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Elementary School

With the superior social, spiritual and cognitive foundation that students have received in our early childhood program, they are well prepared to enter the primary grade levels at Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School. It is the goal of our primary teachers to teach students the core skills in all subject areas in order to be well equipped for the middle school years.  With a strong emphasis on social and emotional development, classroom teachers work with the ICSJ student support team to help every child reach their full potential.
 
Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School uses innovative educational approaches to further the goal of developing critical thinkers and problem solvers. Great attention has been given to the physical spaces in which our children move and learn. Classrooms are arranged into centers and other cooperative groupings presenting opportunities for students to create and discover. In this physical setting, talented faculty members encourage our children to observe, to experiment, to make choices and to be active. The curriculum uses an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to reinforce and extend skills learned in a particular subject and to make connections among subjects. Learning is further reinforced in the home with projects that incorporate the entire family. It is this continuum of education that creates a unique and family-like school of the highest caliber.


Our Curriculum

In our learning environment, students follow thematic study units that include language arts, science, mathematics, social studies, religion, music, Spanish, physical education and fine arts. From first to fifth grade, two full-time certified Co-Teachers instruct students in core curriculum subjects in self-contained classrooms that nurture a strong sense of self esteem and stimulate academic, emotional, social and spiritual development.  The Co-Teaching model is unique to the general education classroom and is one that is valued at ICSJ.  Co-Teaching is a model for collaboration in the classroom and research has found this strategy to effectively meet a variety of individual learning styles within each classroom. The low student-teacher ratio and the emphasis on a grade level Team approach to teaching ensures students at all grade levels are receiving individual attention and are working towards meeting their academic and personal goals.


Language Arts

The language arts curriculum encompasses reading, creative and expository writing, research, listening, speaking, spelling, phonics, vocabulary development, and handwriting. All students begin each day with journal writing as well as a daily oral language drills. The Writer’s Workshop model and the Daily Five framework allow for authentic differentiation of instruction. Leveled reading books, literature circles and independent reading times are ways in which we support individual needs and help develop a love for reading in all students.


Science

The science curriculum emphasizes the important skills of observation, recording data, and predicting and drawing conclusions. Our hands-on approach incorporates science-related activities and field trips. The science curriculum incorporates the STEM framework at the elementary level and integrates life, physical, earth and space science.  In-class labs and experiments and the use of technology makes the science experience engaging, reflective and collaborative.


Mathematics

The math curriculum allows students to understand the real world application of math concepts by connecting the physical world with the world of numbers through the use of technology, manipulatives and hands-on learning. At the primary level, students explore a number of concepts that include number logic, geometric shapes and concepts, fractions, place value, time and measurement, symmetry, and the ability to read graphs. Students work to further develop critical thinking skills and apply a deeper depth of knowledge through written explanations, creative application and analysis, and thoughtful problem solving.


Social Studies

The social studies curriculum emphasizes the child’s place within the community and the world at large, promoting an appreciation for a multicultural society. Projects are integrated with geography and history units, with an emphasis on regional studies at the elementary levels. Students enhance their learning by taking advantage of visiting the many museums and exhibits that our world class city offers.

Religion

Core Catholic values and scripture teachings are integrated into the daily curriculum and instruction. Students pray in large groups and individually. All students regularly participate in prayer services and liturgies. Service learning, in age appropriate ways, prepares our students to be thoughtful members of a global community and agents of change.  Catholic students also have the opportunity to prepare to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist as a part of their elementary religious education. Our objective is to build faith-filled leaders in a secular world.


Beyond the Core

In order to enhance and integrate our rich curriculum, students meet with specialized teachers throughout the week who allow students to enrich their learning through physical education, music, drama, visual arts, dance, and Spanish.
 
All elementary school students participate in music classes twice per week and are exposed to music theory, instrumental instruction and learn a variety of liturgical, classical and contemporary music. Engagement through song and movement are elements of every class, and two annual music programs highlight the year.  


Elementary students enjoy physical education classes twice per week at ICSJ. The physical education curriculum strives to develop lifelong positive attitudes and habits towards physical fitness and achieving a healthy lifestyle.


Spanish class, with an immersion focus, is held two days each week at the preschool level through 5th grade. The Spanish curriculum offers both language and cultural experiences that foster an appreciation for cultural diversity.  


The visual arts program uses a hand-ons approach, allowing students to use their creative intellect to produce works of art as they study a variety of modes and artists from all over the world.  Additionally, parent volunteers regularly visit art classes to highlight great works of visual arts through a partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago.