Specials: Liberal Arts
A variety of special liberal arts courses – including music, art, physical education, technology, and foreign language – are offered at all Seton Catholic Schools. The depth and approach to Specials varies by school, but all Seton Catholic Schools offer Specials.
At Seton, we believe that “Specials” are not add-ons to our curriculum – instead, they’re special to our students and critical to their development.
There are numerous benefits for our students when they are exposed to the fine arts and physical education in an academic environment. We understand these benefits and seek to offer the most inclusive, vibrant experiences for all of our students. Seton students are better prepared for their education, and their futures, when they stretch their bodies and minds in these courses.
Research supports the lifelong benefits of “Specials.”
Increased Academic Engagement
Participating in music courses help students perform better in and outside the classroom. Students have increased communication skills and masterful memorization, and develop strong language and reasoning abilities. Music classes promote craftsmanship; we find that our students takes this same attention to detail and often apply it to their coursework in standard curriculum classes.
Develop a Sense of Achievement and Intellectual Curiosity
At Seton Catholic Schools, we know that our kids have big dreams. By participating in music classes, they are more engaged with their goals and develop an understanding of what it takes to excel. When a student masters a piece of music, it gives them the confidence to take on larger goals – whether these are personal or academic. Music classes ignite an intellectual curiosity that is not often touched in core curriculum; it challenges students to engage with their creativity and develop unique problem solving skills. Music education develops our students’ whole brains, as well as their imaginations.
Stronger Character and Self Confidence
Students who participate in music classes can build more pride and confidence, which are integral to building happy, healthy adults. When they learn how to master a new skill, students are often better at taking responsible risks and facing fears throughout their life. At Seton Catholic Schools, we understand how music can reinforce important character values and skills, like discipline, emotional development, and tenacity.
Improved Language Skills and Academic Performance
When students participate and stretch their creativity, they are given more opportunities to talk about their project and process. These opportunities are crucial in developing the strong language skills that make Seton Catholic Schools students great communicators – which prepares each of them for their bright futures.
Art classes help students and teachers determine how each student learns best; teachers and staff can then use this information to develop lesson plans and learning in the classroom that guides each student to success.
In art, they begin to develop an ability to interpret and engage with visual information, and research has shown that students who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for their academic achievement, participate in math or science fairs, or win awards for creative writing.
Heightened Cultural Awareness
We live in a diverse, unique world – and Seton Catholic Schools understands that. As students participate in art courses, they develop an understanding of how others see the world and gain an appreciation for our human differences and similarities.
Stronger Decision Making Skills and More Inventive
A vibrant arts education, like what is offered at Seton Catholic Schools, strengthens students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills. When they make decisions about the aesthetics of what they make in an art class, this same decision making transfers over to their processes of thinking about problems in all classrooms – and in their futures.
Research has shown that students who regularly participate in art classes are more inventive and forward thinking. They are less afraid to stretch their creativity and develop new solutions to problems or approach a situation in a new way.
Better Mental and Physical Health
Getting active during the school day has a direct, positive effect on students’ mental and physical health. When they’re playing games and running around, we’re helping them lower their risk for childhood obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It gets their blood flowing throughout the day, which helps students sleep soundly at night, improves their mental cognition and decreases the potential for depression.
More Successful Social Assimilation
Physical Education classes increase students ability to cooperate, work together, and develop lasting friendships. When our students play games and participate in healthy competition, they are developing leadership skills and positive character traits – skills that later in life will help form how they engage and act within their communities.
Improved Academic Performance
Regular physical activity is linked to higher concentration levels and more composed behavior. For our students, it means that they are set up with the skills to achieve and excel in our classrooms – everyday. When they exercise their bodies, they are better prepared to exercise their minds.
At Seton, students at our schools start learning a foreign language as early as pre-kindergarten. This training is connected to increased language development and better fluency when they start to learn a language in elementary school.
Between the ages of 8 and 12, students lose the ability to hear and reproduce sounds in the same way they did as a toddler; with foreign language classes, our schools can take advantage of the critical foreign language learning period when students are developmentally ready to accept and learn a language – and fluency comes fairly easily and rapidly.
Higher Academic Achievement and Cognitive Benefits
When students participate in foreign language courses, the skills they develop often translate into the rest of their coursework – and their futures. These students have better problem solving and critical thinking skills, more creativity and multitasking abilities. Their minds are often more flexible and students have more enhanced memories. Learning a foreign language does not inhibit a student’s English language proficiency – in fact, it enhances and improves it.
Increased Cultural Enrichment and More Meaningful Societal Contributions
At Seton Catholic Schools, we know that parents want their students to achieve – and to be well-rounded individuals. Learning a foreign language helps students develop a love for language and an appreciation for other cultures – which in turn guides children to grow up to be engaged with their communities.
Students who have an understanding of another language have a competitive edge in their education and in their futures.
Preparation for Future Jobs and Education
Engineering and computer science underlie most innovation in the world today. By teaching engineering, computer literacy, and computer science courses in our classrooms, Seton is preparing students to be leaders in their communities and in their own future careers.
There are many rewarding jobs for individuals who have these skills – and the U.S. Department of Labor is predicting that these fields will be the fastest growing and highest paying over the next decade.
Developed Skills Beyond Understanding Technology
Learning how the world works in terms of computer science and engineering goes far beyond typing on a computer or building a bridge. Students who take part in these courses are better equipped with the leadership and life skills that prepare them for success in and outside the classroom.
They have stronger problem-solving and logical reasoning skills, as well as a better understanding of design and how parts of a solution work together.
Improved Academic Engagement
Engineering and computer science courses are hands on! This experiential way of teaching increases student engagement and introduces them to how everyday applications of the STEM fields apply to their own values and worldviews.
It’s more than just learning how to type – it’s developing the skills that will translate into higher academic achievement and future success. The ability to adapt and discover changing technologies gives students the tools to excel in all aspects of their education.
To find out more about the “Special” offerings, check out the Seton school of your choice. If you’re interested in sharing your time and talent to further expand our offerings at a school or to lead an “Elective” section, fill out the Gift of Time & Talent form.