Instilling a strong foundation for lifelong learning
Instilling a strong foundation for lifelong learning
Read about our academic subjects in the Grade Level Information section. In addition to our core academic subjects, St. Stephen's is proud to offer the following classes:
To the art student, art education should bring an eagerness to create, an enthusiasm to participate and a satisfaction of achievement, while providing freedom for the child to use his or her own mode of expression. Art is a complex discipline composed of numerous elements, principles, and skills that are taught in ways appropriate to a child’s cognitive stage and physical abilities.
Through an awareness of art history, including contemporary art and artists, students will demonstrate open-mindedness toward different forms and styles of art. Art education incorporates writing exercises such as journal entries, critiques and poems about their own work and/or the work of historical and contemporary artists or cultures. These exercises enhance the students’ ability to think and write critically. The St. Stephen’s approach to art brings a dimension of pleasure, relaxation, and personal expression that can be valued through a lifetime.
Utilizing innovative teaching methodologies, critical thinking and some measure of risk-taking on the part of the student is explored. In an interdisciplinary art curriculum, students scaffold new knowledge grounded in concepts previously learned, building from year to year. Individual creativity, positive attitudes, the ability to work and interact cooperatively, and artistic values are nurtured throughout the program.
The Drama and Speech programs aim to develop individual self-confidence through the experience of planning for, practicing, and executing plays or speech contests. Participating students learn that they can work toward and achieve a goal within a deadline. At the same time, the children learn to overcome their fears of public performance by speaking or performing on stage. Both programs seek to promote effective verbal and non-verbal communication and provide an outlet for expression. Students in Grades 2 and 5 work with the Drama Coach on additional goals of emphasizing the importance of teamwork and the development of musical abilities. Students in Grades 1 and 3 work with their Spanish teachers on performances reciting Spanish poetry and plays in Spanish. Our oldest students in Grades 4 and 5 with their homeroom teachers as they prepare to compete in judged Speech Contests.
Our curriculum reflects much of the Gordon method of comprehending music. The goal of the music program is to create a learning environment that ultimately produces independent musicians that have an understanding of music theory, and have an overall greater appreciation of music and its application/potential in the world that surrounds them.
Our Senior Kindergarten and Grade 1 students concentrate on internalizing the beat with the use of rhythm instruments such as the maracas, triangle, tambourine, etc. Part of the Grade 1 curriculum is learning all about the orchestra. They can identify each instrument by sound and sight and then go to the New World Symphony and interact with the musicians and ask questions. Our 2nd and 3rd grade they learn music notation and rhythm and are introduced to the bells. At the Grade 4 and Grade 5 levels, they continue with bells and learn new musicianship skills on the recorder. The recorder is an easy transfer to instruments in band/orchestra such as flute, clarinet, oboe, etc. Both bells and recorder help with cognitive development and fine motor skills.
There are plenty of opportunities we provide for our students to perform and shine here at our school. The first half of the school year students are working towards our Christmas Pageant, an over 50-year tradition at St. Stephen’s. Our Grade 5 students put on the story of Jesus’ birth, while the other grades support the storytelling through song. The second half of the year, students are preparing for the Spring Concert where the students showcase their recorder and bell skills, and they sing songs based on themed curriculum for the year (past themes: Beatles, Broadway, Patriotic, Singer/Songwriters). The are two major music productions that happen at the Grade 2 and Grade 5 levels. Also, our Grade 4 students annually perform the National Anthem at a Miami Marlins game. The foundation of learning rhythm, music notation, bells, recorder, and singing, along with a global and historical perspective of music, creates students who are prepared to pursue music at the secondary level if they choose to do so.
The St. Stephen’s Physical Education program is dedicated to the mental, spiritual, and physical development of all children. Classes are designed to provide learning experiences that allow each child an opportunity to develop a wide variety of athletic skills in a fun, challenging, and comfortable environment. The positive aspects of physical activity such as individual effort, good sportsmanship, and team play are encouraged on a regular basis.
To download the Physical Development Curriculum for PK and JK, click here.
To download the Physical Education Curriculum for SK - Grade 5, click here.
Godly Play class is for PK – Grade 3. The Godly Play room filled with beautiful materials that await to guide them on their journey. Godly Play introduces students to an exploration of faith and God that is inclusive of the Judeo-Christian tradition and is ecumenical in nature. It leaves room for open, respectful conversation about how individual families celebrate their faith.
Godly Play is a Montessori-style learning experience that involves interaction with the lessons. The curriculum focuses on the recognition that children have an innate sense of the presence of God. Most children, however, do not possess the appropriate vocabulary to help them identify and express this presence, such that it can be explored and strengthened within the life of the child. The Godly Play approach teaches classic Christian language in a way that enhances the child’s authentic experience of God, thus contributing to the creative life of the child and of the world.
Godly Play teaches children the art of using Christian language—parable, sacred story, silence and liturgical action—to help them become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives. The Christian language learned within the Godly Play curriculum is learned as a means to know God, and to make meaning of the life God has given. It’s about understanding how each of the stories of God’s people connects with the child’s own experience and relationship with God.
Sacred Studies in Grades 4 and 5 incorporates some use of Godly Play in addition to teaching basic tenants of the Christian faith, comparative explorations of other faith traditions, and the sacraments and liturgy of the Episcopal Church.
Pre-Kindergarten and Junior Kindergarten: The Spanish Language Program presents Spanish in a natural way using conversation, repetition and visual motivation through songs, games, story telling, flashcards, and more. The content of lessons mirrors the Big Day preschool themes. Children learn basic communication and vocabulary skills. Lessons emphasize correct pronunciation of the words. Additionally, students create projects to the reinforce language and social-emotional development in alignment with NAEYC standards. Our students also take part in our Spanish Fair as a way to learn about the Hispanic culture through traditional dances and songs performed on La Feria de la Hispanidad.
Senior Kindergarten - Grade 5: Language is an important aspect of any culture, and at St. Stephen’s the Hispanic Culture is enjoyed and expressed in various ways based on the students’ levels of proficiency. St. Stephen’s students live in South Florida where Spanish proves to be a necessity. Miami is the gateway to Latin American countries and many of our families represent these cultures. Our Spanish program capitalizes on that fact creating a vibrant mosaic blending various cultural contributions. To focus on conversational proficiency, the school sets aside one day each week to use the Spanish language wherever possible: in line, on the playground, at lunch, and Flag Salute.
In order to have our students develop their linguistic potential, the Spanish Program consists of two tracks: Spanish for Native Speakers and Non-Native Speakers. Both tracks are mindful of students’ needs and challenges. On one hand, students, whose first language is not Spanish, have the opportunity to learn the basic vocabulary and grammatical structures that will allow them to function in common interactions such as ordering food, buying clothes, asking for information over the phone, describe feelings and their surroundings, and the like. Even though we put an emphasis on oral communication, reading and writing are not neglected, and these skills are systematically practiced.
On the other hand, students, whose first language is Spanish or have an exceptional command of the language, focus on further developing their oral communication skills as well as reading and writing strategies. Beginning in second grade, the program progressively promotes literary analysis of various genres ranging from fables to the classics in Latin American and Spanish Literature. Students examine geography and the diverse vocabulary from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries to celebrate each country’s uniqueness.
Using project-based learning, iPads, and Rosetta Stone, students showcase their Spanish proficiency academically and culturally. Students recite poems and traditional chants, take part in plays with historic backgrounds, explore the Hispanic World through academic projects and presentations, and live out the customs through traditional dances and songs performed on La Feria de la Hispanidad. As a part of our Episcopal Identity, students compare religions with El Dia de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead celebration and Christmas caroling. The program aims to provide a sound foundation and reinforcement of the Spanish language as well as serving as preparation for the second language demands at the middle and high school levels.
Herb and Vegetable Garden
The primary students care for our living gardens. The students grow vegetables like broccoli to watch it bloom into a flower with huge leaves. They are responsible for watering and maintaining their garden. The pumpkin patch is a dedicated special area of the garden where students study life cycles. Students watch as the pumpkins decompose, and then investigate the types of insects that facilitate this process. The pumpkin patch is revisited in the fall as the life cycle comes full circle. As part of our dedication to green living, we collect rainwater in barrels to reuse and water our garden.
Our students love to get their hands in the dirt. They learn to harvest, pull weeds, and water all of our diverse plants. The chef uses herbs and vegetables from the garden daily, so the students are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. There is a direct connection between nutrition education and gardening at St. Stephen’s. As students study the different food groups, they learn to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Not all of our plants are edible, in fact, some plants are carnivorous themselves! Mrs. Zepeda brings in unique plants like the Venus Flytrap and the Pitcher plant to demonstrate this to the students.
Our entire school is a butterfly garden! Special plants have been strategically planted all over campus for the butterflies. We educate students on the types of plants butterflies need to survive. There are actually different plants that play a role in the butterfly life cycle! In order to complete the metamorphic cycle, butterflies need flowering nectar plants (which serves as food) and many larvae plants (in order to lay eggs and have a food source for the tiny caterpillars).
St. Stephen’s serves as a butterfly sanctuary, and we often spot rare and endangered species such as the Atala, Gulf Fritillary, Queen and Monarch here on campus. While butterflies are found all over campus, the path that the students take to the playground is formally known as “Butterfly Lane”. The students are delighted to be surrounded by these amazing creatures.