MIDDLETOWN, NJ, July 25, 2022—Saint Mary School has introduced a new curriculum with a strong emphasis on the classical liberal arts and sciences designed to more fully engage young learners. Firmly grounded in the rich intellectual tradition of the Catholic Church, this educational model challenges students in grades pre-K through 8 to think deeply and participate in lively discussions through studies of classical literature, history, Latin, science, mathematics, and culture.
Launching in September, the new curriculum incorporates best practices of the Catholic intellectual tradition that has placed the church at the heart of inspired learning for hundreds of years. “A renewed emphasis on the classical approach to education distinguishes schools like Saint Mary School from our secular counterparts,” explained Craig Palmer, principal of Saint Mary School. “The emphasis shifts from simply achieving high test scores to cultivating joy in learning through analytical thinking, debate, and compassion for others. These skills are critical in high school and college, but more importantly, in helping to shape a more fair and just world.”
A central theme of the curriculum is that God is present in all people and in every aspect of the world around us, according to Rev. Jeffrey Kegley, director of Saint Mary School and pastor of Saint Mary Parish. “The Catholic intellectual tradition has been the gold standard of education for centuries, creating some of the finest minds our world has known,” Fr. Kegley said. “At Saint Mary, God is at the very heart of everything our students learn. In returning to this time-tested educational tradition, we acknowledge the importance of the human spirit and formation of each student. This curriculum prepares our students, not just for college and paid employment, but to live meaningful lives.”
Saint Mary School teachers have participated in professional development training to prepare for the new curriculum through the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education (ICLE), which has emerged as a resource for Catholic schools seeking to bring this educational model to life in their classrooms. Over the past decade, ICLE has seen skyrocketing demand from schools across the nation seeking to renew their curricula. Schools that have transitioned to this model have reported increased enrollment, stronger parish communities, and higher standardized test scores.
“The Catholic intellectual tradition creates a richer educational environment,” Palmer noted. “Students read more and are encouraged to ask questions and debate important topics. As a result, classrooms are livelier and extremely interactive, challenging young learners to think for themselves as they explore and find their place in the world God has created.”
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ABOUT SAINT MARY SCHOOL
Founded in 1953, Saint Mary School in Middletown, NJ, offers a dynamic Catholic curriculum integrating faith and reason for children in grades pre-K through eight. Within our vibrant community of faith, the school’s emphasis on the classical study of the liberal arts and sciences teaches students to think deeply as they explore God’s presence in every aspect of their lives and the world at large. As a result of this engaging and challenging educational approach, Saint Mary School is considered a preeminent Catholic school in the region.