St. Paul employs a strong partnership between homeroom and co-curricular classrooms, as we believe a child’s education extends beyond the foundational pieces of reading, writing, and mathematics. Our strong co-curricular program includes fine arts, music, physical education, library, and STEAM programming, which all allow children to expand their horizons and discover specific areas where they thrive.
Because we believe that reading is the foundation for a child’s academic development, St. Paul’s library program is of paramount importance in a student’s journey, from junior kindergarten through 6th grade. Our goal is for children to love and enjoy reading, in addition to understanding the resources of our C.S. Lewis Library.
The lower school library time is designed to excite students on the subject of reading and expose them to different genres of literature during read-aloud storytime. With faculty assistance, students become more independent each year in selecting books from the library that ignite their personal interests in reading, all while fostering curiosity and confidence.
As students progress to the upper school, we believe it’s important for students to have time to enjoy independent reading as well as take advantage of the library’s resources. As a result, we intentionally create space in their schedule to be introduced to new genres and encourage them to develop and pursue their own literary interest.
At St. Paul, students enjoy weekly music classes where they sing, play instruments, read music, explore different genres, and incorporate motions. Children study the history and language of music while simultaneously applying their knowledge to performances. New skills are introduced in different grade levels as children mature, and at the end of the semester, they have the opportunity to perform in the Christmas program or Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day program.
In sixth-grade, students have the option to pursue specialized music courses. They can study violin as an elective, which meets four times through each school week. These students learn techniques, build upon notation and theory studies, and perform at St. Paul special occasions throughout the year. Another sixth-grade elective is songwriting. This popular class is a fun way to combine the rich history of Nashville with education through the art of musical composition and self-expression through song.
St. Paul acknowledges the strong correlation between physical activity and increased brain development, so all students participate in physical education (PE) classes every day. Our goal is to help children learn balance, coordination, agility, and overall body control that will benefit them in all areas of life. We want every child to be confident in his or her physical abilities and have a positive body image.
While instructors stress the importance of movement, they also place a heavy emphasis on teamwork, resiliency, sportsmanship, and leadership development. Teachers understand that every student is different, and rather than comparing students with one another, they gauge individual progress and celebrate personal accomplishments.
STEAM is an interdisciplinary approach to learning that is designed to prepare students for successful careers in the modern workforce. When each of the five disciplines is taught in an integrated way, students are better able to appreciate how each part is necessary for the success of any complex, real-world project.
STEAM education seeks to teach students to be creative, innovative, critical thinkers––all skills necessary for adapting to change. Students engage in project-based learning, where teams work together to seek multiple solutions to engineering challenges. They learn that failure is part of the process, and it is important to try again to improve upon ideas. Ultimately, STEAM education equips students with the creative critical-thinking skills necessary to become future innovators and leaders.
In visual arts classes, students participate in creative activities that explore the elements of art and principles of design. As children make artwork, they learn about art history, influential artists, and various skills and techniques. In the younger grades, art is literature-based. Students read books and create coordinating projects that reflect reading comprehension, learned art techniques, and creative skills. Overall, we strive to build an environment where students develop an appreciation for art and practice creative expression.