Religion Curriculum

Our curriculum follows the guidelines set forth by the Archdiocese of Washington.

Students of all faiths are encouraged to find the truths and similarities of beliefs of their religions.

In Lower School years, students learn and engage in prayer, explore the tenets of the Catholic faith as we emphasize God's overflowing love for each student and all parts of His creation. The Grade 2 religion program includes preparation for the sacraments of First Reconciliation (fall) and First Communion (spring).

In their Upper School years, students examine the Catholic faith in more depth by topic. Grade 5 students study the Sacraments of the Church, Grade 6 students study the Old Testament, and Grade 7 students study the life and times of Jesus Christ. Students in Grade 8 study Church History, prepare for Catholic Confirmation, and study and engage in social justice projects. In their final weeks, students reflect on the school's mission and how they can lead a life of significance in their high school years. All upper school students write three reflections each year on when, where, and how they find God in their lives - through books, film, people, nature, sports, music, poetry, prayer, relationships, or places.

Religion 1

The Lower School religion program is designed to introduce students to the Catholic faith and traditions while inviting them to deepen their appreciation of other faiths. Students reflect on their own lives as they grow in their spirituality, through the teachings of Jesus. Promoting ethical decision-making is a cornerstone of the program.

The Grade 1 religion class studies Jesus and the Creator. Students learn how they become part of the Church’s family through baptism and learn about the value of prayer. They study the Holy Family, our families, and the Church’s family. Students also learn about Jesus’ life and the Holy Spirit.

Religion 2

The Lower School religion program is designed to introduce students to the Catholic faith and traditions while inviting them to deepen their appreciation of other faiths. Students reflect on their own lives as they grow in their spirituality, through the teachings of Jesus. Promoting ethical decision-making is a cornerstone of the program.

The Grade 2 religion program includes preparation for the sacraments of First Reconciliation (fall) and First Communion (spring) in accordance with the tenets of the Catholic faith. Jesus gave us the Gift of Peace and the Gift of Himself and these are seen in the two sacraments that the students prepare for during the year. Students of all faiths are encouraged to find the truths and similarities of beliefs of their religions.

Religion 3

The Lower School religion program is designed to introduce students to the Catholic faith and traditions while inviting them to deepen their appreciation of other faiths. Students reflect on their own lives as they grow in their spirituality, through the teachings of Jesus. Promoting ethical decision-making is a cornerstone of the program.

In Grade 3, the theme of respect is emphasized. Love and cooperation are offered as themes and students are encouraged to bring these qualities to their daily life in school and to their religious expression. They learn to do for others, such as younger students or those less fortunate in their community. Characteristics of emotional intelligence such as patience, cooperation, self-restraint, and overcoming disappointment are integrated into religion.

Religion 4

The Lower School religion program is designed to introduce students to the Catholic faith and traditions while inviting them to deepen their appreciation of other faiths. Students reflect on their own lives as they grow in their spirituality, through the teachings of Jesus. Promoting ethical decision-making is a cornerstone of the program.

Grade 4 students analyze and interpret the Ten Commandments. The Beatitudes are studied to find connections to our lives today, as we seek to serve others. Students expand their understanding of the Seven Sacraments with a focus on reconciliation; realizing how forgiving others and ourselves is essential to our spiritual well being. Prayer, scripture, Mary, the saints and the liturgical seasons are also covered. The rationale used in making moral choices is the year-end unit of study.

Religion 5

The Upper School religion curriculum prepares our students to lead lives of “significance.” We encourage our students to draw closer to God through the study of the faith as proclaimed by Jesus Christ in the Gospels and by the Roman Catholic Church. We welcome students from all faith traditions and honor and respect those traditions as we study the Catholic faith. We encourage and expect our students to leap into the mystery of their faith. We hope our examination of faith compels us to positive action in our world.

In Grade 5, students focus on the Church's sacraments. What's a sacrament? Short answer: an outer sign of an inner grace. The students explore the context, meaning, and liturgies for Baptism, First Communion, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick. They also devote time to studying the life and times of Mother Teresa, the nature of heroes, along with examining the “significant” movements devoted to bringing about social justice. Students also read Heaven Is For Real and The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

In their four years in the Upper School, students:

1) Students will be asked to do a 3 – 4 hour project of their own choosing outside of school. Called “A Smorgasbord of Significance and Spirituality,” students have several options: Watching a film or reading a book with spiritual content; doing service work; visit to a religious site; dedicating time to individual prayer; attending a lecture on character, virtue, or spirituality; interviewing a person of “significance” in the student’s life.

2) Critically view excerpts of films with spiritual content including Race, Mother Teresa, Amazing Grace, Evan Almighty, Les Miserables, The Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, Seabiscuit, Groundhog Day, Pleasantville, Son of God, Pope John Paul II, The Blind Side, Miracle, Noah, Heaven Is For Real, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Invictus.

3) Memorize prayers of major figures in Church history including Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Thomas Aquinas.

4) Attend Monday morning chapels where the Upper Schoolers reflect on issues of faith, morals, and virtue.

5) Participate in service opportunities. Each Upper School grade has a charity partner and supports this partner through work, financial support, and/or drives for goods or clothes.

6) Offer petitions during the first few minutes of each religion class and participate in the examen prayer promulgated by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. In this structured form of meditation created by the founder of the Jesuit order of priests, students sit quietly and allow God into their lives to affirm the students’ deep goodness and allow students to give thanks for God’s gift of their lives and talents.

Religion 6

The Upper School religion curriculum prepares our students to lead lives of “significance.” We encourage our students to draw closer to God through the study of the faith as proclaimed by Jesus Christ in the Gospels and by the Roman Catholic Church. We welcome students from all faith traditions and honor and respect those traditions as we study the Catholic faith. We encourage and expect our students to leap into the mystery of their faith. We hope our examination of faith compels us to positive action in our world.

In Grade 6, we focus on the Old Testament -- the 46 books of the Bible that contain some of the most beautiful literature the world has seen. Students pay special attention to the Pentateuch and the historical books detailing the creation and the history of the tribes of Israel. Students study the majesty of the Wisdom books, especially Job, the Psalms, the Song of Songs, and Proverbs. The class delves into the Prophetic books looking for hints of the coming of the Messiah. Students also learn about Catholic Social Teaching as we invite students to become men and women for others and lead lives of “significance” (per our mission statement).

In their four years in the Upper School, students:

1) Students will be asked to do a 3 – 4 hour project of their own choosing outside of school. Called “A Smorgasbord of Significance and Spirituality,” students have several options: Watching a film or reading a book with spiritual content; doing service work; visit to a religious site; dedicating time to individual prayer; attending a lecture on character, virtue, or spirituality; interviewing a person of “significance” in the student’s life.

2) Critically view excerpts of films with spiritual content including Race, Mother Teresa, Amazing Grace, Evan Almighty, Les Miserables, The Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, Seabiscuit, Groundhog Day, Pleasantville, Son of God, Pope John Paul II, The Blind Side, Miracle, Noah, Heaven Is For Real, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Invictus.

3) Memorize prayers of major figures in Church history including Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Thomas Aquinas.

4) Attend Monday morning chapels where the Upper Schoolers reflect on issues of faith, morals, and virtue.

5) Participate in service opportunities. Each Upper School grade has a charity partner and supports this partner through work, financial support, and/or drives for goods or clothes.

6) Offer petitions during the first few minutes of each religion class and participate in the examen prayer promulgated by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. In this structured form of meditation created by the founder of the Jesuit order of priests, students sit quietly and allow God into their lives to affirm the students’ deep goodness and allow students to give thanks for God’s gift of their lives and talents.

Religion 7

The Upper School religion curriculum prepares our students to lead lives of “significance.” We encourage our students to draw closer to God through the study of the faith as proclaimed by Jesus Christ in the Gospels and by the Roman Catholic Church. We welcome students from all faith traditions and honor and respect those traditions as we study the Catholic faith. We encourage and expect our students to leap into the mystery of their faith. We hope our examination of faith compels us to positive action in our world.

In Grade 7, we focus on the central figure of the Catholic faith, indeed the human race -- Jesus of Nazareth. Students will answer the essential question Jesus asks -- "And you, who do you say that I am?" The class integrates students' personal responses to the teachings and faith deposit of the Church. We look at the nature of interpretation of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. To better understand Jesus' call for radical devotion, we examine the geography he grew up in, his work, his friends, his stories. By studying the richness of Christ's milieu, students hope to grow in relationship to Jesus and grow closer to God's love. Students read excerpts of Jesus by Father James Martin, S.J.

In their four years in the Upper School, students:

1) Students will be asked to do a 3 – 4 hour project of their own choosing outside of school. Called “A Smorgasbord of Significance and Spirituality,” students have several options: Watching a film or reading a book with spiritual content; doing service work; visit to a religious site; dedicating time to individual prayer; attending a lecture on character, virtue, or spirituality; interviewing a person of “significance” in the student’s life.

2) Critically view excerpts of films with spiritual content including Race, Mother Teresa, Amazing Grace, Evan Almighty, Les Miserables, The Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, Seabiscuit, Groundhog Day, Pleasantville, Son of God, Pope John Paul II, The Blind Side, Miracle, Noah, Heaven Is For Real, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Invictus.

3) Memorize prayers of major figures in Church history including Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Thomas Aquinas.

4) Attend Monday morning chapels where the Upper Schoolers reflect on issues of faith, morals, and virtue.

5) Participate in service opportunities. Each Upper School grade has a charity partner and supports this partner through work, financial support, and/or drives for goods or clothes.

6) Offer petitions during the first few minutes of each religion class and participate in the examen prayer promulgated by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. In this structured form of meditation created by the founder of the Jesuit order of priests, students sit quietly and allow God into their lives to affirm the students’ deep goodness and allow students to give thanks for God’s gift of their lives and talents.

Religion 8

The Upper School religion curriculum prepares our students to lead lives of “significance.” We encourage our students to draw closer to God through the study of the faith as proclaimed by Jesus Christ in the Gospels and by the Roman Catholic Church. We welcome students from all faith traditions and honor and respect those traditions as we study the Catholic faith. We encourage and expect our students to leap into the mystery of their faith. We hope our examination of faith compels us to positive action in our world.

In Grade 8, students focus on a number of content areas. These areas include:

  1. The life of the Church after the death of Jesus of Nazareth,
  2. Students prepare to make their Catholic confirmation, using the same text most area parishes use -- Confirmed in the Spirit from Loyola Press,
  3. The Church’s teachings on social justice which focuses on our obligation as Catholic Christians “to love the least of our people.” (based on reading The Street Lawyer by John Grisham),
  4. read books geared toward broadening student interest in the world and the role God calls them to play – Lives of the Saints by Father James Martin, S.J., Tattoos on the Heart by Father Gregory Boyle, The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore, and Simple Faith by Margaret Silf,
  5. critically view films with spiritual content (Finding God in the Dark), and
  6. prepare students for their “Capstone” project in which they will focus on how they plan on leading lives of significance after leaving The Woods

In their four years in the Upper School, students:

1) Students will be asked to do a 3 – 4 hour project of their own choosing outside of school. Called “A Smorgasbord of Significance and Spirituality,” students have several options: Watching a film or reading a book with spiritual content; doing service work; visit to a religious site; dedicating time to individual prayer; attending a lecture on character, virtue, or spirituality; interviewing a person of “significance” in the student’s life.

2) Critically view excerpts of films with spiritual content including Race, Mother Teresa, Amazing Grace, Evan Almighty, Les Miserables, The Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, Seabiscuit, Groundhog Day, Pleasantville, Son of God, Pope John Paul II, The Blind Side, Miracle, Noah, Heaven Is For Real, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Invictus.

3) Memorize prayers of major figures in Church history including Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Thomas Aquinas.

4) Attend Monday morning chapels where the Upper Schoolers reflect on issues of faith, morals, and virtue.