TK-8 Admissions Information
Mission Basilica School is dedicated to fostering and nurturing your child's spiritual, academic, and developmental growth. Our commitment is reflected in our comprehensive academic program, thoughtfully designed to accommodate a diverse range of learning abilities. Additionally, we offer a variety of enriching extra-curricular classes, encompassing art, music, physical education, and technology.
At the core of our educational philosophy is the steadfast dedication to maintaining a robust Catholic identity. Religion serves as the cornerstone of our school, interwoven throughout the day to provide a holistic educational experience. For further details, please refer to the additional information below.
- Transitional Kindergarten
- First Grade
- Second Grade
- Third Grade
- Fourth Grade
- Fifth Grade
- Sixth Grade
- Seventh Grade
- Eighth Grade
Transition Kindergarten is designed for children who do not meet the September 1st age requirement for regular Kindergarten. It also provides support for children who are age-eligible for Kindergarten but would benefit from an additional year before starting. Please note that our Transition Kindergarten has a cut-off birth date of December 31st.
Mission Basilica Kindergarten lays the groundwork for success in the subsequent grades, focusing on educating the whole child. Our dedicated kindergarten staff, well-versed in early elementary education, creatively and engagingly presents the Common Core Standards.
Activities encompass small groups, large groups, and individual instruction, with differentiated teaching tailored to students' needs. The curriculum includes numerous manipulative and hands-on experiences.
Academic instruction in math, language arts, social studies, and science is seamlessly integrated with enrichment activities such as physical education, art, music, Spanish, and technology. Outdoor and dramatic play opportunities contribute to the development of social skills.
At the heart of our Kindergarten experience is our faith community. We come together for worship and prayer, embracing the liturgical life and traditions of the Catholic Church. Children learn about their faith through the Blest are We and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd curriculum, actively living the gospel message of social justice through Christian service.
To enhance the school year, we foster a festive atmosphere with imaginative parties and events, creating a vibrant and engaging learning environment.
Mission Basilica’s First Grade enriches the children as they continue on their journey of academic achievement and spiritual growth. The first grade staff is skilled in technology and pedagogy in order to address the rigor of the Common Core Standards in a manner that is meaningful and engaging.
Our focus is educating each child at his/her stage of development through small group and differentiated instruction. Academic instruction in language arts, math, social studies, and science includes hands-on experimentation and manipulatives. Scholastic News is used to enhance our social studies and science curriculum, and build vocabulary and critical thinking skills. Our curriculum also includes physical education, art, music, Spanish and technology.
Our students grow closer and stronger in their faith during this year. We celebrate weekly Mass in the Basilica with our school family. We worship, pray, and embrace the liturgical life and traditions of the Catholic Church. The children learn about our faith through Blest Are We and the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd curriculum. During the Lenten season, the children create beautiful hand-painted crucifixes. The children and their families gather during the Easter season for a blessing of these crosses.
We live the gospel message of social justice through Christian service. The First Grade collects pop tabs to be given to the Orange County Ronald McDonald House for recycling. The money earned goes to offset the costs of running the Orange County Ronald McDonald House which provides a comfortable and affordable home away from home for families shouldering the burden of a child being treated at a Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
In second grade we continue to build on the skills introduced in first grade. Most importantly, it is a year of great spiritual growth. The children become aware of the loving compassion of Jesus as they prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They continue that spiritual journey as they prepare to make their First Communion in the spring. This is the beginning of a life-long relationship with the Lord Jesus present in the Eucharist.
Our reading program is phonetically based and introduces children to all genres of literature employing various strategies for reading comprehension. Reading and writing skills, as well as keyboarding, are enhanced through our computer programs. In math we solidify addition and subtraction skills. The children will demonstrate mastery of basic addition and subtraction facts through a supplemental program called “Simple Solutions.” We also work with time, money, measurement and introduce fractions. Social Studies explores varied subjects including map and globe skills, ancestors so that the children get a sense of their own personal history, a brief look at history by comparing life long ago with life today, people who have made a difference in our world, and our country with an introduction to government. In science we investigate concepts in physical, earth and life sciences. Butterfly metamorphosis has become a second grade tradition.
Third grade is a grade of transition. In third grade we not only learn to read words and sentences, but comprehend what we read. The language arts program is strongly integrated with social studies and science. We begin not only reading for pleasure, but also reading for information. We also find a love for writing in third grade. We learn to write topic and concluding sentences. We learn to support our ideas and opinions with evidence.
Cursive writing is introduced. In math multiplication, division, fractions, and decimals are emphasized. Native Americans and the Westward Movement are the most important social studies chapters. In science we learn about living things, forces and motion, weather, climate and life cycles and traits. Art is often integrated with these subjects.
The children grow spiritually by planning school Masses and doing readings, Responsorial Psalms, gifts, etc. The Rosary is the theme of their annual retreat.
One of our favorite field trips is to the Centennial Heritage Museum. The tour provides an experience reflective of life in Orange County at the turn of the century. The children experience a variety of participatory activities that focus on 19th century daily living skills, clothing, inventions, entertainment, education, agriculture, and architecture.
Fourth grade is a year of discovery as we continue to become independent learners.
Our Religion curriculum focuses on the four pillars of the Catholic Catechism: what we believe, how we worship, how we live, and how we pray. It is highlighted by a study of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. Students learn about using the Bible, including how to identify and locate Scripture verses. As faith-filled Catholics, students prepare for and participate in school liturgies, take a vocational field trip to visit the Sisters at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Retreat Center, and enjoy an on-campus retreat that begins with morning Mass in the Basilica followed by a day of spiritual reflection and activities.
In Social Studies, the students focus on geography, history, and rich cultural traditions of California. The year begins with a study of its location, topography, and the four regions of the state. Historically, the journey begins with the early Spanish Explorers, progressing through the founding of the Missions, the Gold Rush, California Statehood, the building of the Transcontinental railroad and finally a look at the modern era of movie making, agriculture, and mass transit. A highlight of the year includes a field trip to our very own Mission San Juan Capistrano, where students view the historic buildings and learn firsthand about life within a mission as a Native American. The students create a ”mission project” which might include a DVD, a photo scrapbook, a PowerPoint presentation, or a replica of a chosen mission. Finally, the year of study culminates with an overnight trip aboard the Brig Pilgrim in Dana Point Harbor. It includes a simulation of what it was like to be a sailor during California’s hide-and-tallow trade.
In the fourth grade, students continue to practice and demonstrate proficiency in their math skills. They learn to add and subtract five-digit numbers, multiply double-digit problems, and do long division. They are introduced to solving simple algebra equations and begin problem-solving using fractions and decimals. They work with geometric figures.
The areas of study in science include life science, earth science, and physical science. Students will explore plant and animal structures, changes in the Earth’s surface, energy, and waves and their properties. They will also study rocks and minerals, and matter and electricity.
Over the course of the year, we read some great literature including Because of Winn Dixie, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Two Years Before the Mast and By the Great Horn Spoon. Students practice their writing skills through journals, poetry, reports, letters, and stories
Fifth grade offers new challenges for our students as we continue along the path of academic excellence. We move up to the second floor of our school building to become a part of the older school community. In addition, fifth graders are eligible to play on our sports teams.
Our Catholic faith is the most important element of our academic program. We study the Sacraments in depth. We meet a number of Saints – some old favorites as well as some recently canonized. Our goal, too, is to make students globally aware of their mission to bring Christ to others through prayer, sacrifice, and good works.
In social studies, we study the birth of our nation, beginning with the lives and culture of our First Americans to the lives and struggles of our Founding Fathers. In the spring, each student researches and writes a full-length report. As a class we will hold a “Taste of America” convention with each student’s booth representing one of the states of our country.
Math includes the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of large whole numbers as well as fractions. We study decimals and their relationship to fractions. We work on word problems, as well as drilling for mastery and accuracy of basic facts.
Our science program includes the study of living things, water and weather on Earth and space. Hands-on lab experiences supplement the curriculum.
Language arts include the study of chapter books, as well as a basic literature series with components of spelling, grammar, and English mechanics.
Through all of our studies, we follow the Common Core State Standards.
There is an exciting world of information available and our sixth grade class seeks to explore, comprehend, relate, and expand on it.
The Ancient World is the focus of our Social Studies content. Students explore the mysterious cultures that have given rise to our current populations, including the Cradle of Civilization, ancient Egypt, India, China, Israel, Greece, and Rome. Intermeshed with this cultural study is the sixth grade Religion course, which is centered on the study of the Old Testament. Through this thematic approach, the background of our faith becomes more clearly understood.
Our Literature course continues this approach by including themes from around the world, from ancient epics and myths to present-day writings from various cultures. The development of advanced vocabulary skills is also emphasized, as is personal expression through a variety of writing techniques. Students are encouraged to enhance their personal reading and may visit the School Library weekly.
Science centers on the study of the Earth, incorporating its early formation, its composition, and its landscape’s change through tectonic forces, atmospheric factors, and human intervention. The year culminates at Orange County’s Outdoor Science School where students personally explore and analyze the geologic forces that continue to shape our world today.
In Mathematics, our sixth graders begin the study of pre-algebra concepts.
The seventh grade year builds on leadership skills, provides a well-rounded and challenging academic curriculum, and ensures continued spiritual growth. Students also begin their journey in preparation for the rigors of high school.
In religion we learn about Jesus’ roles in our lives and grow in our relationship with Him. We discuss how we can best use the gifts we are given to help others in order to become more Christ-like. As the year progresses, we begin to take a more active role in school masses.
In math we work on Pre-Algebra concepts to prepare us for eighth grade Algebra. We solve equations, both one-step and multiple-step. We carry out all operations with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and integers.
In science we learn about life – from cells, the building blocks of life, to mammals, the most complex life form. We look at ferns and pond water under the microscope, drawing what we see. We watch earthworms crawl on wet and dry paper towels and analyze why they react differently to each surface. We learn to better understand the workings of the world around us.
In language arts we work on our writing skills and our understanding of literature. We improve our spelling and paragraph structure. We read and write poems and analyze longer novels.
In social studies we explore, Medieval China, Japan, Europe, Africa, the Renaissance, the Reformation and Exploration. We discuss current events and how they relate to history and our lives today.
Our curriculum also includes Spanish, technology, music, and physical education, as well as more advanced art projects in the Art Masters programs.
Eighth grade – the culmination of the Mission Basilica School experience – a year of special memories, leadership opportunities, challenging academics, mixed emotions, and awesome spiritual involvement.
Our eighth grade students use many adjectives to describe this very important year, but the two repeated most often are “fast” and “last.” The “fast” year flies by with academics, sports, extra-curricular activities, ministries, retreats, field trips, and many, many milestones. The months of the “last” year are punctuated with special nostalgic events etched in our students’ memories forever: e.g. the last United Nations Day, the last Christmas program, the last St. Joseph’s Day, and the last school Mass. The students relish each of these moments, but also enjoy many new eighth grade experiences.
The eighth grade students play a vital leadership role on many of the special Mission School days. They share their talents during school Masses, daily assemblies, the Read-a-thon, and food collections for the poor, to name but a few eighth grade ministries.
Students love their field trips to local high schools, Pali Leadership Camp, and the end of the year trip to Disneyland.