Humanities

The humanities program allows adolescents to connect through study and experiences with the whole of human history, from hunter-gatherers to modern times. The curriculum focuses on history, culture, art and music. Classes include lectures, primary and secondary source reading, seminar discussions, research and formal writing, off-site visits, guests speakers, dramatic and artistic expression, experiential reproduction of historical settings, and dramatic presentations to the community.

The Middle School art program is designed to break down barriers and provide a means for internal order and self-awareness. Outlets for creativity include: narratives, dramatizations, speeches and debates, journaling, seminars, and project design and execution.

Much of the humanities curriculum is project oriented. Each quarter, for example, students choose a civilization for intensive study. Projects are organized in six-week cycles and follow the model of the Three-Period Lesson developed by Maria Montessori:

  1. Introduction or key lesson, in which the teacher selects and provides the general subject or area to be studied.
  2. Work and study, where the student selects a specific topic to pursue based what he or she found interesting from the overview. The student and teacher identify resources to be used, including experts and guides, written and electronic materials, and field study. The student works with the materials, acquiring knowledge and skills, until they have attained mastery of the topic.
  3. Demonstration of mastery, where the student presents knowledge and understanding of the topic by presenting to the community. Presentations might take the form of a research paper, slide presentation, film, demonstration, or other formats of the student's selection.