"Let us give the children a vision of the universe." - Maria Montessori
Beginners (ages 2-4)
The children learn about other countries and cultures through Unit Studies that concentrate on a particular country or continent over a period of time. Elements of the culture being studied are brought in to supplement other subject areas and heighten interest across subjects. Materials for sorting and counting small objects are chosen because of their association with the unit of study. The children learn about biomes existing around the world through a variety of cultural studies. The class may study the ocean, discovering its properties and examining its animals as an entire unit study or may examine the oceans in context to more specific subject areas such as the moon, weather patterns, or as a resource for a fishing culture. Biomes such as the desert, tundra, rain forests, or mountainous regions may be discovered when studying these subjects specifically or when addressed through the study of a continent or country and its related geography. Topics such as the equator, continent names, ocean names, and the location of countries that students families hail from are also introduced. Children learn about community helpers through visits from the fire department and the sheriff's office. They learn that they are in Gainesville, in the state of Florida, in the United States of America. They also learn from a variety of cultural presenters when studying specific countries or occupations. While learning about the human body a heart specialist may be invited to speak. While learning about families grandparents from different cultures may be invited for the morning. While learning about local farms a calf may be brought in so the students can experience the animal firsthand. Invitations to speakers for special holidays and community events are often extended to expand childrens' interest and knowledge in a subject area. Families of enrolled students are invited to share their cultural holidays with the class, encouraging acceptance and respect of varied celebrations.
Preschool and Preschool/Kindergarten (ages 3-6)
The children are encouraged to explore various cultures through pictures, objects, food, songs, and games. World flags are also introduced starting with their own country’s flag. Unit studies focusing on the continents are incorporated into the curriculum. The passage of time is presented with lessons on units of time, days of the week, months of the year and seasons, as well as the use of timelines. Annual holiday traditions and celebrations around the world are also introduced.
Lower Elementary (ages 6-9)
The elementary cultural curriculum is centered on the Five Great Lessons. These “Great Lessons” are designed to capture the spirit and imagination of the students, impressing upon them the vastness and wonder of our universe. They provide a foundation for our exploration of history, geography, science, measurement, and human culture. The Great Lessons initially tell stories of history; from the creation of the universe to the timeline of life. The later lessons introduce students to the history of writing and math. From these impressionistic lessons we delve into the study of geography. We explore and research physical and political geography topics such as land forms, the layers and composition of the earth, flags, resources, economics, and cartography. Further study of the biosphere and habitats tie into our work involving the universal needs of humans and cultural traditions throughout the world.
Upper Elementary (ages 9-12)
Cultural studies are the heart of the upper elementary curriculum. We emphasize the interconnectedness between the social and natural sciences, mathematics, and language arts, as they are all expressions of the human struggle to understand the world around us. In upper elementary the students approach cultural studies in grade level instruction groupings. The fourth grade studies Florida History through an interactive program, History Alive! History classes meet twice a week. The fifth grade uses History Alive! to study United States History.
Middle School (ages 12-14)
6th Grade Ancient World History
This course uses History Alive! to study Ancient World History. This curriculum begins with archeological studies of prehistoric hunter-gather societies, then explores the early societies of Mesopotamia and Egypt, the ancient Hebrews, the empires and dynasties of ancient India and China, and the rise of civilizations in ancient Greece and Rome. Students also learn about the development of different world religions. The History Alive! materials are designed to deal with these topics objectively, respectfully, and in accordance with standards set throughout the country.
7th & 8th Grade Civics and American History (Year A)
This course uses Government Alive! to study Civics, Geography, and Economics. This curriculum connects government, geography, and economics to the everyday lives of middle school students. Students learn how to think like lawmakers, geographers, and economists to understand how America operates. The U.S. Constitution paired with hands-on activities engages students in discovering the founding ideals of American government. Government Alive! prepares students to become active U.S. citizens. The Government Alive! materials were designed to deal with these topics objectively, respectfully, and in accordance with standards set throughout the country.
7th & 8th Grade World Cultures and Geography (Year B)
This course uses Geography Alive! to study Regions and People. The curriculum utilizes the five fundamental themes in geography: location, place, human/environment interaction, movement, and region. Within this framework, students are also expected to use maps, globes, and graphic tools to assimilate geographic information. They are also expected to develop a spatial view of the world including cultural and physical characteristics of places and regions. The geographic standards encompass the following: the world in spatial terms, places and regions, physical systems, human systems, environment and society, and uses of geography. The Geography Alive! materials were designed to deal with these topics objectively, respectfully, and in accordance with standards set throughout the country.