Our STREAM-centric curriculum is comprised of several specialized subject areas that are integrated with one another and provide a rigorous, whole-rounded approach to student learning. Please click on the headings below to learn more about each subject area.
Our curriculum follows the standards of the National Council of Teachers of English, the State of Maryland International Reading Council and the Curriculum Standards for Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Pre-K and Kindergarten
The language arts program includes exposure to a wide variety of literature and content reading materials, instruction in beginning reading skills, manuscript printing, writing group and individual stories, and developing story sense and comprehension skills.
Differentiated instruction along with flexible grouping accommodates learners of all levels and builds reading and writing success.
Reading instruction focuses on providing students with a range of texts of varying complexity to build foundational as well as critical thinking skills. Students grow in their ability to understand key ideas and details of the text, to recognize various types of writing and structure of the texts, and to integrate knowledge and ideas of the text with other sources of information. Students also begin to analyze and interpret texts. Foundational skills developed include print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition and fluency, and vocabulary acquisition and use. Public speaking opportunities are provided.
Writing instruction progressively builds students’ abilities to write opinion, information/explanatory and narrative texts. Students also practice poetry and other styles of writing. Six traits of effective writing—ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency and conventions—are developed. Gradual introduction to shared and independent research is begun in these grades, including short research projects. Students may also join our writing club.
English grammar, conventions and mechanics are taught using the Macmillan McGraw-Hill series. Progressive spelling instruction accompanies and complements instruction in other language arts and content areas. Typically, weekly spelling lists are compiled by the teacher and communicated to parents with a routine for assessment of spelling mastery.
In grades 1–3, students learn handwriting, use of manuscript on ruled paper and cursive letters, Zaner-Bloser style. Continued practice of cursive and its application to independent work takes place in grades 4–5.
The language arts program emphasizes critical reading and thinking skills, appreciation of great literature, public speaking, composition and research skills. Teachers guide students in self-directed learning, communication skills and integrated technology. Students develop their ability to work interdependently and collaboratively in conjunction with reading and writing applications for high school and college readiness. Examples of literature discussed and analyzed include To Kill a Mockingbird, Bud not Buddy, the works of Poe and Shakespeare, and forms of poetry. Both the English teacher and literature teacher collaborate to incorporate the two disciplines into a seamless instructional program that allows students to apply their understanding of grammar and mechanics to their literary analyses.
Areas of study include:
- Classic and contemporary literary genres (novels, short stories, drama, biography and other nonfiction, poetry)
- Critical reading strategies
- Literary analysis
- Literary devices
- The writing process
- Journal writing
- Narrative, persuasive, informative and interpretive writing
- Research techniques and formal reports
- Grammar, vocabulary and spelling
- Forms of public speaking
Our curriculum follows the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Math and the Curriculum Standards for Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Differentiated instruction along with flexible grouping accommodates learners of all levels and builds success for future mathematical concepts. The program fosters critical thinking, problem solving and application of learned skills. Teachers integrate technology and STEM principles for cross-curricular learning.
Pre-K and Kindergarten
The early math program teaches young learners the basics of math readiness and promotes mathematical processes and thinking. It includes a formal introduction to numbers, counting, sequencing, logical thinking, measurement, geometry and fractions.
Math instruction in grades 1–5 uses the McGraw-Hill My Math series to provide students with knowledge and skills related to mathematical operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations in base ten, measurement and data, geometry, fractions and decimals, computation and mathematical practice. Content is presented over time in a logical sequence, and instruction allows for reinforcement, practice and assessment of concepts throughout the entire year. Instruction aims to achieve deep mastery and thorough understanding of focused concepts at each grade level.
- 1st grade: Understanding addition and subtraction, whole number relationships and place value, and linear measurement; reasoning about and composing geometric shapes
- 2nd grade: Understanding the base-ten numeration system, building fluency with addition and subtraction, using standard units of measure, and describing and analyzing shapes
- 3rd grade: Understanding multiplication and division within 100, fractions and unit fractions, division, and structure of rectangular arrays; describing properties of two-dimensional shapes
- 4th grade: Understanding multidigit multiplication and division and fraction equivalence; computing with fractions; analyzing geometric properties
- 5th grade: Understanding volume and multiplication and division of fractions; developing fluency with adding and subtracting fractions; extending computation to include decimal numbers
The math program continues to develop those concepts and skills that form the foundations for higher math, including facility in computation, critical thinking, problem solving and applications. Math at this level is differentiated based on ability.
- 6th grade: Students focus on critical thinking skills; ratios and rates; fractions, decimals and percentages; the number system; expressions; geometry; and statistics and probability.
- 7th grade: Students are differentiated according to ability and readiness into Course 1 or Course 2. Course 1 begins Pre-Algebra. Course 2 focuses on proportional relationships, equations and inequalities, geometry, and statistics and probability.
- 7th- and 8th-grade Pre-Algebra: Students study rational numbers and exponents; proportionality and linear relationships; creating, comparing and analyzing geometric figures; and sampling.
- 8th-grade Algebra I: Students demonstrating proficiency in pre-algebraic concepts move on to study linear, exponential and quadratic expressions and functions; radical functions and geometry; and statistics and probability.
Science instruction includes hands-on experimental studies of nature and the environment, as well as a basic understanding of structures of the human body and principles of physical science. Learning is enhanced through participation in the EarthSeekers program at the Renfrew Institute in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.
Science instruction includes hands-on experiments, as well as opportunities for individual STEM/Science Fair projects (optional in third and fourth grade and mandatory in fifth grade). Students in fourth grade may also join our Science, Engineering and Technology Club.
- 1st grade: Students are introduced to plants and animals and classifying by appearance, as well as to healthy habits.
- 2nd grade: Students study earth science, including plant structures, animal life cycles, food chains, animal and plant classifications by type, and earth and sky.
- 3rd grade: Students study plant and animal life cycles, vertebrates and invertebrates, the water cycle, matter and energy, earth’s seasons, moon phases, and planets in the solar system.
- 4th grade: Students study the scientific method, ecosystems, electricity, magnetism, simple machines, weather and the Chesapeake Bay.
- 5th grade: Students study rocks and minerals, earth’s structures, forces and energy, stars and galaxies, and the human digestive, respiratory, circulatory and excretory systems.
Science is inquiry-based and dynamic as students gain the skills and knowledge they will need for high school. Our Science Club and Engineering Club provide additional opportunities.
- 6th grade: Students study earth sciences, including weather, the geologic time scale, continental drift and plate tectonics, as well as the scientific method.
- 7th grade: Students study life sciences, including animal classification, characteristics and behavior, as well as genetics and heredity, evolution and environmental science.
- 8th grade: Students study the physical sciences, including beginning chemistry and the periodic table, sound and light wave characteristics, the electromagnetic spectrum, speed and motion, and forces such as gravity and friction.
Our curriculum follows the Curriculum Standards for Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
PRE-K AND KINDERGARTEN
The early childhood programs integrate social studies through hands-on learning, stories, music, play, art projects and special visitors to the classroom. Special social studies projects and exploration may be centered around themes related to communities, Native Americans and Pilgrims, and holidays, countries and cultures around the world.
The social studies curriculum includes progressive development of themes related to culture; sense of historical time; people, places and environments; groups and institutions; power, authority and governance; economics; global connections; and citizenship. Each grade level develops these themes in units.
The program in grades 1–2 integrates social studies through hands-on learning, stories, music, play and art projects. Special social studies projects, research and exploration may be centered around types of communities and their relationship with each other, the significance of holidays and national days of honor, geography, and countries and cultures around the world. Beginning map skills are taught. Second grade is introduced to early American history.
Grades 1–3 subscribe to Scholastic News to discuss current events.
In grades 3–5, students explore Maryland state history and government, states and capitals, and American government and U.S. Presidents. U.S. history is studied in greater depth, beginning with the first Americans, the early explorers and colonization and continuing through the westward expansion. Trips to the Mud College Schoolhouse and the Renfrew Institute for Cultural & Environmental Studies expand upon the curriculum.
Students continue to develop competencies in social studies with a much more in-depth study of ancient, American and world history. Curricula over these years also provide a greater emphasis on processes and reasoning. Students develop the ability to recognize connections among academic disciplines and apply new skills and ideas to new situations.
- 6th grade: Students study ancient civilizations. Beginning with the early cultures in the Indus and Tigris/Euphrates river valleys and finishing in feudal Europe, they learn about Egypt, China, Greece and Rome.
- 7th grade: Students study world cultures. They discuss various regions, delving into how geography, history and culture have shaped residents and life in those regions today. Students also discuss the organizations and characteristics that bring all of us together, no matter which region we call home.
- 8th grade: Students study American history. They begin with a refresher on the Civil War, then move on to Reconstruction, the West and the Gilded Age, ending with modern U.S. history.
As our religion and family life programs progress through each grade, they encourage students to personally embrace the faith of their childhood, prepare them to move into high school with sound Catholic values and convictions, and motivate them to become actively involved in their church community. We strive to build a community of faith in word and action through the formal religious instruction that takes place each day as well as through learning about and modeling gospel values in word and action.
All students have the advantage of participating in daily formal religious instruction. The curriculum follows the Curriculum Standards for Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and includes Catholic faith tradition, scripture, Church doctrine, prayer, sacramental life, morality and community/service appropriate for students’ age and grade level. Christ Our Life, 2016 (Loyola Press) is the primary textbook used. Each level of study focuses on learning about an aspect of the Catholic faith and our journey with God. Grades for religious instruction are included on the trimester progress reports.
Daily instruction in Catholic faith and opportunities to celebrate faith through prayer, liturgy and service are integral to Mother Seton School’s educational program. In addition, teachers integrate Gospel values and Catholic teaching into content areas, and integrate faith and values formation into students’ daily experiences. Students are introduced to our Vincentian Family Saints—St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac and St. Catherine Laboure--from their first days at Mother Seton School. They are encouraged to model their lives on the virtues of humility, simplicity, charity, love of the Eucharist and love of Mary as exemplified by the saints in the Vincentian Family. Student activities such as Prayer Partners, seasonal outreach projects, charitable fund drives and service learning provide opportunities to put faith into action.
Following Archdiocese of Baltimore guidelines, immediate preparation for reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation is conducted at the child’s home parish. Eucharist and Reconciliation preparation usually takes place in second grade, and Confirmation in middle or high school. Parents should contact their parish’s religious education coordinator for information about the parish sacramental preparation program.
Family Life & Safe Child Education
The Archdiocese of Baltimore is committed to providing holistic catechesis for family life and child protection to children and their parents. This catechesis blends moral and values-based formation with clear and factual information.
Contents and materials of the Family Life and Child Protection program are made available to parents upon request. Family Life (Benzinger) is the primary resource used. All teaching materials have been approved for use by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
An introduction to Spanish is given in fifth grade once a week, but formal Spanish I instruction begins in sixth grade and is taught twice-weekly. Over the three middle school years, students are presented with a solid basis in the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. They also focus on the five Cs of second-language learning: communication, culture, connections, comparisons and communities. Our Spanish Club supplements classes with fun activities for the entire family.
Once students walk into the Spanish classroom, they speak and are spoken to in Spanish. This immersive approach has been proven to help increase achievement and overall language acquisition success.
Depending upon entrance requirements of various high schools, students may be eligible to enter Spanish II.
Children learn to express themselves and think creatively through our visual and performing arts program that includes music classes, art classes, band, choir and theater productions.
MUSIC EDUCATION (K-8)
Students in grades K–8 participate in weekly music instruction. Students learn music history, music theory, and how to read, sing and play music on a variety of instruments. Instruction helps build music appreciation in the student. The music program for third grade integrates a recorder program, introducing students to instrumental music in preparation for their opportunity to join extracurricular chorus or instrumental band in fourth grade.
Visual Arts Education (1-8)
Student creativity is emphasized in our visual art program, which encompasses everything from animation to stoneware clay. The study of famous artists, culture, art history, various media, color theory, and basic elements and principles of design assists the development of each student’s talent. A variety of subject matter is integrated from an enriched academic curriculum.
Through our smART Masters Art Club, middle school students have the opportunity to work closely with the art teacher on service projects.
Obstacle courses, fitness competitions, the Snow Sports Club, family fun and fitness programs—we take a creative approach to building physical skills and keeping children active. Once a week students from grades K–8 participate in physical education classes. PE helps students develop coordination, strength, agility and endurance. The PE curriculum also helps teach students about various sports, health and fitness, and teamwork.
- PE Sports and Skills
- Exercise with Music
- Hoop Games
- Baton Relays
- Track and Field
- Bocce Ball
- Floor Hockey
- Badminton, Wallball, Tetherball