple machines, and the digestive system. The fifth grade theme is “Interactions in the Natural World.” Topics in the fifth grade include cells, controlled studies, the respiratory, circulatory, and muscular systems, genetics, and the transfer of energy. The sixth grade science program also uses the “Science 21” program. Students learn by asking questions and discovering answers for themselves by following the scientific method. Students make discoveries while exploring earth science and energy topics. Grades 7-8 The seventh grade course explores human biology and ecology. Students in the eighth grade study earth science and basic astronomy. Students in both the seventh and eighth grade have hands-on experiences in weekly labs and supplement the curriculum with an annual science fair.
Spanish: The Spanish program at Iona Preparatory Lower School mirrors a FLEX (Foreign Language Exploratory Program). Flex programs aim to give students a foundation in the foreign language of choice. Our program also offers cultural information that helps students develop an appreciation of the Spanish culture and customs. Spanish is offered to students in grades K through eight. Students in grades K through 5 attend two Spanish classes a week and grade 6 through 8 receive three instructional periods. Students who complete grades 7 and 8 and pass the 8th grade final exam are placed in Spanish 2 at the Upper School.
Physical Education: All students at Iona participate in Physical Education class twice a week. The main focus for students in grades Kindergarten through two is the development of gross motor skills. The activities also promote the ability to follow directions, work as a team and show good sportsmanship. Students in grades three through eight are introduced to various sports and athletic activities. General health and diet concerns are also addressed. The program is designed to develop a sense of self-worth, self-discipline, and fair play in a safe environment.
Art: Art class is held twice weekly for grades K-4 and once a week for grades five through eight. As students progress through the program they are introduced to different art mediums and methods for creating art. The program also seeks to develop the studentsâ€™ expressiveness and artistic interests. The objective for students in Kindergarten and grade one is to introduce basic art elements. Examples include: the color wheel, paints, crayons, lines, texture, and shape elements. Students in grades two through four expand on these basic elements and are introduced to various works by many artists. When the children reach grades five through eight the program is developed to provide each student with the opportunity to expand creatively on his experiences. Each year student artwork is showcased in an art show. The Art room is supported by the generosity of the Joseph P. Corpina Foundation.
Technology: Currently the Lower School has one main computer lab equipped with 24 internet accessible, networked, chromebooks for student use. Every classroom has internet accessible computers and is outfitted with interactive whiteboard technology. Several rooms also have document cameras as well. Our â€œSafe and Acceptable Use Policyâ€? on the Internet is taught and reinforced. A weekly period is scheduled for each class in every grade level to use the computer lab under the supervision of the computer teacher. Students in Kindergarten through grade four are instructed in hardware maintenance, and use various software that reinforce skills taught in the classroom. Students in grade five through eight are instructed on how to use Microsoft Office Products. Keyboarding skills are taught at every grade level. Iona encourages the use of technology in all classes, regardless of subject and seeks to develop and reinforce technology skills in all classes. The school also has Chromebooks available for all grades in class use during the day. Students are given class tasks and activities to complete using the Chromebooks. In grades 4-8 classes also utilize Google classroom and other online resources to support and supplement regular classroom instruction.
Music: Music meets twice a week for grades K-5. Grades K- 3 are a choral based program. Grades 4 and 5 introduces instrumentation by performing as a bell choir. A Christmas Pageant and Spring Concert showcase the studentsâ€™ progress in music. Students in all grade levels are introduced to music theory, history and appreciation.
Library: The library is available for all students to use when supervised by a faculty member; however students in grade Kindergarten through five have a formal library class once a week. The objectives of the library program are to instill a love for reading and books at all levels; to encourage borrowing of library books; to develop language skills that include interpreting and evaluation of stories for main idea, sequencing, predictions, genre characteristics, and themes; and to coordinate with classroom teachers lessons to expand knowledge of particular curriculum topics and foster a sense of comfort within a library setting.