“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
The most important thing we teach our students at CCA is to love Jesus and get to know Him in a personal way. We want our students to see God’s love through all aspects of their experience here at Calvary Christian Academy, from their teachers to their classmates, to their curriculum. It is our desire that the glory of God shines throughout our school. The cornerstone of this mission is the teaching of the Bible. Together with our pastors, we have designed a curriculum that is developmentally appropriate and highlights a personal God whose has and is acting in ways for our future and hope (Jer. 29:11).
The youth pastors of Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia worked with us to outline the Bible into a series of God’s “acts” that displays our God as an active, present and caring God throughout time. The “acts” provide our students with the knowledge of how the Bible works together to express why we needed a Savior to come and how and why we are awaiting His return.
Scope and Sequence:
Kindergarten: Introduction and a brief overview of all the “Acts.”
1st Grade: Act I & Act II – Creation & the Fall
2nd Grade: Act III – God calls His people to Himself (part 1)
3rd Grade: Act III – God calls His people to Himself (part 2)
4th Grade: Act IV – God sends the Savior
5th Grade: Act V – The Holy Spirit comes
6th Grade: Act VI – Jesus returns for His bride – the church
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
In the elementary school, we place significant emphasis on our language arts program in a desire to train up successful and effective communicators. Communication is an essential life skill that enables our students to function independently, build relationships, problem solve, express their creativity and communicate the love of Christ to others. CCA’s elementary school presents a balanced approach to teaching literacy with the goal in mind that our students become strategic and autonomous readers and writers. Curriculum and instructional methodologies are chosen to best address each essential area of the language arts.
In the early elementary years, we focus on the skills and concepts within the phonetic structure of the English language. This explicit and systematic program is presented using a multisensory approach that engages all students at all levels of language learning. The goal of this program is to equip each student with the skills and knowledge of the structure of language. Students will integrate these skills in an authentic way in their reading and writing. We also incorporate Guided Reading to provide teachers the opportunity to differentiate reading instruction based upon their students’ varied skill levels.
Our upper elementary program focuses on the review and mastery of the major parts of speech, sentence structure, types of sentences and proper language mechanics. The overall goal of this program is to solidify a firm foundation of the English language and to develop and enrich student writing.
Across the elementary school, CCA incorporates the following programs:
A comprehension program is designed to expose our students to a variety of authors and genres in children’s literature. Reading environments are created in a way to cultivate a learning community of respectful readers, listeners, and speakers. Students are guided and supported to achieve comprehension on an independent level through developmentally appropriate texts. Our children’s literature is chosen thoughtfully and instruction is filtered through a biblical worldview. It is our desire that this program fosters a love for reading that in turn, produces life-long readers.
A vocabulary program is incorporated utilizing direct instruction in word meanings. Activities are created that require students to think deeply about words and use them in purposeful interaction.
A writing program is designed to equip students with the skills necessary to write clearly, creatively and purposefully. Mentor texts are used to model the crafts and conventions of writing. Spelling and handwriting are also incorporated into the curriculum to further solidify proper and effective communication.
“But all things should be done decently and in order.” I Corinthians 14:40
Our God is a God of order. We see this expressed throughout Scripture as God utilizes mathematics to convey spiritual principles and to accomplish His will. In the Bible we see God utilize math to teach forgiveness (seventy times seven), to express how well He knows His children (even the hairs on our heads are numbered) and to encourage us to live a righteous life (teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom). If mathematics has relevance in Scripture, we believe it to have significant application in and for our lives.
It is the desire of our elementary school teachers to open their students’ eyes and minds to this application. They do this by challenging the students with interesting and thought-provoking questions each day and keeping them actively engaged through the use of manipulatives and activities that activate prior knowledge. Teachers also seek to present a balanced approach between skill-based instruction and math reasoning using formative assessments and collaborative activities.
CCA’s elementary school implements a traditional math program. In the primary grades, a foundation of number sense is developed. As students progress through elementary school, they gain practical math applications to everyday life, while building upon basic computational skills that garner increased sophistication with each year. The culmination of our elementary math program is a comprehensive understanding of basic algebraic and geometric skills necessary to prepare our students for success in junior high school mathematics classes.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1-3
At CCA we teach science from the biblical perspective of Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” CCA’s biblical worldview allows our teachers to use Scripture and science to answer the most fundamental of questions – “How do you know?” The purpose of elementary science program is to provide students with an understanding of the natural world as it was designed and put into place by the Words of God. We stand in awe of God’s powerful and creative nature.
In the elementary school, we have the joy of introducing science and its varied categories to our students. The scientific method is taught and utilized as the students are given ample opportunity to explore, experience, observe, and analyze particular phenomenon in the areas of life, earth, and physical sciences. Students are engaged in scientifically oriented questions and are taught to give priority to evidence. They are given the opportunity to communicate their findings and provide justifications for their conclusions. Secular theories are discussed, examined and filtered through Scripture so that our students are able to defend their faith and belief in the biblical truth of creation.
“Things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.” Psalm 78:3-4
History is presented to our students as an account of God’s work in the lives of mankind. From the creation of astronomy, topography, animal life and human life, God’s Word is the primary resource for teaching social studies at CCA. The Bible is a record book of God’s work and documentation of His faithfulness to mankind.
The study of history provides our students with an opportunity to explore their own identity, not only in Christ but also within society. Students are able to see the value in good citizenship and proper judgment. The study of maps and the globe are taught to develop our students’ spatial thinking skills. Such skills are invaluable in an ever increasingly global and technological society.
As students progress through CCA’s elementary school social studies curriculum, they will gain a better understanding of their own country and culture in comparison to those throughout the world. Appreciation and admiration for one’s own heritage as well as respect for other cultures are emphasized. Ancient civilizations and their impact on the world at large are analyzed. Cultures around the world are explored with attention to how other religions compare to Christianity and how historical facts ground our faith in reality.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
At CCA we believe that God created all things. The entirety of our visible and invisible universe was created by Him. Using art to glorify our God and Creator is a core objective of CCA’s elementary art program. As students become more adept at recognizing and identifying visual art in our culture, they will have a larger scope through which they can worship and glorify God.
CCA’s elementary art program facilitates an appreciation for artwork of all styles and backgrounds, while developing a creative outlet for students to communicate their own ideas. Students will have an opportunity to enhance their motor skills, methods of observation, and problem-solving techniques. Through the study of art history, students will discover that art has had an indelible effect on culture and can connect to all subject areas.
CCA’s elementary students will be able to recognize and identify how visual art can be used as a tool for: expression of our beliefs, aiding in Christian discernment, connection to our community, and fostering a response to our relationship with an infinite personal Creator. Each school year, the elementary art department hosts an annual Art Show to celebrate our students’ hard work and beautiful accomplishments.
“Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.”
Jesus is the reason for the joyful noise that bursts forth from Calvary’s Performing Arts Center. Music is a gift and the aim of our band program is to acknowledge, appreciate and develop the God given talents of our students in the area of instrumental music. Music is one of the few things we do on earth that Scripture tells us we will do in heaven. With this in mind, we encourage our students to praise and worship God now through instrumental music and to consider the glory and honor that brings Him.
At CCA we praise and honor God not only through the making of music, but through all the benefits that making music affords. Band in particular fosters teamwork, discipline, self-confidence and extends our students’ learning through the increased brain activity that the making of music promotes.
CCA offers elementary band at the following levels:
4th-6th grade beginner band
5th-6th grade advanced band
6th grade jazz band
Our elementary students are introduced to band instruments at the end of third grade by CCA’s Senior High Jazz Band. They play songs and demonstrate the different instruments for our third graders to see, hear and enjoy. This performance inspires the third graders and builds excitement for the students to enroll in band in the fall of fourth grade. Participation in elementary band is open to students in fourth through sixth grades. Students at the beginning level, generally our fourth grade students, are taught the language of music and the basics of reading music and theory. Second and third year players are introduced to sheet music, playing with harmonies, intonation, playing in tune and balancing their sound with the others in the band. When students reach sixth grade they have the choice to audition for jazz band. Within jazz band, the students are introduced to the 12-bar blues chord progression. They begin the process of improvising the Blues Scale and experience the joy of creating their own unique sounds. The study of jazz in the elementary school is kept to the genre of swing. All our band students participate in the Christmas and spring concerts.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
Life’s daily activities require a certain level of computing. Computational thinking involves problem solving, persistence, creativity, collaboration and communication. These are the mental muscles that are flexed within our elementary computer program. Students in grades two through six attend computer class. CCA’s Elementary Computer Lab houses 28 computers and utilizes software applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher and PowerPoint, as well as Adobe Photoshop and Scratch. Mavis Beacon software is utilized on a regular basis to introduce and hone our students’ typing skills.
Throughout second, third, and fourth grades an emphasis is placed on computer literacy. Students are introduced to the basic concepts, functions and proper use of a computer and are trained in various software applications. Hands-on experience supports a more thorough understanding and retention of the digital concepts. Principles of computer science are introduced to students in grades five and six. Opportunities for digital creativity and problem solving are enhanced as students are exposed to more challenging projects and software. Each year our school participates in The Hour of Code and utilizes that time to highlight the practicality of code and its purpose and place in our digital world.
Netiquette, Internet safety and the proper way to conduct an Internet search is emphasized on a regular basis. Teaching our students how to use a computer safely and responsibly is a primary objective of our computer curriculum and instruction. Skills that are taught and practiced in CCA’s Computer Lab are a benefit to our students across the curriculum and provide a new avenue for our learners to express their creativity in a digital way.
“To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;” Proverbs 1:2
As our students emerge as readers, CCA’s library provides them with fun reading material on various reading levels. The library offers a wide variety of reading materials to challenge and enrich their lives. It is our hope that students are not only reading to learn, but also reading for enjoyment. As they grow as readers, the library staff is constantly striving to encourage our students to be discerning life-long learners and readers. The books in our library are carefully selected, but parents are greatly encouraged to talk to their children about what they reading and to discuss and enjoy the books together. Each school year our library sponsors a themed, reading incentive program. Students keep track of the number of pages they have read and totals are calculated per grade. A reading celebration is held each spring, where the reaching of our reading goals are celebrated in fun and exciting ways.
Teaching information literacy is another objective of CCA’s library program. In our information rich world, our librarian seeks to teach our students to research effectively and use information with integrity by citing sources used. Beginning in fourth grade, students are introduced to our research and citation subscription, Noodle Tools. Students create an account and are coached through the program from the basics of the research process to digital note cards, outlining, Google Docs and MLA citations. Noodle Tools has multiple levels, including Starter, Junior and Advanced that grow with our students and provide more detailed help as their needs evolve and change. Students are also taught effective search techniques and how to use our database, Power Library for deeper research. The Librarian also teaches lessons on plagiarism, good note taking skills, speaking for an audience, and other important skills needed to communicate information in a media rich world.
Our school also participates in the Philadelphia Intermediate Reading Olympics (grades 4-6) and the Philadelphia Junior High Reading Olympics (grades 7-8). These teams meet during the school year and then compete in the spring. Along with their coaches, the teams travel to a local university to compete against other elementary and middle school students and answer questions about the books that they have read.
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” Psalm 95:1
Music is a modality through which we can praise and worship our God and Creator. It is a means of communicating the greatness and glory of God not only to Him, but also a means to communicate about Him to others. CCA recognizes the importance of music in the lives of our students. Through music instruction, we seek to teach our students the attributes of God through comprehension of the lyrics of the Psalms of David and through other songs of worship. Classical music is introduced and themes are analyzed. Research attests to the impact of music education on language development and increased brain activity. CCA values the impact of music in our students’ spiritual and academic lives and seeks to provide multiple opportunities for students to engage in music while in school. From music classes to Christmas and spring concerts, to the upper elementary school choir, students have many opportunities for music learning and expression at Calvary Christian Academy.
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”I Corinthians 6: 19-20
CCA’s Elementary Physical Education curriculum and instruction recognizes God as the Creator of our bodies. Students are encouraged to honor God through their play and to treat teammates and opponents with kindness and respect. Honoring God with their bodies through words and actions within competition is highlighted as well the importance of teamwork and determination.
Regular movement, activity and exercise are essential to a child’s health and development. Strong connections have been found between learning and exercise. Active students are more engaged, better able to concentrate and express feelings of well-being. CCA’s physical education curriculum utilizes age appropriate play to cultivate our students’ skills as they grow and develop. Sports, games and activities are a training ground for our elementary students to develop lifelong patterns of fitness.
CCA’s Physical Education Department hosts Field Day at the end of the school year. Field Day is the perfect opportunity to corporately enjoy games and competition as well as display the God-honoring characteristics of good sportsmanship.
“Let them Praise HIS name with dancing.…” Psalm 149:3
Praise Dance is not just one form of dance. It is WORSHIP that incorporates various dance forms. While Praise Dance is drawn from many styles of dance, the purpose of the dance is singular – to glorify GOD. CCA’s dance curriculum incorporates the training of students in various techniques found within such forms of dance as ballet, lyrical, jazz/hip-hop and folk. Learning technical skills and making biblical/spiritual connections between the movement and the Scriptural inspiration are primary objectives of CCA’s Praise Dance.
CCA believes that our creative gifts were given to us so that we might use them to glorify God and bless others. CCA’s Dance Recital affords our students the opportunity to engage in a ministry opportunity where God can use them to minister to others through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through our recital we have seen the Lord touch the hearts of our dancers and the audience in the following ways: salvation, comfort, peace, repentance, joy and hope! Praise Dance is about bringing glory to the LORD of the Dance and letting JESUS use our dancing to minister to others. God does the anointing, we are merely vessels.
Praise Dance is an Elementary elective open to students in grades Pre-K through 8.
An additional fee is required.
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
Language learning is an important part of a student’s general education. CCA introduces the study of Spanish in Pre-Kindergarten with introductory exposure. It is well documented that the study of a foreign language positively affects a student’s intellectual development as well as their reading and language learning in their native tongue. Throughout Kindergarten and first grade an emphasis is placed on the student’s ability to distinguish and produce linguistic sounds particular to the Spanish language. Communication skills, reading and writing in Spanish and the study of culture and community are highlighted in second and third grades.
Instructional methodologies employed in Spanish class include, but are not limed to: music, movement, story books, Scripture, games, puppets, translation and dialogue. Google Earth is utilized to provide a visual backdrop of the communities, geography and cultures of those individuals that speak the Spanish language. Beyond its academic value, the learning of a secondary language and culture opens our students’ hearts and minds to a global community, highlights the beauty of God’s diversity of design and better equips them to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ.