History & Geography

Physical Geography

  • The Primary Globes (Age 3-5): specially prepared globes for the very young child that isolate single concepts of globe study-how land and water are shown, and the corresponding shapes of the continents that they learned from the puzzle maps.
  • The Puzzle Maps (Age 3-7): These are specially made maps in the forms of intricate, color-coded, wooden jigsaw puzzles representing the continents, the countries of each continent, and the states of the U.S. They are presented to the children at an early age, and are at first enjoyed simply as challenging puzzles. Soon, however, the children begin to learn the names of given countries, and by age 6 are normally very familiar with the continents of the globe, the nations of North America, South America, and Europe, along with most of the states of the U.S. As soon as the children can read they begin to lay the puzzle pieces out and place the appropriate name labels to each as a reading and geography exercise.
  • Land & Water Formations: materials designed to help the very young child understand basic land and water formations such as island, isthmus, peninsula, strait, lake, cape, bay, archipelago, etc. At first, they are represented by three-dimensional models of each, complete with water. Then the children learn to recognize the shapes on maps, and learn about famous examples of each.
  • Transference to maps: Introduction to written names and various forms of maps, along with early study of the flora, fauna, landscapes, and people of the continents.
  • Maps and compass: Introduction to longitude and latitude, coordinate position on the globe, the Earth’s poles, the magnetic poles, history and use of the compass, topographic maps, global positioning satellite devices, electronic charts.
  • An introduction to humankind’s search to understand how the Earth was formed, from creation stories to the evidence of contemporary scientific research: origins, geologic forces, formations of the oceans and atmosphere, continental drift and tectonic plates, volcanoes, earth quakes, the ice ages and the formation of mountain ranges. (Age 6)
  • The study of coasts and land reliefs: hills, mountain ranges, volcanoes, valleys, plains, etc.; their formation, animal life, and effect on people.
  • The study of the hydrosphere: ocean, rivers, lakes, the water cycle. (By age 8)

Cultural Geography

Countries are studied in many ways at all levels, beginning at about age 3-4. A number of studies are held every year to focus on specific cultures and to celebrate life together: an example being Chinese New Year, when a class might study China, prepare Chinese food, learn Chinese dances, and participate in a special dragon dance parade. Anything that the children find interesting is used to help them become familiar with the countries of the world: flags, boundaries, food, climate, traditional dress, houses, major cities, children’s toys and games, stamps, coins, traditional foods, art, music, and history. This interweaves through the entire curriculum.

  • Study of the regions , culture, and natural resources of the United States, including geography, climate, flora and fauna, major rivers and lakes, capitals, important cities, mountains, people, regional foods, traditions, etc. This begins in the primary and continues at increasing depth at each level.
  • The detailed study of one nation at a time. Focus moves over the years from one continent to another, as the children’s interest leads them. All aspects of the nation are considered: geography, climate, flora and fauna, major rivers and lakes, cities, mountains, people, food, religions, etc.

Economic Geography

  • Natural Resources of the Earth.
  • Production: How natural resources are used by humankind.
  • Imports and Exports: The interdependence of nations.
  • History & the needs all people share
  • The basic needs of man are food, shelter, clothing, defense, transportation, culture, law, religion or spiritual enlightenment, love, and adornment. (This study begins at age 5-6 and continues throughout the curriculum.)
  • The concept of time and historical time is developed through many activities and repeated at deeper complexity from age 5:
  • Telling time on the clock
  • Time-lines of the child’s life
  • Time-lines showing the activities of a day, week, month, year
  • Family trees
  • Time-line of the Earth’s history
  • Time-line from 8,000 B.C. to 2,000 A.D. to study ancient to modern history
  • The story of the evolution of the planet and its life forms over the eons is first studied at about age 6, along with an overview of human history. This is repeated throughout the curriculum in increasing depth of study.
  • Each year the child continues to study and analyze the needs, culture, technology, and social history of various periods in history. The trends of human achievement are charted, such as the development of transportation, architecture, great inventions, and great leaders.
  • By age 8, students begin to study the earliest humans, ending with an introduction to the first farmers. They consider early societies in terms of how they organized themselves to meet the common needs of all peoples: food, clothing, shelter, defense, transportation, medicine, arts, entertainment, government, and religion.
  • The Upper Elementary level (ages 9-12) history program follows a three-year cycle of thematic study. Students study whichever themes are being presented that year regardless of their age. In year 1 of the cycle, the class will focus on the creation of the universe, formation of the earth, evolution of life, and early human civilizations. These topics were first introduced at the lower elementary level. At this level, students will go into considerably greater depth and prepare increasingly sophisticated projects and research reports.
  • Continuing the three-year cycle of thematic history study at the Upper Elementary level (ages 9-12), in year 2 of the cycle, the class will focus on ancient civilizations, including the Mesopotamian cultures, Greece, Rome, ancient China, Byzantium, ending with an introduction to the Middle Ages.
  • In the third year of the three- year cycle of thematic history study at the Upper Elementary level (ages 9-12), the class will focus on American studies, including an introduction to the history of the United States, American folk culture, technology, children’s literature, government, and geography. The class will also consider Pre-Colombian Central and South American cultures, the Native American peoples of North America, the age of exploration, and the immigrant cultural groups who came to America from Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.