Apps for Children and Teens

Help Your Children Stay Connected to Church with These Digital Tools

girl and boy on phones

In today’s ever-changing world, we are always looking for new ways to connect. Every day, we use the Internet to keep us on track. Children and teenagers are no different. While in-person Sunday school and church services may not be available, consider these online options to keep your child connected to God. 

SunScool logo

SunScool

In 1958, missionaries Bert and Wendy Gray found a girl living in a remote village in Ireland who wanted to learn about God but had no access to Sunday School. Ever since, the couple has been creating accessible Bible lessons for children. The Grays adapted their lessons to modern times by creating the SunScool app. This app incorporates play and critical thinking with Sunday school teachings using word puzzle games, quizzes and coloring pages. Along with this app, available on Apple and Android, you can download the paper course called Bibletime for free at besweb.com

Life Teen

Life Teen is a one-stop online shop for teenagers and their families to form deeper relationships with Jesus Christ and His Church. While the website primarily sells spiritual growth programs, it also provides several free resources. Your teen can read relatable blogs with titles like “Step Up Your Friend Game” and “25 Ways to Keep Dating Simple,” or follow Life Teen on social media for inspirational quotes, images and videos. The Life Teen team believes that teenagers who encounter Christ through the beauty of the Catholic faith will change the world, and their goal is to guide teens on that journey. 

teen on phone with coffee

Staying Connected to Faith

While we work together to navigate the new normal, apps and websites can help keep families on track. Motivating children and teens can be challenging, especially with daily changes in the outside world. However, with the help of resources like SunScool and Life Teen, families can work together to build and sustain a strong connection to God. 

At St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, we educate our students to excel in the modern world. We build our students up to focus on following their faith, and sometimes that means adapting to the times.

St. Charles Borromeo, a top Orlando Catholic School located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Continuing a Catholic Education Through High School

Choosing the right type of school for your child is a difficult decision. Religious schools like St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, recommend students continue a Catholic education throughout grade school. Here’s why a Catholic education is important, and how your child can prepare for the transition into high school.

Benefits of Catholic School
Many families choose Catholic schools because of the intimate class size experience, strong and challenging academics, and their focus on students as whole, remarkable humans. These are six key benefits of your child attending a Catholic school:

  1. Your child is more likely to graduate from college. 
  2. Catholic school students have higher than average SAT scores when compared with students who attend other types of schools. With higher scores, your child will be able to attend a more competitive college and possibly receive more scholarships.
  3. Students at religious private schools receive higher math and reading scores on standardized tests. Your child will be prepared for the more challenging collegiate course load.
  4. Catholic schools are known to be less costly than other private schools. In fact, St. Charles Borromeo even offers financial aid, and participates in the Florida Tax Credit scholarship program.
  5. Our schools are service-oriented, teaching your child to focus on serving others as part of their education. Learning the value of volunteerism and being compassionate will help your child grow into a remarkable adult.


Preparing for the Transition
You and your child may be stressed at the thought of high school. Moving into a new grade level requires academic and emotional preparation in order to reduce the anxiousness as much as possible. Follow this guide to help your child be set up for success:

  1. It’s important to plan a visit to the future high school to get you and your child familiar and comfortable with the environment. The school likely offers orientation dates for newcomers that are listed on their website. Schedule a tour to get a feel of the classrooms, facility, and authority figures.
  2. Communicating with other parents and children is helpful, especially during orientation. Encourage your child to mingle with other children so he can make friends sooner. 
  3. Research the extracurricular activities the school provides so your child can choose in advance. Participating in extracurricular activities is a major part of the process that will help your child kickstart their hobbies and gain confidence.
  4. Designate a special study area in your home. Your child is going to be doing homework and studying more than before and it’s important they have a space where they feel like they can focus. 
  5. Your child will experience a considerable amount of emotional and physical growth in high school. It’s important to stay grounded yourself so you can continue being their guide through this pressuring time. As a parent, be sure to show empathy and support. Remind them that high school helped you get to where you are, and even share some good stories from your experience!

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teaching Your Child About Friendship

There are so many valuable lessons that your child can learn from making friends. St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, wants to help you teach your child how to be a good friend. It’s an important life skill your child should explore now, as it will help her develop not only socially but emotionally too. 

Talk About It
Start by telling your child what it is to be a good friend. Traits include being trustworthy, loyal, helping a friend when they are having problems, cheering them up when they are sad, keeping in touch, remembering birthdays, and more. Share a story about your childhood best friend and the ways that person brought joy to your life!

Lead By Example
Do you have a good friend in your life that plays as an example of a good friend? Your child looks up to you and mimics what you do in your life. Showcase that friendship and let your child know what makes it special. On your friend’s birthday, make them a card and have your child help. When neighbors move in, bake pastries with your child and take them there. It’s the little things that count!

Friendship in Films, TV Shows, and Books
Find books and movies that include plots about friendship — like friends overcoming difficult situations. For younger children, search stores for books like “How to Be a Friend: A Book About Friendship,” or “A Friend Like You” about Squirrel and Bird who are very different and strike an unlikely connection. For older children, the Harry Potter movies and books present many friendship lessons. Now, with the release of Disney+, your child can choose from a variety of options! Disney movies are all about friendship.

Role-Play
Role-play situations where someone may need a friend. Perhaps your child’s friend got a low grade on a test and you explain to your child how they should comfort them. Or teach them acts of love, such as sharing and compromising, which are the qualities that make friendships work.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Finding God Through Fitness


Remember that God is everywhere. He is in the walk you take, the scripture you read, and within you. Faith is not just about nurturing your child’s spiritual health, but their physical health as well. Through fitness, your child will deepen their faith and take care of their temple (body).
Private schools in Orlando explain the connection between God and fitness.

Your Body Belongs to God
1 Corinthians 6:19 states, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” Honor your temple’s creator by taking care of it through healthy actions, such as working out and eating nutritious foods. By keeping your child’s body strong, he is able to keep going and serve others.

Serve Others
Jesus sacrificed and redeemed us from sin so that we can continue servicing others when He couldn’t. With a strong and healthy body, taking on this moral duty will come more easily. We use our legs to travel to places where God is and to share the joys of Him. We use our arms to carry the children we care for. Our strength is spiritual, mental, and physical.


Stay Alert
Keep your brain awake alert so you can delight in God. To better focus and understand the truth in God’s words, have your child start his day by doing some sort of exercise. As the difficulties of life kick in, continuing to exercise will help him embrace the heart of the Scripture. Even just two miles of walking per day gets the body and brain pumping. Encourage your child to join a sports team at school. Show him how to make it a habit to maintain his joy. Not only will he be in shape, but he’ll be paving the pathway to a deeper love for our heavenly Father.

St. Charles Borromeo, one of the best private schools in Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

The Benefits of Band and Choir

At St. Charles Borromeo, one of the best Catholic schools in Orlando, we highly encourage students to participate in band and choir. These classes have many benefits for your child, including making a connecting between spirituality and music. Here’s why your child should join the school’s band or choir!

Making Connections
Sometimes making friends at school is hard. By joining classes like band and choir, your child is able to interact with her peers and build friendships. In doing so, it also encourages teamwork. Band and choir teach teamwork skills, according to the National Association of Music Parents. When she’s performing, your child and her new friends come together and collaborate their individual talents. Being able to work with others is a skill that your child will take beyond school, making it useful in future careers and relationships.

Happy Brain, Happy Child
Playing music helps children and teenagers make new neurological connections. When your child listens to the music he plays, dopamine is released in his brain. Music releases powerful emotions. There is a pleasure that comes from listening to music you enjoy, identify with, or find familiar, such as when a certain song is linked to a memory. When your child is among her new friends — singing or playing music — it will induce a shared emotional experience. This experience should help your child be more excited about going to school and feel happier overall. These feelings have been known to lead to better grades!

Music and Religion
Music is a part of religion. Music, in its purest sense, is religion — and vice versa! Let us remember: After escaping from the Egyptians, the people of Israel sang a song to the Lord (Exod. 15). The tune, “Song of the Sea,” is linked to Israel’s passing through the sea. Music is the universal language of the soul and a code of life. So as far back as we can read in the Bible, music was there. What better way to bring your child closer to God?

St. Charles Borromeo, one of the Catholic schools in Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Back-to-School Organization

Back-to-school season can be chaotic and stressful. Taking the time to implement organizational tactics in advance can help calm the storm. These tips from St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, will help the transition back to school smoother.

Build a Workstation
To keep your children motivated, designate a work area where they feel comfortable and focused. Allowing them to do their homework anywhere can lead to bad habits and lack of commitment. Don’t allow games, television, phones, or snacks at their desk.

Create a Calendar
Create a calendar or command station that lists schedules, class assignments, lunch menus, after-school activities, meetings, and more. All you need is a dry erase board and some creativity. Color code each family member’s activity, and use large enough boxes to list all tasks. Place it in a central location in your home, such as the kitchen where families spend a lot of their time. 

Regain Routine
Say goodbye to the lazy days of summer before school actually starts. Ease your children back into a routine before school actually starts by having them go to bed early and set alarms in the morning. Gradually phasing into the school schedule will make the start of the new year easier. Talk to them about it prior to school starting so they can know what to expect and maybe even get excited. Do a run-through of the schedule a week before school starts and smooth out any trouble areas.

Positive Preparation
Create good habits that avoid the morning madness. Teach your children to lay out their clothing the night before, and pack lunches and fill their water bottles. Go the extra mile by tagging the clothes and food for each day of the week. Create a send-off station by the front door where keys, backpacks, music instruments, and other items are ready to go the next day. 

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Why Choose St. Charles Borromeo

On March 31, 1954, a parish was established in College Park and named St. Charles Borromeo. Less than a year later on January 24, 1955, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School opened as a junior high school. With an initial enrollment of 65 students in grades 7, 8, and 9, we’ve grown substantially over the years and now teach over 300 students. While our numbers may have grown, we’re proud to offer the same exceptional education that has made us a pillar in the Catholic community.

After Hurricane Michael hit, our fourth graders wanted to help and hosted a bake sale to aid those in need. All proceeds went to Catholic Charities of Central Florida to assist with the recovery efforts from Hurricane Michael.

A Blue Ribbon School
On October 2, 2007, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School was named by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2007 Blue Ribbon School, one of only 287 in the nation to receive this honor.

Parent Partnerships
Parents are the primary educators of their children, and we believe that it’s truly a privilege to be a part of each student’s learning experience. We are proud to partner with you to help your child grow into a confident, capable member of society.

Academics
We offer a challenging, rigorous curriculum that challenges students to embrace their full potential, gives them a solid academic foundation, and helps them develop their God-given talents. Our instructors create a safe, comfortable, and healthy learning environment. In this environment, students have the opportunity to grow into enthusiastic, lifelong learners. Teachers get to know each student as an individual and offer differentiated instruction, understanding that students learn in a variety of ways.  

Our National Junior Honor Society members went on a service trip to Clean the World in Orlando.

Athletics
Thanks to our partnership with Catholic Youth Sports, students are encouraged to participate in a variety of athletic activities from Kindergarten through 8th grade! Sports and team participation teach valuable lessons that are crucial to future success, such as leadership, teamwork, communication, self-discipline.

Faith
Our students’ spiritual health is one of our top priorities. Faith is truly incorporated into our daily lives. Between religion classes, monthly and weekly Mass, retreats, daily prayer, and serving the world around us, St. Charles students learn that faith is more than words; it’s about the social responsibility we have as Catholics. We must show others the love of Christ every day.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teacher Spotlight: Margaret Borello

Kindergarten teacher Margaret Borello loves being a part of the family at St. Charles Borromeo! Get to know her and how she brings her passion and experience to our institution.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Pittsburgh, PA. At the age of 10, my family relocated to Fort Lauderdale. I remained in South Florida until three years ago when we moved to Lake Mary.

From what school did you graduate? What was your major?
I received my Bachelors of Arts Degree from Stetson University. I was a music major at first but then changed to Elementary Education. Years later, I received my Master’s degree from Barry University in Educational Leadership!

What do you like to do for fun?
I am a lucky mother of three wonderful daughters and a blessed grandmother of three incredible grandsons! My youngest daughter [just gave] me my first granddaughter, and my eldest blessed me with another grandson for Thanksgiving. My favorite thing to do is to be with these babies.

Do you have a favorite book?
My favorite book to read when I was young was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I enjoy the Harry Potter series and one of my favorite books is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

What did you want to be when you were little?
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. For a brief time, I had dreams of being a pop singer, but I always knew I would teach in some way! I’ve been teaching for 30 years, and I’ve taught everything from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade (excluding fourth). I’ve had the pleasure of training and working with teachers through Nova Southeastern University as an Early Childhood Training Facilitator, and I’ve also substituted for high school.

Who was your favorite teacher growing up?
I think my favorite teacher was Mr. Hudson in the fifth grade. He made math so much fun that the “light bulb” finally went off and I got it! However, my inspiration was my music teacher in middle school, Mr. Mel Arnold. He was an incredible musician and loved sharing his gift with his students. In his spare time, he taught music therapy to special needs students. He gave me my first flute — it was his when he began playing.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching kindergarten?
I love to teach kindergarten because of the excitement the children bring to school. They can’t wait to learn, and you can literally see when they understand something for the first time. I try to engage my students with activity, music, and movement. I want my students to not only learn the curriculum but most importantly gain a love for learning. If they love it, there is no stopping them!

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the joy in my students’ faces when they’ve mastered a concept for the first time, or written their first story, or even when they have met a new friend.

What do you hope your students take away from being in your classroom?
I hope my students leave my classroom with a love of learning, a yearning for more, and a kinder heart!

As a College Park private school, our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teacher Spotlight: Karri Gomez

Even when she was young and living in the tiny town of Ponca City, Oklahoma — a town so small that there wasn’t even a McDonald’s until she turned 13 — Karri Gomez knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. My family was either in teaching, farming, or insurance — there was no in between. My parents, aunts, and uncles were teachers. I’ve always had a natural knack for communication and reaching kids,” said Gomez. “I learned [from my family] at a very early age that teaching was more than giving instruction in a classroom setting: it’s about building confidence and life skills.”

Over the years, Gomez watched her family make a difference in their students’ lives and became inspired to do the same in her future classroom. She believes that every experience you have molds you. She moved around frequently as a child, and those experiences strongly affect her approach to teaching. She’s conscious of how every child feels in her classroom and remembers what she would have wanted as a new student.

“We moved around a lot, and when we moved, I got to experience being the new kid — sometimes good, sometimes bad,” said Gomez. “I had teachers that were empathetic and teachers that weren’t. It really taught me what it’s like for a child to experience being new, and I would never want someone to experience the negative things that I did; I really want them to experience the positive things. I want to create an enriching and engaging classroom where students enjoy the learning process.”

In Gomez’s classroom, she makes the curriculum come alive, whether it’s through solving exciting “classroom crimes” with interactive clues or by sharing funny, relatable stories. You’ll never find her at her desk; she’s constantly involved with her students, joyful as she watches them discover new information.

“I’ll teach any grade level, I love them all! But third grade is so much fun. What’s so amazing about this age group is this is when they start to develop their own voice and personality. They take what they’ve learned and really start to apply it,” said Gomez. “They become more independent and mature learners; they become more advanced readers, writers, mathematicians, and thinkers. We go deeper into topics and the students can relate the content to their personal life and experience. This shows up in their writing and everything becomes more personal. It’s so much fun watching them grow throughout the year!”

Not only does Gomez help students grow academically, but spiritually. At the top of every assignment, each student’s paper is headed with Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” She loves sharing the Word of God with them and loves watching their eyes light up in the faith-filled moments

“As a teacher, I always say a prayer about the class I’m going to get,” said Gomez. “It’s not so much, “How am I going to get through all this material?” It’s, “Open my eyes to what they need. How can I help them? Who needs help academically? Who needs to challenged? Who is lacking in self-confidence?”

Throughout the year, Gomez gets to know each student as an individual and encourages them to push through challenges. It’s important that each child understands how capable they are and that they can always lean on the Lord, because He will always be there for them.

“I never look at what I do as a job; I love working with my students. I love that I get to learn with them. Building a strong rapport with students is the key to a successful learning experience,” said Gomez. “Students have to know they can come to you. You have to be there for [students] and get to know them. They have to know I’m going to help them, be there for them, and cheer them on.”

As an Orlando private school, our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teacher Spotlight: Lillie Gelfand

Lillie Gelfand’s whole life was in Florida. But when her husband was transferred up north, she moved to Connecticut. He thrived in the icy winters and she loved watching him thrive, even though she preferred the warm.

“It was heaven for him, freezing for me!” said Gelfand. “He was also a trumpet player — an amazing trumpet player, a performance trumpet player. He graduated from Julliard. My husband was only 45 years old; he was so young, he passed away unexpectedly. It was a shock. I came back [to Florida] alone and started over by myself, trying to grasp what was happening in my life.”

Upon returning to Florida, Gelfand first went to Palm Beach County, where there was the comfort of friendly faces and familiar places. But it was challenging to return to a place where she’d spent so much time with her husband, and she was ready to start over. However, she still loved Palm Beach County and her memories of growing up surrounded by music. She discovered her passion at age 10 when she learned to play the trumpet. This led her to join the band at Fort Lauderdale High School later on, and during her senior year, her band director had two different guests come to class.

The first was a composer from a university in Tennessee. They were playing his music, and one of his pieces had two difficult trumpet solos — and Gelfand got to play both. “He was the first person who ever said to me, ‘You should go to college and major in music.’ It had never entered my mind to do that, ever,” said Gelfand.

The second guest, the orchestra director from Brown Community College, said something similar: “‘I want you in my orchestra. I want you to come major in music.” Thus, Brown Community College became the place where Gelfand began her musical education, before going on to graduate from Florida Atlantic University.

Gelfand spent the early years of her teaching career in Palm Beach County. After moving back from Connecticut, she interviewed at St. Charles Borromeo, but decided to return home to Palm Beach, where she started two part-time jobs that she loved. But when spring break of 2014 came around, Gelfand came to Orlando for her daughter’s wedding — and she got a phone call.

“I was still up here because I was watching her dog, and it was my spring break. I answered the phone because it was an Orlando area code. It was the same principal who had tried to hire me previously, and she asked if I would reconsider taking the job; she asked when I could come to Orlando. I went over that same day and talked to her,” said Gelfand. “I wanted a fresh start, my daughter was here, and I was getting offered this job a second time. I was thinking, ‘There must be a reason. God must want me to be at this school for some reason. I’m going to take this job.’”

In the five years since Gelfand accepted the position, she’s loved watching the music program flourish. Just this year, the band has grown from seven students to 38, and the chorus from 15 to 35. She’s enjoyed singing fun, silly songs with three-year-olds; she’s watched 8th graders create impressive TV jingles; she’s taught students everything from musical composition to famous composers to how music affects our daily lives.

“I see kids who have never, ever read music or picked up an instrument, and have no idea what’s happening — get it. It’s the joy of what I do,” said Gelfand. “I absolutely love being able to watch my students grow and see what they accomplish. That’s the reason I love working at a PreK-8 school. I always tell them, my goal isn’t to make music teachers out of you! My goal is to share my passion for music with you; my knowledge. And to give you the opportunity to do something you never thought could do, which is to play music or perform onstage. I’ve had parents tell me how they can tell I love what I do, and that’s what I want. I hope my students get that I do what I do because I love it, and I want to share that with them.”

As a private school in Orlando, our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.