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)
French or Spanish is taught two, three, or four times a week, depending on the grade level of the children. At each grade level, there is one class of Spanish and one class of French. Students may change languages from year to year, though it is required that from sixth grade on, students remain in the same language. In the early grades, foreign language instruction includes vocabulary and knowledge about the countries in which the language is the native tongue. 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. Students enrolled in French or Spanish in seventh and eighth grades may earn a credit that the local high schools accept.
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, Grades 1-8)
The purpose of the computer literacy curriculum is to assist students with development and mastery of technology skills that they will need for school and life activities. Included in the curriculum are keyboarding, word processing (Word), visual presentation slides (PowerPoint), spreadsheet applications (Excel), internet safety, searching and researching, desktop publishing, and web page development. Eighth graders may receive high school credit for computer applications. This is determined by the students’ high school counselors and/or administrators.
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.