Unique among its peers, Norwood-Fontbonne Academy offers parents the choice of two creative interactive learning options for our youngest children from three year olds to third graders. Parents select either the Montessori program or Pre-primary /Primary program for the initial formation of their young child. Our three to five year-olds gather daily for their classes in the four “little” Houses, two of which are located on each campus: the White House and Stone House on the Norwood Campus and the Carriage House and Gate House on the Fontbonne Campus. As six year-olds or first graders, the children move to the second floor of the Fontbonne building for the Primary program (Grades 1 to 3) or Junior Level Montessori (6- to 9- year-olds).
Common components in the Lower Grades
- Enrichment Programs: All students in the Lower Grades participate in enrichment programs presented by specialists for music, art, physical education, media studies (library science and technology), and Spanish. For three and four year-olds, some of these are monthly sessions; all become weekly beginning with the five year-olds as Lunchbunchers and Kindergarteners.
- Forming friendships: Though students have different learning programs, children in the various age groups share educational and socialization experiences to create friendships within and across age levels. Weekly the Primary and Junior Level Montessori classes have “mix-up” day in the Dining Room. Grouped by age, they eat lunch and share recess together. For special events such as All Saints Day, Christmas plays, and Sacramental preparation, first through third graders share common experiences with the Junior Level Montessori children to nourish their relationships.
- One with the Whole School: Early on the youngest children sense that they are part of the whole school that is NFA. Often their enrichment classes bring the three to five year olds into the JAH gym or the music room in the Fontbonne building or the library in the Big House. While walking the corridors for enrichment, they see the “big kids.” Five year olds along with first through third graders and the Junior Level Montessori children cheer at the pep rallies for seasonal sports teams, pray with the school at liturgy, and join special assemblies to hear a new book author or attend an earth day play. Some classes have formed prayer partners such as the seventh grade with the Kindergartners. These opportunities nurture family-like caring and pride as the both the big and little watch each other grow!
A Norwood-Fontbonne Academy student experiences differentiated and individualized instruction along with experiential learning. Field experiences and assemblies are designed to support the students’ curriculum. NFA students study Religion, Integrated Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. The curriculum is enriched by Music, Art, Physical Education, Media Studies (Library Science and Technology), and Spanish. Spanish is formally introduced to 3-year-old students through sixth grade. Spanish is taught as a major subject to students in the seventh and eighth grades. Additional grade level enrichments include: Keyboarding, Organization, and Study Skills.
Currently, NFA subscribes to an electronic math computation program entitled IXL. All 3-year-olds through eighth grade students have login and password access. In addition to personal student practice, the program allows administrators and teachers to generate multiple reports that enable instruction to target particular skills. During the academic year, teachers may assign IXL practicing for homework after they have taught a particular concept or skill.
The curricular programs at Norwood-Fontbonne Academy challenge all students to maximize their individual potential. Class size is small enough that teachers can tailor instruction to meet individual learning modalities.