St. Thomas Aquinas School integrates studies while learning about the world
By st. Thomas aquinas school staff
BINGHAMTON — St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School, a school with spirit, can be found nestled in a quiet neighborhood on Binghamton’s West Side. The school is an early childhood school and consists of kindergarten to grade three and a nursery school program. St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School was founded in 1953 and is committed to educating the whole child with compassion and integrity. In addition to providing an excellent educational environment, the school has before-and after-school programs which provide consistent care for children whose parents work.
One of St. Thomas Aquinas’ greatest strengths is the sense of family that is evident throughout the school. It is this comfortable family feeling that allows religious, educational, social and emotional growth to take place in a cooperative and caring atmosphere.
This year the Curriculum Committee, a branch of the Parent Teacher Organization, instituted an “Around the World” project which has assisted the students in learning more about different cultures. This has been a multi-discipline project involving English language arts, social studies, science, geography, mathematics, art and music. This project began in December and highlighted a different country each month. The students learned about Germany, Australia, Vietnam, Ireland, Kenya and Mexico. After an introduction to each country, the students identified the location of the country, the flag, the shape of the country, its native plants and animals, its climate, its people, language and culture. At the conclusion of the study of each country, the students were brought together for a celebration where their artwork representing each country was on display, appropriate music was played and food of that country was sampled. For some of the countries, the students were able to see and handle animals native to the country they had been studying. At the beginning of the “Around the World” project, each student was issued a “passport,” which was stamped when the unit on that particular country was completed. This passport became a record of the countries and cultures that the student had been exposed to.
This “Around the World” project has been well received and helps the students learn, from a hands on experience, about many places around the world. This curriculum venture has not taken away from the traditional academic subjects but rather has enhanced the students’ learning and retention. The Curriculum Committee is looking forward to planning next year’s program for the students.