Curriculum

Curriculum Pre-K

At Nativity Pre-Kindergarten, we respect the gifts that each child brings to class. We believe that each child is born with the natural interest to learn and explore. By having a welcoming environment, the children have the freedom to experiment and collaborate with their peers.

Play is an integral part of our curriculum. It is through play that our teachers lead children to acquire the skills and emotional maturity needed to succeed in Kindergarten and beyond. Using the Project-Based Curriculum, we support each child’s creativity and natural interest to investigate and take charge of his own learning.

Curriculum K-5

Nativity Elementary School welcomes the Kindergartners, the youngest members of our student community, into a stimulating, nurturing environment that begins to lay the foundation for later successes and challenges. The elementary curriculum hones the children's listening and direction following skills, and encourages independent thinking and problem solving. Class activities celebrate each child's uniqueness and creativity and build wholesome attitudes toward oneself. The children are taught that they are an important part of a larger community and are gently guided toward positive social and moral behaviors.

The all-day Kindergarten program devotes its day to the Core Curriculum, which includes art, music, Spanish, computers, and physical education. After lunch recess, there is a well-deserved rest period before the afternoon session begins.

The academic plan for grades 1-5 focuses on building a strong foundation for achievement based on the Core Curriculum subject areas of religion, mathematics, reading, science, language arts, spelling, and social studies. In addition, children receive instruction in art, music, Spanish, computers, penmanship, and physical education.

The cornerstone of religious education at Nativity School is simple: to know and love the Lord, and the Golden Rule. The children are instructed in their Christian faith through prayer, knowledge of and preparation for the Sacraments, and participation in liturgical celebrations. Fostered in each student is respect and esteem for self and others, and a sense of responsibility and compassion towards the needs of others.

The math curriculum begins with teaching the basic relationships and simple classifying skills needed to instill interest, confidence, and understanding that are the basis of competence in mathematics. The approach advances the mastery of mathematical concepts and stresses the importance of adeptness at their application.

Language arts develops reading, speaking, and writing skills as the children explore ideas, themes, and values. A high level of proficiency in creative writing and composition is expected from the students. Nativity uses a phonetic approach in reading and teaches decoding skills in order to give the children independence as early as possible. The method incorporates language and vocabulary development with spelling, grammar, comprehension and literature enrichment. Attention to developing conscientious penmanship habits complements the entire process.

The science curriculum for the elementary school centers around an integrated program of modules, through which the unifying concepts of physical, earth and life science, health and the human body, technology in society, and the scientific process are detailed. Hands-on experimentation in Nativity's science lab begins in grade 5 and emphasizes the major themes of chemical, physical and biological energy, those systems and their interactions. Scientific inquiry and critical discernment skills learned in the science program are applicable to a wide range of subject areas.

Social studies begins by emphasizing the role that students play as a member of their community and their society at-large. It quickly expands to the study of both modern and ancient societies, understanding their importance, and how these societies impact their lives today.

Music meets two times per week with the objective to develop musical sensitivity and literacy in children through a variety of hands-on musical experiences, and to nurture a lifelong love of music.

The goal of computer instruction at the initial elementary level is to teach keyboarding skills in the well-equipped computer lab. As the students become more familiar with the computer, and as they develop their writing skills in their study of language arts the student begins to use the computer as an important tool for researching and producing written projects in a variety of subject areas.

Nativity views physical fitness as essential to a child's mental and emotional well being and growth. Our P.E. instructor devises a physical education program which helps students master basic motor skills as they learn a new sport each month, improve their coordination, and increase physical strength by means of appropriate exercise. The value of cooperation and sportsmanship in organized and spontaneous play is stressed.

Off-campus field trips provide enrichment and are a fun and exciting adjunct to classroom instruction, enjoyed by both students and parents alike. Classes have visited various theater productions, missions, art and science museums, NASA/Ames, San Francisco Symphony, the zoo, recycling plant, local farms, and much more.

The Nativity elementary student is singularly prepared for the rigorous challenges of our middle school. The children are taught invaluable communication skills necessary for problem solving and conflict resolution. They gain respect for themselves as they find alternatives to problems and greater appreciation for the viewpoints of others. In all academic subjects, emphasis is placed on critical thinking and learning how making connections imparts a richer understanding of a concept or idea. The development of good, independent study habits is promoted. Nativity Elementary School cultivates a life-long excitement and natural curiosity for learning in a positive, loving atmosphere of dedicated attention to individual student's needs.

Curriculum 6-8

Adolescence is a period of transition and of many physical, emotional and social changes as the older child matures into a young adult. It is during this critical period of development that the Nativity student makes the most significant progress in acquiring the tools necessary to participate effectively in society.

Students in grades 6 through 8 continue their academically challenging coursework in the Core Curriculum, attending departmentalized classes in English, social studies, and science. Ability grouping is conducted in reading. Students who have demonstrated proficiency in reading may advance to advanced reading which explores an anthology of classic literature. Conversely, if a student requires continued assistance in the mastery of a particular level of reading skill, he or she has the opportunity in the middle school to accomplish this goal.

Good study and work habits, previously developed in the earlier years at Nativity, are essential in order to successfully execute their homework assignments.

Computer instruction is provided in our large computer lab where students use the keyboarding skills learned in the elementary school to assist and complement work being done in other areas of the classroom. Students may use the computer for its work processing capabilities toward the development of strong creative writing and composition construction skills. Internet databases are tapped for their wealth of educational and scientific resources.

Science plays a very important role in the Core Curriculum, and the program benefits from having a separate science lab where daily hands-on experiments can be conducted. Critical thinking and problem solving skills are sharpened as the student practices advanced principles and methods of scientific observation and experimentation. Special highlights of the middle school years are the Outdoor Science Education Program in the 6th grade, and the Yosemite Science Institute week in the 8th grade.

The students in the middle school are seen as particularly important role models for their younger schoolmates, beginning at the Kindergarten level where the 7thgrade "buddies" escort their younger charges to Nativity Church and sit with them during liturgy services. The "upper classmen" are expected to exemplify respect and courtesy in all their interactions and behaviors.

Leadership skills are developed in the Student Council, which is open to all middle school students. Here the goal is to promote school spirit, to be a forum for the student body, and to foster service to the school and the community.

Service to the community is taken a step further by the Outreach Program for 7thand 8th grades. Students, parents, or teachers volunteer their time once or twice per month in the local community in an expression of their faith and to live the gospel message in service of others in need.

As a testament to the dedication of the teachers and the solid work of the students 98% of all 8th graders who applied to Catholic high schools in the area were accepted to the school of their choice. This is a tremendous accomplishment because entrance at all Catholic high schools is extremely competitive.

We are extremely proud of the accomplishments that all of our 8th grade scholars have developed and achieved during their formative years at Nativity School. Nativity has provided them with a singularly strong, solid foundation which, in turn, endows the graduate with the confidence and self-esteem that is important in achieving all future goals and aspirations. It is our hope that they take with them a morally and spiritually bountiful character that will continue to be a credit to themselves, their families and to society.