This area includes the interdisciplinary study of history, geography, geology, physical science, zoology and botany and forms the core of the Lower Elementary curriculum.
Students learn about all the continents, including the biomes of each, as part of a three cycle. They develop an understanding of the climatic impact upon the plants, animals and people living within each region. Mapping skills, familiarity with landforms, the composition of the Earth, and the effects of wind and water also form an integral part of the cultural studies curriculum.
History is taught through impressionistic stories, intended to inspire and spark imagination. Children learn to construct the concept of time through guided lessons, stories and classroom materials, which include the nomenclature related to time measurement on a small and large scale. The history of mankind’s accomplishments, such as the histories of writing, math and measurement are studied using a timeline approach.
The history of the Earth is explored through narrative presentations, hands on demonstrations, use of models, picture and nomenclature cards and a variety of classroom activities for individual student practice and exploration. A study of the fundamental needs of humans and the interdependence among all human beings develops over the three years cycle, with many lessons, projects and opportunities for students to explore and internalize these concepts at a level that matches their period of development.
Students are introduced to observable external features of the five vertebrate classes and the external parts of plants. The study of body functions of animals and plants follows the observation of external features. Classification of different life forms follows this simpler introduction to the study of living things. Recording observations of class pets helps students develop skills associated with objective and detailed observations.
Introductory topics of study include the solar system, weather, food chains, geology and chemistry.
Students learn about the scientific method through observations and conducting simple experiments.