Creativity expresses itself through cognitive, affective, and imaginative processes. These come together and support the skills for predicting and arriving at unexpected solutions.




The St. Michael School of Clayton – Educating Children for Life

Character Development is an essential component of The St. Michael School of Clayton. We strive to develop personal character, moral and spiritual awareness, expressed in personal behaviors which include respect, cooperation, responsibility, and compassion.

Rigorous Academics:

Students develop intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills in English, social studies and history, mathematics, science, and Spanish while working in small collaborative groups. The academic disciplines of twenty-first century teaching and learning provide a framework of content knowledge, expertise and literacy.

Research Projects:

Students engage in multi-disciplinary research projects throughout the school year. Research groups apply cognitive, expressive, and inventive skills. Children connect their ideas and experiences and develop a context for understanding.

Hub Topic:

The Hub Topic is a yearlong research project that is embraced by the entire school simultaneously. Almost every subject at every grade level impacts or is impacted by the Hub Topic. By engaging every grade level in research projects centered around the Hub Topic, greater connections and a sense of community is reinforced throughout the student body… along with deeper, more genuine learning.

Each research project – also referred to as integrated learning – begins with a big question. The projects typically follow a path that loops many times through a pattern of: question…investigation…reflection and communication. The research paths mirror the learning cycle and include many authentic experiences. The integration of academic subjects in a research project, and the collaboration between students and teachers generate academic value.

Genuine understanding is addressed periodically through teachers’ reflections and documentation, and through student’s research compositions that include many expressive forms: writing, multi-media, two-three dimensional representation, oral presentations and performing arts.

Previous Hub Topics:

  • World Religions
  • Animals in our Culture
  • Water
  • Community

Multiple Forms of Expression:

Children express themselves through studio art, music, movement, speech, writing, mathematics, and technology. Arts integration enables students to specialize in relationships between people, ideas, curricula, places, research topics and areas of study. These relationships are centered around arts learning. Reggio approach fosters a child’s intellectual development and encourages them to explore their environment and express themselves through multiple paths and all their languages including the expressive, communicative, symbolic, cognitive, ethical, metaphorical, logical, imaginative and relational. Click here to read more about our pedagogy approach.

Character and Spiritual Development:

The St. Michael School of Clayton program attaches great importance to spiritual and physical well being. Every school day begins in the chapel where children of all faiths gather as a community and are challenged to consider how they affect the lives of others.


The child’s ability to listen, collaborate, and negotiate with both peers and adults is directly related to his or her development of creativity, communication and critical thinking skills. We encouraged development of these abilities by collaborating with other institutions, heightening exposure to unique programs and exhibitions. Service learning enables children to give back to their community and to learn the value of their efforts. Community partnerships with cultural institutions support our mission by encouraging students to develop intellectual curiosity and make meaningful connections to the St. Louis and global communities.

Educational Ethos

The St. Michael School of Clayton believes:

The Child is the protagonist in learning. The child is strong, confident and capable. Children interact with peers, adults, symbols and objects in the world.

The Teacher guides discovery and problem solving. Faculty members work together to improve the learning experience.

The Parent plays an active part in the learning experience and each parent helps ensure the welfare of all children in the school. Parents and teachers exchange perspectives and learn from one another.

The Physical Environment, like a studio or laboratory, encourages exchange and self-expression.

The Program ~
The St. Michael School of Clayton’s curriculum is shaped by “The Reggio Approach,” a child centered educational approach developed after World War II in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Learn more about Reggio.

Traditional Academics ~
Working in small groups students develop their abilities in English, History, Reading, Social Studies, Mathematics and Science.

Details by Age

Curriculum Map

The St. Michael School of Clayton Curriculum Map is available by contacting Lori Timmons at

Elementary~ Kindergarten through Eighth grade

Reading: Guided reading is used in kindergarten through second grade; literature sets are used for third through eighth grade.

Writing: Step up to Writing and the Six Traits are used to teach writing skills in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Math: Math Connects by McGraw Hill, in conjunction with Everyday Mathematics, is used in kindergarten through fifth grade. McDougal Littel Math Course 1, 2 and 3 are used in 6th through 8th grade

Science, Social Studies, History, Studio Arts, Performing Arts are studied in a research project format. All subjects are chosen from nationally prominent curricula. Using the community as a resource enables SMSOC students to explore their surroundings and environment. Frequent off-campus field explorations enhance these curricular subjects.

Spanish: Students in junior kindergarten through eighth grade have Spanish every day. Students learn to communicate and respond to material required at each grade level.

Physical Education: Students in junior kindergarten through eighth grade have P.E. every day. Students are taught fitness components, sports activities, lifetime sports activities (swimming/skating/biking) and neighborhood community activities. Orienteering is taught to all grades. It includes reading a map, using longitude and latitude, spatial awareness and using a GPS system.

Preprimary ~ Junior Kindergarten ~ 3’s,4’s,5’s

Junior Kindergarten students engage in research in everything they do. Teachers observe, record and reflect on children’s work, offer provocations, follow the process by which children learn, and make these processes visible.

Literacy: Children refine their communication skills as they increase their vocabulary, comprehension, critical thinking, fluency and use of language.

Mathematics: Children are exposed to many experiences that promote mathematical thinking including: bloc construction, pattern blocks, unifix cubes, train tracks, dividing and sharing toys, and games.

Studio Arts: Collaborative and individual projects are created from children’s interest and teacher direction.

Community: Students build relationships with peers and teachers through play and discussion.