IHM offers a pre-school program and classes from kindergarten through the eighth grade. The pre-school introduces the benefits of a Catholic education at IHM, and its curriculum is based on the physical and developmental stages of the whole child. Learning in kindergarten through fifth grade takes place in self-contained classrooms, with experienced educators providing multidisciplinary instruction. For sixth grade through eighth grade, Middle School, students move from classroom to classroom, where they are taught by specialists in their subject areas. In addition to the core curriculum, kindergarten through eighth grade students receive specialized, grade level-appropriate instruction in art, music, gym, computers, foreign language, and library science.
IHM's religious education program provides its students with an ongoing opportunity to learn about the Church and the Gospel of the Lord. Liturgy is a primary focus. Eucharistic liturgies are celebrated monthly in Church as well as classroom Masses. Reconciliation, prayer services and observance of the liturgical seasons provide opportunities for students to meet and know Jesus. Second grade students are prepared to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Eucharist. In the classroom, through the use of religious textbooks and other activities, the children are instructed in the fundamental doctrine of the Catholic Church and made aware of their responsibility to God's creation. Instruction in Family Life is provided to allow students to gain a fuller appreciation of the role of the family and their own personal responsibilities. Community service is achieved through active outreach to others through class projects, the Holy Childhood Association program, student government-sponsored activities and through holiday sharing.
The mathematics program blends the Common Core Standards through our newly revised curriculum in conjunction with Notre Dame University with competency in mastering basic skills. Students discover the value of mathematics in their lives, develop a solid sense of numbers and build competence and confidence to compute, estimate, reason, and communicate to solve real life problems. Accelerated studies in Pre-Algebra and Algebra I are offered to Middle School students.
The science curriculum integrates the individual with his physical environment. In an inquiry-based science program, including a fully functioning science lab, students develop an understanding of science concepts through their own investigation and analyses, reading assignments, and Internet technology. Utilizing the Full Option Science System (FOSS), students learn to appreciate science through a hands-on approach to study using field-tested materials.
The literacy curriculum emphasizes the process of reading, writing, grammar and composition. Spelling, reference and study skills, and oral expression are included in the curriculum. Our curriculum has newly been revised to align with Common Core Standards. This curriculum has been done in conjunction with Notre Dame University through the ACE initiative. We incorporate language arts and reading throughout the subjects.
IHM has been awarded "Star School" status in the Diocese of Paterson for its Improvement in Writing Skills program which places particular emphasis on the ability to communicate through writing. Communication skills, introduced at the primary level, are reinforced at the elementary level through oral presentation and the use of technology. Skills are refined further in Middle School by putting communication and leadership to work through activities like the school newspaper and Student Council.
At IHM, reading is ultimately linked with every subject in the curriculum. A variety of reading experiences provide the means by which each student can develop and master skills at a personal rate of progress. The curriculum stresses reading of quality literature selections coupled with a balance of sight word and phonics instruction. This approach is intended to provide students with the opportunity for both discovery and systematic learning that will enable them to construct, critically examine, and apply meaning as they develop into readers and writers. Recreational reading, book reports and instruction in literary technique supplement and enrich the reading program. In the Middle School, the students study literature with the goal of developing their comprehension though critical analysis of the works read.
Each grade has weekly library time and the teachers use different approaches to develop and encourage a love of reading. The programs emphasize recreational reading by providing time both during and outside of school for students to read books and periodicals of their choice. Formal library skills are taught, including on-line cataloging skills, and the use of the dictionary, thesaurus and other research materials. Students are instructed in how to properly prepare a formal research paper in order to provide them with the skills they will need for higher education and beyond.
The social studies curriculum combines history, geography, current events, map and globe skills. The student is led to understand his place in society through the study of relationships beginning with the family and growing into the community, the nation, and the world. The study of humanity's progress and setbacks leads the student to sensitivity for mankind's universal concerns.
Weekly Spanish instruction is introduced in the first grade. A more formal approach with textbook study begins in the fourth grade. The curriculum offers a balanced approach to the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing and incorporates a broader perspective of the culture through the learning of traditional songs and participation in common rituals and customs.
Art classes meet weekly. Creativity is fostered and encouraged in the art program through the use of various media and techniques.
Art projects are arranged to coordinate with other areas of the curriculum, for example, construction of teepees for study of Native Americans, papier-mâché astronauts for the study of space, patterns and shapes that correlate with the math curriculum, and studying the art of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian while studying the 1920's in social studies.
IHM offers state-of-the-art computer technology so students may learn life-long skills in acquiring information and communicating effectively. Classrooms are equipped with the appropriate computer hardware and software to support learning at each grade level. The computer lab contains 26 Pentium-based personal computers. IHM's program is designed to provide a foundation in computer literacy, to introduce basic programming and to provide instruction in word processing, database, spreadsheets, and presentation software. Computers are also utilized as reinforcement and enrichment tools in other areas of the curriculum. Classrooms are equipped with new teaching stations that include interactive whiteboards. In addition, all teachers from Pre-K through grade eight are trained and utilize Discovery Education's unitedstreaming online digital video library. These digital video resources contain educationally-supported content that is linked to the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards. IHM's faculty pays close attention to students with learning disabilities, and the digital media on unitedstreaming has provided another avenue through which to differentiate instruction for those students and improve their chances for success.
Music classes meet weekly. Music instruction includes music theory, history and appreciation. Christmas and Spring concert productions showcase student achievement and provide the opportunity for the sharing of special talents. Instrumental music is offered to students in the first through the eighth grades during regular school hours, enabling these students to appreciate the discipline and dedication required to play an instrument.
The physical education program strives to develop the total person physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially through a series of planned activities which include team sports, gymnastics, calisthenics, large class acitivities and games. An annual Field Day culminates the year's activities.