Middle School (Grades 6-8)
The middle school at Villa Maria Academy provides an engaging and challenging learning environment for our girls that recognizes their needs and helps to develop their gifts and talents. In our all-girl environment, students develop meaningful relationships with each other and with their teachers. The middle school years are a chance for girls to discover who they are, what they want to become and how they want to make a difference in the world. We challenge and support them through this process as they grow academically, spiritually and emotionally.
Middle School Curriculum
Curriculum development is an ongoing dynamic within the Villa Maria Community. Embedded within the framework of National Standards, the Common Core and State Standards, and directives from the Curriculum Supervisors of the IHM Community, the Villa Maria Academy academic program values the natural tendency of children to inquire, experience, find patterns, integrate meaning, and generate new questions.
The integration of technology and the writing process throughout all the curricular areas are vital components in teaching for understanding and in developing life-long learning skills.
This intentional approach to curriculum development and integration attests to the high value that the Villa Maria professional learning community places on continuous intellectual and practitioner growth for all its members. Visit our Technology page to learn more about the technology we utilize.
The integration of spirituality with academics enables the religion program to become a lived-reality, rather than an isolated subject area. This program at Villa Maria Academy is comprised of both catechetical and religious formation dimensions. Traditional prayers, as well as meditative and formative prayer are taught. The School Pledge provides the framework for the realization that there is a world beyond that of our personal existence. “I believe that Jesus is present in each of my classmates, and in all my teachers. And, therefore, all my actions will show my respect for Jesus.”
Internalization of this belief, as well as commitment to a school-wide goal of reverence for the person as a unique creation of God, motivates the student at Villa Maria to respect life at all levels and reach out to those in need. Students receive guidance in developing relationships that are rooted in respect and reverence for others. Mission awareness projects and outreach programs are presented throughout the school year. Volunteer opportunities are available as a means of encouraging students to develop the service component of the program.
Sixth grade: Sixth grade students are introduced to an in-depth study of the Old Testament. In addition, sixth grade students are prepared for the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Seventh grade: Students study the New Testament – the Four Gospels, Letters of the Early Church and the Acts of the Apostles.
Eighth grade: Church history, Catholic Social Teaching and morality are presented in the 8th grade.
In addition to formal religion classes, students also participate in:
- Daily prayer
- Eucharistic adoration
- First Friday Liturgies
- Opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Advent and Lenten prayer services
- Stations of the Cross
- Retreat experiences
Consistent with the educational mission of Villa Maria Academy, the English Language Arts program supports the school wide goal of fostering and developing a lifelong love of learning. In a language rich environment, the program encourages the development and deepening of the essential skills of reading, writing, vocabulary development, listening, and speaking. The ELA curriculum provides a multidimensional approach to achieving the goal of developing competent independent readers, who possess an appreciation of varied genres of literature.
A strong emphasis on self-expression through the instruction and practice of the writing process further enhances the ELA curriculum. Communication skills are strengthened as oral presentations correlate to literary selections. Individual electronic writing portfolios are developed through concentration on the writing process.
Cognizant of the intense relationship between mathematics and everyday life, the mathematics program at Villa Maria Academy plays a pivotal part in achieving the goal of preparing young women to assume leadership roles within the local and global community. The mathematics program is designed to enable students to view mathematics as a whole, rather than merely sets of rules and isolated skills.
The mathematics program at Villa Maria Academy meets the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and follows the Common Core Standards. These standards are evidenced at each grade level and aid in preparing the students for a future where mathematical reasoning, critical thinking, and collaborative problem solving are necessary skills.
The mathematics program focuses great attention on the concept and strategies of Problem Solving and the development of critical thinking skills. Students employ reasoning and become convinced that math makes sense. Reasoning mathematically becomes a habit of mind that is only reinforced through consistent use in many contexts. The mathematics program strives to achieve the school-wide goal of building self-esteem, as students learn to Communicate and express themselves clearly. They are encouraged to write about mathematical situations and concepts, and realize that they have much to gain from the insights of others.
The life-long love of learning is evidenced in the mathematics program from the earliest level. Students understand the far-reaching benefits of a solid foundation in mathematics, and are eager to make applications to daily life.
Students in the middle school advance from the study of numbers and number systems, geometry and measurement to pre-algebra skills in the seventh grade and an algebra class in the eighth grade.
An Accelerated Program is offered to students in the middle school who have met benchmark skills in norm-referenced standardized testing.
The middle school science curriculum at Villa Maria Academy focuses on cultivating critical thinking and experiential learning through demonstrations and laboratory investigations.
Each grade focuses on a different scientific field so that each student has a well-rounded view of the sciences before entering high school.
Sixth grade students focus on the study of the Earth. Curriculum concepts include the scientific method, rocks and minerals, weather, water, and space. The curriculum provides opportunities for hands on experiences such as growing crystals and virtual labs such as manipulating stars and planets.
Seventh grade students focus on life science and the study of cells, plants, animals, genetics, and the human body. Hands on experiences include plant and animal dissections, growing plants, and blood typing with simulated blood.
Eighth grade students focus on chemistry and physics. From atoms, the periodic table, and reactions, the students progress to laws of motion, gravity, and energy. STEM and science team in the SeaPerch project as the students build an underwater rover from basic PVC frame to programming the control board. The project ends with a race in the Villa pool.
The sixth and seventh graders participate in the Annual Science Fair competition where they create and test an experiment. The winners of the fair qualify to enter the Chester County Science Fair.
Villa Maria Academy is dedicated to the formation of young women who must assume leadership and service roles within the local and global community. Therefore, it is incumbent on the academic program to develop an awareness of the world around us.
The social studies curriculum is designed to broaden the horizons of our students, thus helping them to realize the impact of past and present events, in our country, and around the world. Our program fosters active participation in civic responsibility.
Highlighted in the daily instruction are the following areas:
Grade Six: Focus on the major geographical regions of the Eastern Hemisphere.
Grade Seven: Focus on the development of the United States as a strong and free nation from the Age of Exploration to Post Civil War Reconstruction.
Grade Eight: Focus on the study of American History from the Civil War to the present.
Students will continue their study of the Spanish language to continue to gain proficiency. In middle school, students will continue to build on vocabulary and present-tense grammar. They will also be introduced to the past and future tenses. They will grow their skills in the areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking, using varied resources and technology.
They will gain deeper understanding of the different cultures within the Spanish speaking world.
Villa has been a blessing for our daughter from the start. The atmosphere is nurturing, loving, kind and genuine. Her teachers are fantastic and really care! The girls respect their school, each other and their teachers. We feel so grateful to Villa for inspiring our daughter each day…she comes home so happy every day. Villa has been her home away from home.” – A Villa Parent