CURRICULUM PHILOSOPHY Preschool (ages 3 - 5) Young children are so receptive to the world around them. Virtually anything is a springboard for learning. MMSA's early learning environment reflects and responds to the unique learning abilities of children ages 3 to 5. Our teachers enhance each child's confidence and potential in the important years before kindergarten by creating thematic, inquiry-based curriculum. We see our younger students' independence blossom as they become more confident and contributing members of their families, peer groups, and school community.Lower School (K - 5) Our Lower School curriculum addresses the needs of the whole child, including intellectual, social/emotional, creative, physical, and spiritual development. Teachers combine their knowledge with students' interests to promote an academically rich and creative environment. Because young minds are highly inquisitive, our lower school emphasizes the basics - language arts, religion, reading, science, social studies, and mathematics. Weekly classes in Spanish, music, visual arts, physical education, media/technology complete our program. Opportunities are continually available for individual and collaborative learning as each child's skills are developed. From kindergarten on, weekly, hands-on experiences in not only the core content areas, but in the fine arts allow our students to become well rounded as we continue to build a positive foundation for their learning and curiosity to grow. We have high expectations for our students, and they constantly surprise us with their attitudes and achievements at an early age. Regular homework assignments in the Lower School help establish organizational skills and discipline they will need to be successful in the future. Social skills and conflict resolution based on the Responsive Classroom philosophy are modeled daily. We are always mindful that a child's early years are critical in forming attitudes toward God, themselves, others, and learning. The fact that each grade is self-contained enables these attitudes to develop in safe and positive ways. Faculty members come to know each child's strengths and weaknesses very well, and continually create opportunities for support, guidance, and tools for growth.Middle School (6 - 8) The MMSA Middle School Program is designed to meet the educational, emotional, and spiritual needs of adolescents who are often experiencing rapid physical, intellectual, and social growth. The Middle School faculty take advantage of the natural curiosity, energy, and enthusiasm of sixth through eighth graders. Our rigorous curriculum focuses on the core subjects, a disciplined manner of inquiry, individual creativity, and developing competent study habits. The faculty and administrators have developed experiences for our students that help to provide a secure base from which all of our students can grow, especially at this crucial developmental stage on their educational journey. The MMSA Middle School is designed to meet the needs of early adolescents as they experience the emergence of their own independence. Our purpose is to help each student develop their skills, an enthusiasm for learning, and the confidence and discipline to think independently and behave responsibly. Within a strong liberal arts curriculum aligned to the Minnesota State Standards, students are challenged, within their ability, to embrace new concepts and ideas, listen to others, and think critically, as they journey toward becoming more independent.Our Middle School students have many exciting opportunities in addition to daily coursework in the core subjects; science, math, language arts, social studies, and religion. Students also have weekly classes in Spanish, Physical Education, Media/Technology, Music, and Visual Arts.The MMSA Middle School Advisory Program ensures that each student has a formally appointed member of the faculty who will serve as their personal and academic advocate and be able to provide support to the student throughout their middle school years. Advisors and their advisees meet five times a week. The Advisories are groups comprised of a small group of students and a faculty member. Advisories meet each morning, providing opportunities for students to interact socially under the guidance and support of an adult. Advisors are the primary contact for families; they know the students best. Advisors oversee the whole child at school, as they serve as advocates for the student, facilitate student-teacher meetings as needed, explore how individual students learn best and help them set goals for each trimester.