St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic School bases its curriculum on national, state, and Diocese of Charleston standards. South Carolina Curriculum Standards can be found at https://ed.sc.gov/instruction/standards-learning/. Diocese of Charleston standards can be found at https://charlestondiocese.org/schools/diocesan-curriculum-for-our-catholic-schools/. In addition to a curriculum which includes science, health, social studies, technology, physical education, and the arts, there is an emphasis on the traditional 3 R’s of Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. Children who attend St. Mary’s also benefit from a curriculum that includes an additional 3 R’s: Respect, Reverence, and Responsibility.
Enrichment Courses of Study:
Religion is taught daily to all students. The school day begins with prayer and ends with prayer. Students participate in weekly Masses at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church. Students of all faiths are welcome at St. Mary’s School. All students participate in religion studies and attend Masses and prayer services.
Foreign Language (Kindergarten, Grades 1-8)
German or Spanish is taught two, three, or three times a week, depending on the grade level of the children. At the K-3rd grade levels, Spanish is taught for one semester and German is taught the other. At the 4th through 8th grade level, there is one class of Spanish and one class of German. Beginning in 4th grade, students remain in the language of their choice. In the early grades, children learn through a diversity of oral and practical activities in addition to reading and writing as they progress through the course. The emphasis is on songs, rhymes, stories, games and role plays and on making familiar classroom activities part of the language learning process. Through speaking, listening and being listened to, children sort out their understanding of new experiences and languages. Foreign language instruction in the upper grades focuses on vocabulary in practical daily-life themes, establishing a limited, but useful vocabulary, and familiarity with the native countries’ customs, history, and culture. At higher levels, the study of the foreign language emphasizes communicating with accuracy and stresses meaningful cultural context. Students enrolled in German or Spanish in seventh and eighth grades may earn a credit that the local high schools accept.
Students in the 8th grade will have the opportunity to participate in the National Spanish Exam with SC chapter medal prizes in the first three places: gold(oro), silver(plata), Bronze(bronce) in the spring semester.
Art (Grades 1-8)
Students in grades one through six participate in art classes once a week. Seventh and eighth graders are enrolled in art one quarter of the year. The art curriculum addresses the national visual arts content standards:
- understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
- using knowledge of structures and functions
- choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
- understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
- reflecting upon and assessing the merits of their own and other’s work
- making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Music (Kindergarten, Grades 1-8)
Students in kindergarten through grade six participate in music classes once a week. The curriculum is general music with an emphasis on singing melody, rhythm, note reading, and performing. In the upper grades, skills necessary to read and perform music are expanded and refined. Music history, appreciation, and knowledge about composers is included in the general music curriculum. A youth choir, with members in fourth through eighth grades sings at all school Masses, and occasionally sings at the 8:30 Sunday mass.
Physical Education (Kindergarten, Grades 1-8)
The physical education curriculum begins with participation in activities that involve imagination, coordination, and basic game skills in the primary grades. Elementary students participate in activities and exercises that emphasize teamwork and skills used in a variety of sports and other physical activities. Junior high students work to further develop skills, strategies, and teamwork through various games, activities, and exercises. Elementary students have physical education once a week; junior high students have physical education and health one quarter of the school year.
Computer Literacy (Kindergarten-2nd, 3rd-8th)
The purpose of the computer literacy curriculum is to assist students with the development and mastery of technology skills that they will need for school and life activities. For grades K-2, students will practice grade level appropriate computer literacy skills such as: keyboarding, drag-and-drop/block computer coding, word processing and formatting, safety rules and digital etiquette, using appropriate terminology, troubleshooting hardware problems, creation and formatting of documents. In grades 3-8, students will continue to build their computer literacy skills within their classrooms. Students will continue to: learn how devices function, strengthen their use of the Google suite of applications, practice refining searches for databases and the Internet, identify the risks and rewards of sharing digital information, recognize the importance of one’s digital footprint, and locate credible sources.
Library (Kindergarten, Grades 1-6)
Students in the elementary grades are scheduled for weekly library classes. During the classes, a library or reference skill is taught, a story is read or book introduced, and children have an opportunity to check out library books. Unscheduled visits to the library are encouraged and can be worked out between teachers and the librarian. The librarian also opens the library to junior high students during selected lunch periods as well as before and after school during times when there is a demand. Kindergarten children visit the library weekly for a story and introduction to beginning library skills.
Fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders have the opportunity to participate in golf, tennis, track, cross country, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. Tryouts are held for basketball, soccer, and volleyball. SMS plays in a highly competitive league.