June 15-21, 2006
A great place to learn
By St. Thomas Aquinas School staff
SUN photo(s) submitted
Students at St. Thomas Aquinas School learn more than ABCs
BINGHAMTON — Academics are very important at St. Thomas Aquinas School. Children learn in many different ways and the school strives to integrate that in classes.
Along with the “three r’s,” St. Thomas Aquinas School provides many other areas of study. Religion being the most important subject of the day, the students take part in monthly liturgies, Advent readings of the day by the third graders, Lenten reflections and the Stations of the Cross. They also participate in a May Crowning and to close the school year, a special liturgy and moving up ceremony for third graders who are leaving for middle school. Outreach is essential and students learn to care for others by participating in a “Giving Tree” during Advent, a winter coats and outerwear collection and distribution for those less fortunate for “Make A Difference Day,” collecting and sending items to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and “Pennies for Good Deeds” for Juvenile Diabetes during Lent. Through their actions, the students are bringing Christ’s presence to others.
Beginning in kindergarten, students are exposed to Spanish. Each class meets once in a six-day cycle for Spanish class, taught by Nina Shattuck. In her class, they learn letters, numbers, conversational phrases, culture, songs and by third grade will have a good grasp of the roots of the language. Technology is also part of the school’s curriculum. Through the use of laptops, the students have learned keyboarding, how to research a topic online and complete projects. They are able to create flyers, signs and other original artwork to fit a purpose. Third graders have learned to create simple Power Point presentations with themselves as the subjects.
Students learn about environmental concerns through a composting project and spring planting. The students put material from their snacks and lunches into a compost bucket which is then brought to a compost bin. The students examine a pan of compost to try to identify the many “critters” that aid in the composting process. After the threat of frost, the students use the compost to plant annuals in barrels in front of the school. Each class has its own barrel.
Whether learning times tables to music, completing “passports” for trips around the world, writing comparative essays for books versus movie versions, or pretending to be a character in a book and presenting their “life story” to their class, students all agree that St. Thomas Aquinas School is “A Great Place to Learn.”