A Classical School:
The Neumann School curriculum has been assembled with three main goals. First, our students are given a rigorous foundation in the major subjects that will support their future education, especially language arts and mathematics. This includes the study of Latin beginning in the second grade. Second, we broaden our students’ experience through singing and understanding music, reading literature, exploring history, studying nature, and giving them their first glimpses of great visual art. For example, our students learn music through the Ward Method of voice training. Science instruction begins with nature study. Finally, we lay the foundations for the Catholic faith through daily prayer, including the age-old Latin prayers of the Church, catechesis, and integration of a Catholic understanding into all aspects of the curriculum.
Our Lower School teaches children through the grammar stage (currently through 1st grade; in future, through grade 5). The grammar stage involves mastering the mechanics of language. During this stage, our scholars focus on reading and writing. Proficiency in reading and writing is emphasized because it is essential to all other studies. Latin is introduced early to assist your child in this process. As the language of science, we also promote mastery of mathematics.
The primary grades (1-3) use the Horizons math series, an accelerated mathematics program. Horizons introduces and reinforces concepts, leading to the mastery of mathematical content. We prepare the children to begin Saxon math in grade 4. At this point, the children will be taught a grade level ahead.
We continue phonics review and work on spelling skills. Students expand their vocabulary and master the rules of English grammar. In grade 1 children practice their printed penmanship. Cursive instruction begins in grade 2.
- Spelling Workout series (Modern Curriculum Press)
- Vocabulary from Classical Roots series (Educators Publishing Service)
- Voyages in English series (Loyola Press)
- Copybooks & New American Cursive series (Memoria Press)
Grades 1 (and 2) develop and practice their reading skills. The children use readers as well as stand alone books from our instructional collection. We introduce the use of workbooks for reading comprehension. Children read and memorize psalms and poems.
- Faith and Freedom Basic Readers, second and third grade readers (Ginn and Company, reprinted by Seton Press)
- StoryTime Treasures Student Guide (Memoria Press)
In grades 3-5 children start reading great works of literature. Examples of books used include Aesop’s Fables (Handsford), Charlotte’s Web (White), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Lewis), Little House in the Big Woods (Wilder), The Hobbit (Tolkien), A Christmas Carol (Dickens) and others.
In grades 3-5 children continue to memorize poetry of increasing complexity and literary merit. We emphasize elocution. Children analyze meter and rhyme through their study of poems such as Jabberwocky (Carroll), The Tyger (Blake), The Charge of the Light Brigade (Tennyson), The Road Not Taken (Frost), Pied Beauty (Hopkins), and others.
Little Oaks and grade 1 children are introduced to Latin through prayers, hymns and phrases. More formal Latin instruction begins in grade 2 (and higher). We will use the Latina Christiana series (Memoria Press). We supplement translation work and choir instruction with Lingua Angelica (Memoria Press), so that the children will have a strong grounding in the liturgical language of the Roman Catholic faith.
Children continue nature study in the Lower School years. They develop their observational and recording skills. They experience wild and curated nature through nature walks and field trips to the New York Botanical Gardens and the Bronx Zoo. With a strong foundation in local natural history, the children prepare for a more systematic study of the major scientific disciplines beginning in grade 4. The children will be introduced to geology, chemistry, biology, and physics using the Delta Science series (Delta Education).
History & Geography
We emphasize Ancient history, especially Greek and Roman. We use the award winning series The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child (Peace Hill Press). Each year we will explore one major epoch in world history. We also provide instruction in United States history and New York state history. Lower School students will study important national holidays and key American figures. Children continue using maps to provide a spatial framework to their temporal framework.
Children are introduced to French language and grammar with a fluent French-speaking instructor three days per week. The French program incorporates aspects of French culture through music and literature.
Art & Art History
We supplement our study of History by exposing the children to key works of art and architecture specific to the epoch covered in their current grade. The Lower School students practice drawing in Art and Nature Study classes. Observation, description, and imitation of both art and nature are key components of their learning. In older grades, students will receive formal instruction in proper proportions, shading, and perspective. The children also take part in a hands-on arts and crafts class once per week.
Children sing in the Ward Method music program. The children also study and learn to identify compositions by the great Western composers.
Catechesis and Religion
Children participate weekly in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Children say prayers in Latin and English on a daily basis. We read aloud to them regularly from the Golden Press Bible for children. We use the Faith and Life catechetical series (Ignatius Press) starting in grade 1. We provide preparation for the sacraments of Confession and First Holy Communion.