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Our strong academic curriculum and wholesome learning environment prepare students to become confident and capable learners.

Our Curriculum

Our curriculum delivers a complete foundation in:

  • Knowledge of the Catholic faith
  • Elementary Math
  • Reading skills
  • Writing

Added to the core curriculum are Science, History, Geography, Art, Music, Spanish, and Physical Education. Your child’s educational experience is enhanced by field trips and visiting speakers that extend topics covered in class.

Consistent high standardized test scores demonstrate that our curriculum achieves the desired results.


The Religion program emphasizes the discovery of a child’s relationship with Christ. It fosters a personal encounter with Christ and allows for deep intellectual foundations through which to live their faith. In addition to Spirit of Truth (Sophia Institute) and Faith and Life Series (Ignatius Press), the Religion program is supplemented with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) which is an integral part of the curriculum for grades Preschool through 2nd.


The Singapore approach to teaching math was developed in the 1980s by Singapore’s Ministry of Education for the nation’s public schools. They saw rapid, sustained success after its adoption. Singapore has routinely ranked at the top in international math testing ever since.

 Academically, the Singapore approach is top-notch. Singapore math is rigorous enough to challenge our most advanced students, and it’s adaptable enough to ensure that all levels of learners are given the opportunity for deep conceptual mastery.

 It will also aid our students in their character formation. The way math is often taught in the U.S. today makes it feel like a chore to many students. Rote memorization is emphasized too strongly, while number sense is not treated adequately. This results in a flawed idea that some people are “math people,” and some people aren’t. Math isn’t fun, and it’s not appreciated for its broader implications in life beyond mere computation.

 Formationally, the Singapore approach promises to instill a love of math in students in a way we haven’t seen, while also helping them build confidence and determination as concepts build upon each other year after year at a developmentally appropriate pace. All Embers students can be “math people” with the right content and instruction. As they reach adulthood, you’ll see this translate into a greater capacity for logic and right reason that goes beyond mere math work into other areas of their lives.

 Because Singapore math is, in many ways, a different approach, it sometimes mistakenly gets lumped in with the “new math” of the 1960s-70s, “reform math” of the 1980s, or “Common Core” math of the 2010s. But Singapore math is a sound, well-researched method that is catching on among schools with a “classical” approach to curricula.

 The central feature of Singapore math is its CPA (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract) progression. Other curricula, including Saxon, sometimes skip right to abstract teaching. But in Singapore math, students learn new concepts first through concrete “manipulative” objects on their desks in front of them, then translate this into pictorial representations, and then, finally, master concepts in the abstract using mental math strategies.

 In this way, Singapore math is a grounded, human approach that follows our natural way of learning. For example: counting six real-life flowers picked from a garden by one’s own hands comes firstly, before drawing a picture of six flowers on paper secondly, before grasping the idea of six flowers in one’s mind thirdly. Imagine expanding this progression to all elementary mathematics instruction; that’s Singapore math in a nutshell.

 If you’re interested in diving deeper into Singapore math, a good place to start is this six-minute video from the U.S.-based publisher, covering the basic concepts and principles behind the Singapore approach. For further reading, two books are recommended: The Secrets to Singapore’s World-class Math Curriculum, and We Didn’t Learn Math This Way!. We’ve ordered several copies to keep on hand at the school and are happy to make them available to you at cost if you contact the school office.


Lower Grades (K-2)

Embers’ reading program places emphasis on building and cultivating students’ phonological awareness and decoding skills, leading them to be skilled and fluent readers. Phonics instruction takes place with the highly-rated From Phonics to Reading (Sadlier) curriculum, while phonemic awareness is cultivated through the multi-sensory Heggerty Phonemic Awareness curriculum. Reading and decoding practice is achieved through the SuperBooks decodable reader sets. Further practice in text reading and comprehension is accomplished through the Reading A to Z program resources and book studies. Our students are on track to be proficient readers by the end of first grade.

Upper Grades (3-5)

Classic novel studies and structured comprehension strategy instruction forms the basis of the reading curriculum. Through reading classic literature, students expand their virtue knowledge, develop reading fluency, cultivate vocabulary skills and deepen their comprehension. Highlights from novel studies include selections from the Narnia series (C.S. Lewis), Little House on the Prairie series selections, (Laura Ingalls Wilder), The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett), and Don Quixote (Miguel Cervantes).

Writing & Language Arts

The foundation of our Language Arts program is the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) curriculum. This curriculum offers a structured, sequential approach to writing instruction, which ultimately teaches cohesive writing, reading comprehension, vocabulary development, critical thinking skills, and English grammar. In the Lower Grades, Handwriting skills are cultivated through the IEW program and 2nd grade students begin learning cursive writing skills in the second half of the school year. The skill is continued through the Upper Grades with cursive writing being used in student daily work.


The Mystery Science curriculum, designed to align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), offers fun, engaging, hands-on science. Students learn science concepts through class discussions, directed readings, and interactive investigations.

History and Geography

Students are introduced to foundational concepts of ancient civilizations, American history, geographic knowledge, and map skills through the Core Knowledge (Pearson) curriculum and Evan Moor Geography resources.


Weekly enrichment classes include music, art, Spanish and gym for all students.

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Terra Nova Assessment

Every March, all 3rd – 5th-grade students take a yearly assessment, the Terra Nova Tests. These tests assess Embers students in all areas of Reading, Language Arts, and Math. Our consistently high test scores affirms the effectiveness of our Embers curriculum and approach to learning.