Core Assumptions of Our Curriculum
- The primacy of a Catholic worldview in our curriculum that corresponds to the magisterium of the Catholic Church in content and methodology
- Operate within the general parameters set by the Diocese of Camden
- Opposition to moral and cultural relativism and assertion of the legitimacy of objective moral and religious truth
- We assume complementarity between the teachings of faith and the other disciplines, even though their methods are distinct
- Supplemental but not reductive use of state or national standards, while maintaining an emphasis on the cultivation of virtue
- Textbooks and digital content are not the curriculum but tools of teachers within the curriculum
- We will make every effort to use Catholic texts as tools within our curriculum and to limit the use of secular sources
- Emphasis on the interplay of active reading, discussion, and writing across all subject disciplines
- Limited use of electives in order to over learn in core disciplines
- Reading and Literature
- Grammar and Writing
- Spelling and Vocabulary
- Phonics (elementary levels)
- Social Studies
- Music (appreciation and theory)
- Physical Education
- Library Science (grades K-4)
- Great Books (Literature, Middle School)
- Accelerated Math program beginning in 5th grade
- Limited class size for weekly science labs (grades 5-8)
- Art and Music offered twice per week bi-quarterly
- Technology integrated across the curriculum
- Digital Library resources grades 3-8
- Latin offered four days per week, grades 6-8; twice per week, grades 3-5; one day per week, grades 1-2.
- Please click here to review the goals of our Latin program
Elementary and Middle School
St. Peter School seeks to provide an organized curriculum within the guidelines of the Diocese of Camden that is coherent, sequential, and substantive. We seek to operate within the Catholic intellectual tradition, while remaining open to legitimate innovations in education. This means that we focus on the accumulation and expansion of the child’s knowledge base through content mastery, while developing foundational reading, writing, and math skills. Yet beyond these baseline skills, we seek to cultivate critical 21st century skills such as innovation, creativity, and problem solving. For this latter reason we seek an integrated curriculum that preserves the liberal arts tradition of Catholic schools, yet interfaces with innovations in science and technology.
In the context of our Catholic tradition, we feel that the best way to achieve these ends is to preserve a virtue-based curriculum. This means that the goal of our educational project at SPS is the development of the child’s full spiritual faculties: the memory, the intellect, and the will- including the traditionally recognized powers of the soul, such as the imagination, conscience, and the emotions .
The traditional theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity), along with the four cardinal or human virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance) contain the underlying dispositions necessary to develop the aforementioned skills. Further, in an academic context, we seek to cultivate the five primary intellectual virtues: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, art (broadly understood), and prudence. When crafting lessons, teachers are asked to reflect on these virtues and develop lessons that cultivate them within the context of learning. Teachers are given opportunities to reflect on the powers of the soul and to align their lessons with the cultivation of these powers by means of the virtues.
The culmination of our curriculum is in the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation by students in 8th grade. In this sacrament, our students receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, illuminating and perfecting the aforementioned virtues. In this manner, our hope is that students, instead of attaining mere “proficiency” in academic content and standards, will be equipped to be teenagers who are truly disciples of Jesus Christ and one day outstanding American citizens. In this manner, the ends of Catholic education, according to the Second Vatican Council, can best be achieved,
The Church is bound as a mother to give to these children of hers an education by which their whole life can be imbued with the spirit of Christ and at the same time do all she can to promote for all peoples the complete perfection of the human person, the good of earthly society and the building of a world that is more human (Gravissum Educationis, par.3).