The Pre-Kindergarten 3 and 4-year-old programs develops children emotionally, cognitively, physically, socially and spiritually. Positive reinforcement guides students in age appropriate activities and academic readiness for success in elementary school.
The Pre-Kindergarten 4-year old program meets and exceeds the curriculum objectives outlined by the Diocese of Nashville. It is enhanced with Everyday Mathematics as well as Handwriting Without Tears. Students engage in music, art, Spanish, and physical education on a regular basis.
Children learn through both structured activities and play. Traditional teaching methods are introduced. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd engages the child in developing a life-long relationship with Jesus. Kindness is a virtue that is learned and celebrated daily through our themes, words and actions.
Our 3 year old class meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week. There are two options for 4 year old students; a 3-day class held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, or a 5-day class held Monday through Friday. All classes run from 8:00 a.m.-2:45 p.m. After care is offered Monday through Friday.
All students MUST be toilet trained.
The full day kindergarten program offers a strong academic course of study that is designed to accommodate the developmental stages of the young learner. This child-centered program meets and exceeds the state and diocesan standards for content learning. Center time play and other special themed programs and activities encourage cooperative learning, stimulate independent thinking and help foster a love of learning.
In our caring and loving environment, a climate is created that allows students to feel a sense of belonging, share and take turns, practice manners and respect and accept guidance and authority. These experiences lay the foundation for a smooth transition to first grade.
Elementary Grades 1-3
Future academic success is dependent upon the foundation built in grades one through three. The curriculum focuses on each child’s learning style and rate of development. Teachers employ a variety of teaching styles to accommodate the varied learning styles of our students – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. The program is student-centered and promotes critical thinking and self-dependency.
Classrooms are self-contained for the core subjects of Religion, Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. Enrichment classes include art, music, physical education, library, science lab, Spanish, guidance and computer lab (3rd grade).
Students in grades one through three continue building a relationship with Jesus Christ through daily religion class, and other activities such as, attending Mass two times per week, preparing and receiving First Penance and First Communion, attending First Friday Adoration, meeting with older student prayer buddies, and participating in a study and portrayal of the saints.
Intermediate Grades 4-5
At Saint Matthew School, the Intermediate grades are years of transition between the elementary grades and the middle school grades. It is here that the foundation laid in the elementary years takes root, and students become increasingly independent and can apply what they are learning to make new connections. Academic material becomes deeper in content, and students begin to change classes in the core subjects of math, science, language arts and social studies for the first time. Students are challenged with long-term projects and take responsibility for their own learning as they acquire greater study and organizational skills. These are years of great growth in maturity, academics and self-reliance.
Middle School Grades 6-8
Middle School academics at Saint Matthew School are designed to challenge students with a rigorous curriculum which includes subjects such as biology, physics, chemistry, Algebra I, novel studies, Harkness discussion circles, research papers, world history and civics. The program is designed to enhance student writing, speaking and critical thinking skills.
As a result of matriculating through the program, our students become innovative thinkers, strong learners and natural leaders. Students begin their middle school years as children and end them as young adults who have the total foundation necessary to be successful in high school.
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14
Saint Matthew is excited and proud to announce the expansion of our inclusive education program. It is our desire to provide a challenging educational experience for students with developmental delays and/or intellectual disabilities.
Our inclusive education program is led by a certified Special Education teacher. Our special education teacher provides appropriate academic modifications for each student and is responsible for ensuring that all of the classroom teachers involved are knowledgeable and prepared to educate each student. Each student receives one-on-one instruction in the areas of math, reading, and writing throughout the day. These instructional times are customized to each individual student by our Special Education teacher who provides individualized instruction according to each student’s specific learning needs.
Inclusive education students participate in social studies, religion, science, and enrichment classes (PE, band/choir, art, computer/technology, library, and Spanish) within the regular classroom setting. Classroom teachers provide needed instructional accommodations for the inclusive education students. Ongoing training will be provided by the Special Education teacher who collaborates with the classroom teachers in order to create learning and growth opportunities for the student in all subject areas.
Outside the classroom, students in the inclusive education program are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities at Saint Matthew. From athletics to arts to service programs, our inclusive education students are encouraged to explore their interests and share their talents.
We believe that our inclusive education program not only provides our special needs students with a loving, Catholic faith filled environment in which to learn, but also instills in our typically-developing students the understanding, acceptance, and love for those with developmental and learning differences. We believe WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER.
Requirements for the Saint Matthew inclusive education program:
- Students must adhere to all SMS policies as found in the student handbook, such as arrival and dismissal times and procedures, school calendars, dress code, attendance, etc.
- Parents of our inclusive education students may be asked to participate in class activities or extra-curricular activities, or to accompany their student on SMS sponsored field trips. Exemptions may be made based upon our special education teacher’s recommendation and administrative approval.
- Medical needs should not require the attention of medically trained staff.
- Students must be able to independently manage toileting and personal hygiene.
- Behaviors must not include risk factors (elopement, aggression toward peers or adults, excessive or inappropriate language, self-harm, etc.).
Student Support Room
Saint Matthew’s Student Support program is committed to serving each child holistically- focusing on their academic, social, and spiritual growth. Our licensed Special Education teachers provide systematic interventions and goal-driven direct instruction. They also work closely with teachers and families to ensure that each diverse learner receives exactly what they need.
We have two Student Support locations here at Saint Matthew School: the Student Support Classroom and the Student Support Office. Each space is home to a licensed Special Education teacher and provides an inclusive and welcoming environment where all children can be successful. With flexible seating options, soft lighting, and a surplus of instructional tools and materials, the spaces are child-centered and set up to serve various needs of our K-8 students.
The SMS Science Enrichment program serves as a supplement to the science curricula of our students in kindergarten through 4th grade. Students in grades K-4 will utilize the state-of-the-art SMS STEAM lab weekly or bi-weekly depending on the grade level. Students in grades 5-8 will use the STEAM lab as part of their science curriculum and will visit the lab with their grade level science teacher. During sessions in the lab, students in grades K-8 will:
- Build the background knowledge of different scientific concepts using sensory experiences
- Learn the skills of problem solving, critical thinking and innovation
- Enhance creativity
- Practice the engineering process of brainstorming, planning, creating, improving and communicating
- Improve team building and collaboration
Lab time focuses on 21st century skills that are essential to prepare a generation of critical thinkers and successful scientists.
The Technology/Collaboration Space for students in grades 3-8 contributes to the academic success of our students by creating opportunities for them to learn by using working in small or large groups. Through the use of robotics, Podcasting, Video Editing, 3D printers, STEM sets, recycled, and other non-digital items, students are given the opportunity to create, collaborate and explore. In addition to regularly scheduled classes in the technology lab, all classrooms, teachers, and students are equipped with the technology necessary to incorporate digital skills throughout the learning experience. Grades 6-8 are 1:1 with iPads, grades 3-5 have dedicated classroom sets of iPads, and iPads are available for use in grades K-2 for enrichment. Our goal is for students to become proficient, responsible, and productive members of our increasingly digital society.
Spanish in young children gives us the opportunity to expose them to a new language in a way that’s unique, engaging and fun. The goal of our program is to provide basic introductory Spanish knowledge and skills to students in younger grade levels, and progressively increase concepts, vocabulary and complexity as they move up in grade levels. The Spanish program is presented and taught in a way that drives student engagement in activities that ultimately deliver knowledge of the Spanish language and its foundational concepts.
Students in Pre-K to 6 receive Spanish instruction weekly and students in grades 7-8 attend twice weekly.
An overall goal that we have for our PE program is for every student to have fun and learn how to display great sportsmanship, while learning the basic skills they need to lead healthy and active lifestyles.
A major component of our PE program is teaching the importance of participation, cooperation and self-responsibility. These qualities lay the foundation and are the basis of how each student will be evaluated.
Throughout the school year we will work on a variety of fundamental skills. Locomotor, balance, catching, throwing, striking, kicking, dribbling, basic tumbling and stretching are just a few examples. Various tag games, low organizational games and all varieties of sports will be implemented as well.
During the year, will complete the Fitnessgram fitness test. The components of this test are: cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility. The tests at this age are used only to introduce the various parts of physical fitness and to learn the correct form and technique.
Our faculty members strive to make PE a favorite subject of every student!
The study of art and the overall creative process helps us to become more fully human. Beauty, self expression and the act of creating brings us closer to ourselves, others, and God. Students at Saint Matthew are presented with many opportunities to witness their personal experiences and God-given surroundings, immersing themselves in the wondrous and mysterious process of creating.
The Studio Art Program at Saint Matthew introduces students to a variety of works of art, artists, art movements and art historical concepts. Students will create works of art with a wide variety of materials and methods while balancing curricular objectives and goals.
Full, free, imaginative expression and careful, focused work is encouraged. Process and product are carefully balanced, as both must coexist for a healthy Studio Art Program. Technique, craft, and observational skill development is important, yet imagination, experimentation, problem solving, creative risk taking, and self-exploration is encouraged as well.
The arts are essential in developing critical thinking, problem-solving skills, open-mindedness, global awareness, and cultural competence, all of which require a wide base of knowledge and art experiences.
The Art Program at Saint Matthew is growing to create a sequential, integrated, and interdisciplinary art curriculum, seeking to make cross curricular and personal connections for student artists. A hybrid model of the National Arts Standards and the Nashville Diocesan Standards are used at Saint Matthew School in an effort to help our students become competent in the following areas:
- Lifelong learners, supporters, and appreciators of the arts who are confident in their ability to participate in the arts, even if they do not pursue a formal education or career in the arts.
- Open-minded, curious, and willing to explore, analyze, question and interpret the world.
- Aware of the role the arts play in the positive physiological and emotional effect art has on society, community, and an individual.
- Knowledgeable of a variety of major, minor, and local art, artists, and art movements.
- Discover personal, societal, global, and historical connections across subjects and cultures.
- Critical thinkers whose desire to experiment helps them move beyond the walls of a traditional ruleset and explore creative ways to solve problems with a growth mindset and 21st century skills.
The Saint Matthew School library is designed to be student-friendly and exists to support all aspects of student learning. Library skills are taught once per week to students in kindergarten through grade five. Students in grades six through eight participate in a library skills lesson once per month, and the library is available for middle school teachers to reserve for additional time for research or projects. Each K-5 class has a designated weekly time for a library lesson, read alouds, literacy or makerspace centers, or quiet reading. Students have the option to select and check out books for pleasure or for classroom assignments and can also use the library to complete make-up work or tests.
The media center features a state of the art audio/visual system. It is the home of seven Apple computers. These resources are available for student presentations, author visits and other special events.
The Accelerated Reader program tests students on novels and the Star Reading and Star Math assessments provide teachers with tools to measure the comprehension and development of students’ skills.
Destiny software by Follett allows students to acquire more extensive information on books such as a summary, genre, Accelerated Reader details, reading and interest level, and awards received.
The Tennessee Electronic Library, a collection of 40+ databases that provide access to over 400,000 magazine, journal, and newspaper articles, essays, podcasts, videos, e-books, and primary source materials, is available to students as a supplemental resource.
Throughout the year, the media center hosts special guest readers, children’s literature performances, author visits, and special presentations.
Student-authored book reviews are encouraged and serve as a valuable tool for others in search of a great book from the extensive literature choices available. Students are also encouraged to recommend books that they would like Saint Matthew School to consider purchasing for the library.
In the summer the library is open one morning per week for 6 weeks to encourage reading for pleasure and allow students to select books for summer reading requirements. The spring Scholastic Book Fair generates much excitement among students and families as they witness the transformation of the library into a themed bookstore. With all these resources and events, it’s easy to see why Saint Matthew students become great readers and great leaders.
Elementary Music Program
Singing, moving, creating, and reading music are skills, not gifts, and all students can develop their individual potential and interact with the music around them. This is a critical age for music learning, and developing musical skills and understanding is what we are all about!
Every elementary student receives instruction focused on four fundamental skill areas: singing, beat keeping, expressive abilities in music, and instrument playing (including xylophones, recorders in third and fourth grades, and a variety of percussion instruments). Students attend music class once a week for 50 minutes in grades K-5 and for 30 minutes in Pre-K. We strive to tap into children’s natural reservoir of enthusiasm for singing, moving and experimenting with instruments. Our curriculum and methods are designed to apply music-making to benefit the whole child, i.e., socially, emotionally, physically, cognitively, and linguistically.
Middle School Program
The goal of the middle school music program is to provide students with a broad foundation of musical knowledge, coupled with a high level of academic performance skills. The curriculum builds sequentially on the elementary music program and provides the foundation for lifelong participation in and enjoyment of music. All students in grades 6-8 have opportunities to participate in music ensembles. We offer high quality choral and instrumental experiences for students in these grades. Course options this year are Band and Choir. Our performing ensembles meet twice a week for 45 minutes during each class period.
Middle School Band
Band is offered during the school day for all interested 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. Beginner Band (6th) and Advanced Band (7th and 8th) explore a wide variety of musical styles and composers through performance and practice. Students will have several performance opportunities throughout the year.
Middle School Choir
Students who wish to sing in a large group and study vocal technique are encouraged to participate in Choir. JV Choir (6th) and Varsity Choir (7th and 8th) continue to develop music literacy skills including sight singing and ear training. Students enrolled in choir will have several performance opportunities throughout the year.