cultural and science program
The HMS cultural curriculum provides children with an opportunity to explore their own community and the larger world around them. A wide range of subjects, including history, geography, science, art, and music, are integrated into lessons over the course of the three-year cycle.
Cultural studies introduce children to the physical world that surrounds them, encouraging them to explore real things, and learn the scientific names for plants and animals. Children are provided a rich exploration of the different cultures of the world and learn about the people, terrain and animals of each continent. Discovering similarities and differences among people and places helps them develop an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of our world, and a respect for all living things.
Specific skills are developed through culture studies. Geography study helps children develop spatial awareness and orientation skills. History study builds in the child a clear sense of time passage which is the foundation of a well-developed historical perspective. Science allows children to look at phenomena with a curiosity and a theory, then through observation and research to test for validity. As children learn to differentiate between theory and fact, they maintain a healthy interest in figuring out how and why things work.
“The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed.”
—Dr. Maria Montessori
toddler years (ages 18mo-3 yrs)
During this early period, cultural lessons are generally included in the language part of the classroom; this would include learning about weather, the calendar, and basic names of objects in the classroom and in nature. Simple activities involving plants, animals and the solar system are practiced. Children will experience a full array of enrichment in music, art, and Spanish foreign language instruction.
primary years (ages 3-6)
In the primary years, children begin with hands-on experiences— they work with small globes and then puzzle maps to become familiar with the names and locations of the world’s continents, oceans, and countries. Stories from other lands are read and songs from around the world are sung. Major holidays such as Columbus Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Presidents’ Day are celebrated.
There are items from nature displayed throughout the classroom, and students are invited to explore different kinds of rocks, shells, and other specimens. In addition, students may conduct small science experiments to help them explore such concepts as “sink and float”, “living and nonliving” or “magnetic and nonmagnetic.” Other scientific learning will include the solar system, volcanoes and the weather.
kindergarten (ages 5-6)
In the study of geography the children discover the connectivity of cultures around the world as well as concrete concepts of land forms, weather and the exploration of space and oceans. The language to describe types of families, homes and traditional costumes and holidays open up opportunities for the children to see the similarities between people and their customs all over the globe. Awareness for other countries, their customs, music, food, climate, traditional dress, art, and language helps raise their consciousness about other people and fosters understanding, tolerance, and compassion for all the people in the world.
cultural & science progression demonstrated
This child is using their sense of touch to explore land and water in their first initial experience with a globe. They will move toward working with the colored globe. It is here this child will begin their journey memorizing the shape and color of each continent.
creation of a world map
Once this child has mastered learning the location and names of each continent, they will begin the process of constructing their own world map. The skill set that is built into this work is cross curricular. They will put their Practical Life skills or order, concentration and coordination to the test.
When a child explores the world map they begin to make the connection between the flat map and a round globe, they begin to see even though they look different they are one in the same. This child will begin associating the continent nomenclature with each continent’s appropriate color.
In a Montessori classroom after completing the world map lessons this child may be introduced to various extensions to peek their interest in the continents even further. One extension this child is working on is to learn about the many animals that might be found around the world. Each colored felt triangle represents a continent which is then formed into a shape to simulate the world.