Elementary and Upper School Program (Grades 1-8)

The goal of Good Shepherd School is to help families educate and form their children so that children can successfully go on to further liberal arts studies.  We educate the whole child, cultivating academic excellence and the practice of virtue.

Culture: We foster a peaceful, joyful environment where children develop good habits and discipline while supported by their teachers and classmates. Elementary and Upper School classes expand upon the Grace and Courtesy lessons first given at the Primary level into a study and practice of virtue. We uphold and enrich our families’ own home lives, rather than becoming a focal point of our own. For example, the assignment of homework will be made with careful consideration. It is important for our students to have most of their evenings and weekends available for time with their families.

Religious Education/Formation: GSS incorporates Catholic Catechesis of the Good Shepherd as the principle catechesis for our school. Each of our lead teachers has extensive catechetic experience.  Children receiving First Holy Communion will still receive the Sacrament through their parish.

Literature-based: Our curriculum is literature-based. When children read classic works of literature they are immersed in wonderful language, a wide array of disciplines to study, and many expressions of human nature.

History: Elementary and Upper School students study the people, places, and events that have shaped Western Civilization.  We follow the classical cycle covering Ancient Civilizations, Medieval and Renaissance History, the Industrial and Modern Eras, and American History.

Mathematics: Our Elementary mathematics curriculum include manipulative materials, especially for lower elementary students, and will respect the development of the child’s thinking from concrete to abstract. Regular and structured times for practice will be built into each day.  Teachers will work with individual students or with small groups of students who are at a similar level.

Language: Proficiency in the English language is be developed through narration and the recitation of poetry.  The practices of repeating aloud the words of poets and masters of prose and of carefully writing down what is heard will be used to form students’ understanding of grammar and syntax, and build upon phonetic tools, spelling, and cursive handwriting. Upper School students begin to hone their composition skills with a focus on logical thought progression, word choice, and a fluent use of grammar and syntax.

Latin: Latin is taught to Elementary children at GSS, through  various modalities that respect their development. Prayers, hymns and chant, and parts of the Mass will all build familiarity and vocabulary in even the youngest students. Upper School students begin a more formal study of Latin.

Nature Study: A love for nature is emphasized throughout all levels. As the Fathers of the Church expressed so beautifully, God’s hand is found throughout Creation. The order, beauty, and goodness of the natural world prepare us to understand the supernatural world.  Students will be given a solid foundation for future scientific studies.

Art and Music: Students experience fine art through appreciation and by doing.  Art in all its forms will be infused into the classroom, through direct lessons and extensions upon the other subject areas. Work includes drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, choral work, orchestra pieces, and music theory.

Outdoor Activities: Students have have plenty of time to work and exercise outside. Ample freedom of movement and time to explore will be incorporated into the day.

Handicrafts: Just as our Primary students practice Practical Life skills, Elementary and Upper School students learn crafts that expand their skills, independence, perseverance, attention to detail, and contemplation. Students try their hands at gardening, woodworking, wool carding, spinning, and weaving,  knitting, crocheting, pottery, embroidery and more.