Lower School Curriculum
Middle School Curriculum
About Middle School
As students make the transition to middle school, the foundation established in the lower school assures preparation for the challenges ahead. In addition to traditional courses, character education takes on a new importance in early adolescence. Instead of merely memorizing lists of desired character traits, the Good Shepherd approach is to teach, discuss, and model character throughout the day and in every subject and in every activity. Upon completion of the middle school curriculum, the students have developed academically, physically, socially, and spiritually in such a way that they will be prepared to transfer to their next schools.
Theology sessions generally involve the reading of a story or scripture passage followed by a discussion, and ending with sacred music. The discussions are based on three questions: what we learn about God from the story, what we learn about humans from the story, and what the significance and implications are of the story.
Content and discussion topics change from the lower grades to the middle grades but most students are eager to talk of God and, as they get older, become more ready to ask questions of faith and conflict as they see it in their world. Theological reflection helps students to make real some of the attributes of God, like love, care, truth and such that can be found in themselves and in each other.
The arts at Good Shepherd Episcopal School are an important part of our education in mind, body, and spirit. Participation in the arts enhances a student’s ability to learn, encourages creativity, builds self-esteem, and increases a student’s appreciation for the beauty which surrounds us.
Each student is given the opportunity to participate in both music and visual art. Music is offered three days a week, and visual art is offered once a week. Additional opportunities include singing as an entire school every Friday morning and playing in the string orchestra which meets twice a week. Individual lessons for strings and piano are also offered.
In music, kindergarten and first grade students begin learning about melody, rhythm, expression, and simple notation. Students move, sing, play rhythm instruments, and create sound stories. Students play Musical Mind Games.
Second and third graders continue building on their musical knowledge and skills. In the second trimester, students begin the study of a string instrument of their choice. Music Mind Games continue. Simple part-singing is introduced and music appreciation projects are added.
Fourth and fifth graders, students continue with string instruction as well as general music and music appreciation activities. They learn beginning ensemble techniques and the more advanced students play in the string ensemble. Part singing becomes more advanced. String students have the opportunity to combine instrumental music with singing.
Middle school students continue to advance in their string instruction. Music appreciation projects are added to their studies and students sing in three and four part harmony.
All students participate in our Christmas Pageant. We frequently participate as a school in performances at a local nursing home. The string ensemble plays annually for the lighting of our local downtown Christmas tree and a variety of other community events. We have a very active community outreach through our music program.
Visual art stimulates imagination, creativity, and perception. It changes how one perceives things around us, encourages creative problem solving, and gives one a more complete environmental perspective.
Students in kindergarten through third grade learn the beginning concepts of art by experiencing many different media such as chalk, water color pastels, etc. This is frequently referred to as “Playing with Media.”
The older students continue to build on their skills learned in the earlier grades. Drawing is emphasized. Instruction is given to slow down the eye, improve eye-hand coordination, improve perception, and paying attention to detail. Students use mixed media with their drawings.
Students showcase their work by displaying it in the school hallway and in an art show at the end of the school year.
The school is committed to offering either a classical or modern world language each year. All students currently take Spanish three days each week. The younger students learn the basics: days of week, colors, numbers, etc. Other conversational terms and expressions are added in subsequent years. Simple sentences and conversational skills are developed in the middle school years.
All students take physical education two days each week. (In addition to this class, students stretch and run before school three mornings each week, and recess is provided most days, especially on non-physical education days.) Younger students develop motor skills and coordination. All students learn about rule-following and teamwork, with game skills developing through the years.
Computers & Technology
Due to limited staff sizes, the school has elected to engage the services of an educational technology consultant to lead faculty technology integration sessions and to provide guidance on information and educational technology resources.