SunRidge Curriculum — Grades K-8
- Math: Qualities of numbers; sorting and ordering; rhythm counting with movement and song; measuring in baking and cooking; woodworking
- Language Arts: fairy tales from around the world; singing; poetry recitation; with emphasis on the oral tradition
- Science: Cooking; baking; nature stories; nature walks; observations; gardening
- History & Social Studies: Multicultural stories; festivals; foods
- Handwork: Finger crocheting; sewing; cutting; pasting; drawing; seasonal crafts; woodworking (fine motor skills, foundation for concentration, speech and thinking)
- Foreign Language: Introduction to Spanish through songs and rhymes
- Visual & Performing Arts: Drawing; painting; beeswax modeling; drama; singing; percussion instruments; puppetry
- Movement/Physical Education/Games: Circle games; finger games; Eurythmy; jumping rope; climbing; outdoor imaginative play
The Kindergarten offers a joyful, nurturing setting that inspires the imagination through creative play, storytelling, puppetry, music, movement, and art. Emphasis is placed on the healthy development of the physical body through practical activities that include handwork, crafts, baking, cooking, gardening, sweeping, digging, nature walks, and plenty of time outdoors.
Responsibility for self and others is encouraged through attention to sharing, caring, and taking care of our Kindergarten classroom and play yard. The foundations of written language and literacy are laid with an emphasis on the oral traditions of storytelling, puppetry, and song. The foundations of mathematics are nurtured through rhythmic movement, music and the practical activities of cooking, sewing, gardening, and carpentry. Attention to, and care of, the natural world and its beauty lay a healthy foundation for more precise scientific explorations in the later years.
Grade 1 Curriculum
- Math: Qualities of numbers; introduction of the four operations in arithmetic
- Language Arts: Form drawing; pictorial and phonetic introduction to letters; fairy tales from around the world; singing; poetry recitation
- Science: Nature stories; nature walks; observations; gardening
- History & Social Studies: Multicultural stories
- Handwork: Knitting (fine motor skills, concentration, sense of form)
- Foreign Language: Introduction to Spanish through songs, stories and rhymes, imitation and gesture
- Visual & Performing Arts: Form drawing; painting; beeswax modeling; crayon illustrations, drama; singing; pentatonic flute
- Movement/Physical Education/Games: Eurythmy; circle games; imaginative games; movement combined with music and singing; throwing and catching; rhythmic stepping, balancing
First Grade is a bridge between kindergarten and the grades. The loss of the milk (baby) teeth indicates that the child has completed the formation of his/her physical body and is ready to begin to work with the mind. An important task for the teacher is to create a rhythm for the child's school life as a foundation for the learning process. Towards this end the teacher designs a rhythm not only through the seasons and holidays, but also within each day and within each lesson of the day.
The year begins with the discovery that behind all forms lie two basic principles: the straight and curved lines. The child finds these shapes in her/his own body, in the classroom and in the world beyond. The straight and curved lines are practiced through walking, drawing in the air and on a neighbor's back and, finally, on paper. These form drawings train motor skills, awaken the child's powers of observation, and provide a foundation for the introduction of the alphabet.
Fairy tales from around the world form the basis of the First Grade language arts curriculum. Through the stories the child is introduced to each letter of the alphabet. In this way the child experiences the development of language in a very concrete yet imaginative way: instead of abstract symbols the letters become actual characters with which the child has a real relationship. "S" may be a fairy tale snake sinuously slithering through the grass on some secret errand; the "M" may be hiding in the blackboard drawing of a mountain. The children then work with the letters and sounds in a variety of ways to gain mastery. The class composes short descriptive sentences to accompany each picture. The wording is then copied from the teacher's model. Through these activities the child learns word and sentence structure without conscious effort, and has the joy of creating her/his own illustrated books for reading material.
In a similar way, in the mathematics curriculum the child first experiences the qualities of numbers before learning the four processes. What is "oneness"? What is there only one of in the world? (Me!). Stones, acorns and other natural objects are used to introduce counting. Movement work, in the form of stepping and clapping, reinforces the rhythmic choral speaking of numbers. Only after considerable practical experience in adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing are the written symbols for these operations introduced.
The first grade enters the world of music through the pentatonic scale. In this scale all notes have a harmonious sound in any order they are played. Songs are based on seasonal themes. The playing of the pentatonic flute develops finger coordination, concentration, and breath control.
Painting in the first grade is intended to give the child an experience of working with color rather than attempting to create formed "pictures." The child's feelings for form are encouraged through honey-fragrant beeswax modeling and crayon illustrations. In drawing, the child imitates the teacher's work, drawing whole shapes rather than filling in outlines.
Knitting is a fundamental first grade activity, as there exists a close relationship between finger movement, speech, and thinking. Some classes may choose to make scarves or knitted squares to be joined into a blanket.
Learning a foreign language, Spanish, is ideally suited to the imitative disposition of the young child, as s/he learns through hearing and speaking the language. Games and movement through circle and singing activities, jump rope, ball games, beanbags, rods, and the balance beam are an integral part of the curriculum as the child develops his/her motor integration.
Grade 2 Curriculum
- Math: Continue with four operations of arithmetic; story problems; counting by 2, 3, 4, and 5; beginning multiplication tables
- Language Arts: Elements of grammar (naming, describing words); beginning cursive; animal fables and legends from around the world; decoding and sight word recognition; building fluency through regular practice (oral and silent reading); comprehension through story recall
- Science: Gardening and nature studies; weather; day and night
- History & Social Studies: Multicultural stories; lives of inspiring people who affected history
- Handwork: Knitting patterns of knit and purl (pattern recognition and perpetuation, concentration, fine motor skill development)
- Foreign Language: Continuing Spanish with songs, plays, poetry, games, and simple conversations
- Visual & Performing Arts: Form drawing; painting; beeswax modeling; singing; pentatonic flute, drama
- Movement/Physical Education/Games: Eurythmy; circle games; imaginative games; fine and gross motor activities; activities with props (balls, hoops, etc.) and exploration of the dynamics of objects
In language arts, the fairy tale of first grade gradually gives way to stories of people who overcome inner and outer obstacles. These people who strive depict humanity at its best. The opposing picture would be of people who have become rutted and are now mere caricatures of themselves. This is well depicted through animal fables. Second grade children still live in a consciousness so close to nature that it is natural for animals, plants, and stones to talk and have feelings like humans. Nature stories from home surroundings, folk tales, and riddles are also included in language arts.
As in first grade, poetry continues to play an important role in written and oral literature. All-class recitation leads to choral recitation by smaller groups. Tongue twisters and other speech exercises, and work on plays written in verse, join individual retelling of stories told in class as well as personal experiences, striving for clear speech of appropriate volume.
Lower case printing and cursive handwriting are presented in second grade if they have not already been introduced in first grade. The teacher leads the class in guided writing whenever possible, according to the children's growing ability to sound out and recognize words. Children also copy passages from the board and express their own thoughts and recollections, all the while paying attention to well-formed and spaced script.
From the stories, songs, and verses studied during the year, introductory spelling and grammar lessons and games are imaginatively presented, in addition to daily phonics work and extension of sight recognition of high-frequency words.
The imaginative, personified quality that still lives strongly in the 7/8 year old is used to fully develop inspiring pictures, with strong visual-narrative elements, of the operations involved in the four processes in arithmetic. The students are taught to differentiate between the processes and know when to use each one as well as to be able to work simple problems of each type in their heads and on paper. In their written work, orderliness is engendered.
The concepts and mechanics of written addition and subtraction are introduced with the use of manipulatives, imaginative pictures, and carrying and regrouping activities. The neat columnar writing of problems is stressed. Previous work is reviewed and practiced. The ability to write dictated and read written numbers 1-100 is firmly established before the students move on to place value. Counting by the various multiples is mastered before moving on to written multiplication and division. In second grade, rhythmic counting is transformed into the times tables (2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 10s).
Rhythmic and patterning work increase in sophistication, emphasizing the aesthetic and dynamic quality of the number line through arranging number families in various ways. Students are encouraged to consciously see order and beauty in number patterns. Visualizations of the counting patterns are introduced-string boards, group geometric forms in space, etc. Opening exercises can be built around number work, from group forms to simple computation games, and can include moving more geometric forms.
Word problems will continue as students write simple algorithms. Students solve written, oral story, and mental math problems using math concepts.
Grade 3 Curriculum
- Math: Higher multiplication tables; division; weight, measure, money and time; review of all four processes; multiplication; problem solving; place value to 10,000s; estimating; mental math; word problems
- Language Arts: Elements of grammar (nouns, verbs, adjectives); continuing cursive; punctuation; spelling; compositions; stories from ancient history; decoding and sight word recognition; building fluency through regular practice (oral and silent reading); comprehension through story recall
- Science: Continuation of garden and nature studies
- History & Social Studies: Study of practical life (farming, housing, clothing); stories from ancient history
- Handwork: Crocheting (mathematical patterns, working in the round)
- Foreign Language: Continuing Spanish with oral dialogue, dramatization, songs, games and simple written work
- Visual & Performing Arts: Form drawing; painting; beeswax modeling; singing; drama; introduction to the recorder
- Movement/Physical Education/Games: Balance, running and chasing games, song and movement
The third grade curriculum is designed to meet the child undergoing a change. A nine-year old can feel him/herself growing up and separating from his/her parents, and becoming part of the outer world. The child becomes more independent, and begins to question all that was previously taken for granted. This can be a time of loneliness and insecurity for a child as well as a time of new self-confidence. The curriculum meets the child's new interests, giving him/her the opportunity to learn about the three essential requirements for all humankind: food, clothing, and shelter.
Farming and gardening lessons instruct the child in the importance of the soil, the use of farming tools, and how food has been grown over the past several centuries. These lessons lay the foundation for active preservation of the earth, and give the child an opportunity for direct involvement in growing his/her own food.
The provision of clothing is addressed in the textiles unit, usually beginning with the shearing of a sheep and culminating in a woven or knitted garment from that sheep's wool. The child is involved in every practical aspect of the making of the garment.
The many types of shelter are discussed and some are constructed by the children with the teacher's guidance. A lesson block on building a modern house teaches the critical importance of cooperation amongst architects, contractors, and laborers.
In third grade, the child begins to develop a basic awareness for practical applications of mathematics. Measurement of all types is covered: length, weight, and volume; money and time. All of these measurements are put to use in practical activities by the children themselves.
Mathematics and movement go hand in hand. Rhythm is an integral part of the approach to arithmetic and is a significant aid to memorization. For example, the times tables are practiced while jumping rope, tossing bean bags, or bouncing a ball. This increases the child's ability to memorize and retain the information.
All numerical concepts and practices proceed from the whole to the parts, thus leading the child to the realization that it is only the whole that gives meaning and existence to the parts. In the study of time, money, and measurement, the historical background of the methods, tools, and practices is taught before the modern methods are explained.
The importance of words and the beauty of speech underlie the entire language arts curriculum. Through the daily telling of stores, the teacher creates in the child the capacity for inward picturing, setting the stage for conceptual thought. Reading penmanship, grammar, writing, spelling, listening and speaking are developed in an artistic manner which speaks to the whole child.
Music is an important focus in the curriculum. After two years playing the pentatonic flute, the third grade child learns how to play a soprano recorder. This instrument will be used throughout the grades. Singing in rounds is begun as an introduction to harmony and awareness of rhythm. An emphasis on dramatic work culminates in the production of the class play, which echoes a familiar theme from the year's curriculum.
In handwork, the third grade child graduates from knitting to crochet, completing three or four useful articles for her/himself. Painting and modeling beeswax are weekly activities that sharpen the child's powers of observation and expression.
In the third grade the changing nine year-old is given an opportunity to make new relationships: with nature through farming and gardening; with others through a building project; and with themselves through drama, music, and art.
Grade 4 Curriculum
- Math: Review four processes; advanced multiplication; long division; place value to millions, simple graphs; averaging; perimeter, area and volume; factoring; estimating; rounding; word problems; mental math; introduction to fractions
- Language Arts: Elements of grammar; parts of speech; continuing cursive; punctuation; writing well structured paragraphs; book reports; expository writing, creative writing, narratives; class play; building fluency through regular reading practice; sight word recognition, high frequency words; prefixes & suffixes; spelling and vocabulary development; Norse mythology
- Science: Zoology; continuation of garden and nature studies
- History & Social Studies: California and local history
- Geography: California and local geography and map making
- Handwork: Cross-stitch, mirror image/symmetry
- Foreign Language: Continuing Spanish with workbooks, writing/recording orally learned material, basic grammatical principles, tongue twisters
- Visual & Performing Arts: Form drawing; painting; singing; drama; recorder; violin; introduction to reading and writing music
- Movement/Physical Education/Games: Field games, balance, games involving trickery and strategy; games exploring movement of animals
The fourth grade curriculum addresses a child in possession of greater certainty and confidence. Now that the ninth year change has occurred, the child is more assured of his/her own place in the world and is able to assert more individual needs and wants. The curriculum correspondingly evolves away from the unified approach of early childhood into the teaching of more specific subjects.
The focus of the fourth grade language arts curriculum is the myths and legends of the Norse people. The vivid images evoked in their telling provide ample inspiration for the expanded creative and expository writing skills required of the child at this grade; the strong alliterations of their verses strengthen the fourth grade child's clarity and dexterity of speech, and reinforce his/her developing confidence.
In the realm of mathematics, the fourth grade child begins the year with a firm foundation in working with whole numbers using the four processes. This year marks the appropriate time to introduce fractions, as the practice of breaking apart the whole into its constituent parts mirrors the child's own experience of the fracturing of his/her world. Concepts are first introduced through manipulatives consisting of everyday objects, providing the child with an initial concrete experience of fractions before proceeding to more abstract representations.
History and geography become formal main lesson subjects in the fourth grade. The child's growing ability to regard with objectivity her/his environment is developed through the study of local geography. S/he learns how to find the four points of the compass by observing sun and stars. The child studies and makes maps of the classroom, the school, the neighborhood, the city, and the state of California. The goal of the geography curriculum is to engender an understanding of the interrelatedness of human activity and the local physical conditions of the earth.
The fourth grade history curriculum examines the historical development and diversity of human society in the state of California and its localized neighborhoods. The child is given a sense for the world of the indigenous Californians, the Spanish explorers, the first missions, and the period of the Gold Rush. The biographies of men and women who played a part in creating our culture reiterate one of the predominant themes of fourth grade, which is the importance of human deeds.
The transformation from imagination to objectivity is manifest again in the study of nature that forms the human and animal main lesson block. Animal study is introduced, growing out of an artistic and respectful study of the human being. The child develops an understanding and appreciation of the animal kingdom as it reflects the environment to which each species has adapted. The detailed study offers opportunities for the child to develop his/her artistic, dramatic, and observational skills, and it provides additional material for language arts activities.
In music, the fourth grade signals the introduction of the violin, in addition to continuing the recorder. Foreign language instruction continues, as the child begins to write down poems, stories, and dialogues acquired in the earlier grades. Handwork focuses on cross-stitch, embroidery, and braiding.
Grade 5 Curriculum
- Math: Decimals; fractions; percentages; metric system; negative numbers; introduction to geometry
- Language Arts: Elements of grammar; spelling; punctuation; compositions; Greek myths
- Science: Botany; introduction to inductive method; continuation of gardening and nature studies
- History & Social Studies: Ancient civilizations through Greek times
- Geography: American geography as related to vegetation, agriculture, culture and economics
- Handwork: Knitting socks using four needles
- Woodworking: Convex Surfaces: carved egg, buttons and beads, chopsticks, animal cut-outs
- Foreign Language: Continuing Spanish with further bookwork and grammar, cultural appreciation, poetry, beginning reading
- Visual & Performing Arts: Calligraphy; painting; clay modeling; woodworking; drama, singing; recorder; choir; instrumental ensemble
- Movement/Physical Education/Games: Games exploring strength and strategy; games with multiple props; games with team goals
The fifth grader has grown more accustomed to being an individual; yet, like the third grader, s/he is about to leave another phase of childhood behind and cross the threshold of adolescence. The curriculum must, therefore, not only continue to build on established foundations, but introduce certain new elements to prepare the child for the next step forward.
In the language arts curriculum the fifth grade child journeys back to the dawn of human civilization, in ancient India, Persia, Egypt and Greece. Through mythology and primary textual sources the student experiences how these cultures viewed the world. In his/her written work, the student retells the epics of the Ramayana the Mahabharata, Gilgamesh, the Iliad and the Odyssey. S/he recites quotations from ancient texts, and in his/her dramatic work takes on the characters of Odysseus, Achilles or Helen of Troy.
Fractions and decimals continue to be the chief concern of arithmetic study in the fifth grade. The student learns to move freely between these two numbering systems, and the use of percentage is introduced. The deep mathematical wisdom of ancient Egypt, as embodied in the Great Pyramid of Giza, offers a concrete introduction to the secrets of geometry. The relationship between radius, diameter, circumference and area of a circle is explored, and pi is introduced.
The study of the ancient cultures includes an overview of the lands where these civilizations emerged. In addition the geography of the North American continent is studied. The teacher strives to give the child a sense for the contrasts between the different regions of America in terms of topography, vegetation, animal life and human use of the land from ancient times to the present. The student develops an understanding for the major mountain ranges and river systems, and how these landforms define the rest of the continent.
Ancient history in the fifth grade starts with the "childhood" of civilized humanity in ancient India, Persia, the great cultures of Mesopotamia (the Chaldeans, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians) and Egypt. The class then moves on to ancient Greece and the birth of modern civilization: the foundations of philosophy, science, history, drama and art were laid while Athens and Sparta fought for independence against the might Persian empire. The fifth grade year ends with the story of Alexander the Great, who conquered all the ancient peoples previously studied, unifying the east and the west.
The science curriculum for the fifth grade focuses on the plant kingdom. The child learns that the world of plants is made up of many different families, from the simple mushroom to the rose; the scope of the lessons then expands to an investigation of how climate and geography affect plant growth.
Regular choral singing is practiced in the fifth grade, and increasingly complex melodies are played on the soprano recorder. Note reading skills are emphasized. Study of the violin continues, with increasing attention to bowing techniques and part playing.
Grade 6 Curriculum
- Math: Introduction to Algebra; ratios; proportions; geometric formula and drawing with instruments; continuation of fractions, percentages, decimals
- Language Arts: Dictation; composition; spelling; Latin and Greek roots, etymology; biographies; mythological literature; drama
- Science: Mineralogy; introduction to physics: acoustics, electricity, magnetism, optics, heat; geocentric astronomy
- History & Social Studies: Roman and Medieval history; projects and reports
- Geography: European and African geography
- Handwork: Hand sewing three-dimensional animals with gussets, pattern making
- Woodworking: Concavity and Construction: spoon, letter opener, jointed toy
- Foreign Language: Continuing Spanish with grammar work, historical studies of Hispanic culture, poetry, music, plays
- Visual & Performing Arts: Calligraphy; painting; clay modeling; mosaics; drama; choir; recorder; instrumental ensemble
- Movement/Physical Education/Games: Introduction to competitive games; more formal movement skills; complex strategy; calisthenics
- Technology: Media and Technology (to be developed)
The child entering the twelfth year begins to experience an important change in his/her physical body. Whereas before the child's movements were naturally graceful, often now a certain clumsiness appears. On the inner level the child is entering strongly into the skeletal system. The child is more aware of gravity and weight. With this increased awareness of the physical body, this is the appropriate time to introduce the study of the physical body of the earth and its mechanical laws. Mineralogy and Geology form a major unit of study in the sixth grade, focusing on comparative studies of major geographic and geologic formations, and on the identification and classification of mineral components of rocks. Physics is also introduced this year. During the course of study, the child learns to understand and appreciate the phenomena of sound, light, heat, electricity, and magnetism, while developing his/her observational skills.
The introduction of the physical sciences at this age is also a response to the intellectual development of the sixth grade child, which is characterized by greater powers of discernment and judgment and a new capacity to grasp cause and effect. This ability is further developed in the mathematics curriculum, which focuses on the introduction of practical business operations that govern the flow of monies and commodities. This, of course, requires the ability to manipulate all arithmetic operations with facility. Elementary algebraic manipulations will also be gradually introduced over the course of the year, so that the child will better assimilate the information when it is presented intensively in the seventh grade.
Geometry instruction in sixth grade introduces the use of the modern compass and straight edge to construct the circle and polygons resulting from its division. Basic proofs will be derived inductively through the construction of geometric forms; the child will learn to copy and bisect angles as well as construct parallel and perpendicular lines; and the concept of pi will be developed pictorially and arithmetically.
The history curriculum that governs much of the sixth grade language arts work takes as its theme Rome and medieval Christian Europe, and Moslem North Africa. The study of the Roman epoch begins with the mythical account of the travels of Aeneas and his founding of the city; it examines the evolution of Roman government, laws and rights through its successive rulers, the wars it waged, and its great achievements in technology and the arts; and it charts the events leading to its decline and the concomitant rise of Christianity and Islam.
The law-abiding, rule-bound culture of Rome offers an instructive backdrop for the sixth grade child in developing his/her English language skills. The Latin roots of common words and expressions are explored. Conventions of composition and research are elaborated upon this year, and the fundamental of scientific writing are introduced to coincide with the science main lesson units. Formal grammar rules are also dealt with in greater detail. Calligraphy is another appropriate skill to be introduced in the sixth grade.
The world enlarges for the sixth grade child in the study of Geography. Following the consideration of basic physical configurations as part of the Geology unit, the study of specific geographic regions extends to Europe and Africa. The emphasis is on the interrelationship between the environment and traditional human activity.
The study of Astronomy is introduced this year, concentrating on those bodies of the solar system that are directly observable by the naked eye. The effects of the Sun and the Moon on the cyclical phenomena we experience on Earth are explored through observation and simple experimentation. The five "visible" planets are studied, and the major constellations of the Northern Hemisphere are identified. The telling of the myths behind the names of the constellations provides rich material for the creative writing exercises in sixth grade.
Grade 7 Curriculum
- Math: Algebra; mathematical thinking/theory; geometry proofs
- Language Arts: Creative writing; grammatical mechanics; critical thinking through literature
- Science: Physics: mechanics; physiology: circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems; helio-centric astronomy; introduction to chemistry
- History & Social Studies: End of Middle Ages; Age of exploration; the Renaissance; projects and oral reports
- Geography: Geography of North and South America
- Handwork: Hand sewing, embroidery
- Woodworking: Initiation and Precision: May include bowl, metal-working, tool- making, symbol
- Foreign Language: Continuing Spanish with reading and writing, grammatical study and language structure, cultures of American continent, Los Conquistadores
- Visual & Performing Arts: May include calligraphy; clay modeling; perspective drawing; principles of drawing (negative space, texture, etc.); painting; Art History; soapstone carving
- Movement/Physical Education/Games: team games and team building, trust building games, complex strategy
The seventh grade child, standing on the brink of puberty, finds his/her reflection in the dominant curricular theme of the year, the Renaissance. The transition from medieval to early modern thinking that this period traces represents a change in consciousness from viewing the world as a symbolic representation of the spiritual world, to empirical testing of the world through sense experiences. Exact measurement and factual accuracy became central to thought and culture. Individualism found its expression in artistic and intellectual achievements. The European continent was overtaken by great intellectual and political upheavals, as the old world gave way to a striving for a new world, both geographically and philosophically.
These conditions find their parallel in the early adolescent who begins to fully experience the dramatic metabolic and emotional upheavals of puberty. Just as Europe looked out from its ancient past, so in adolescence the child needs to look out from his/her own inner condition to counter the self-absorption so detrimental to this age. Consequently, the history and geography curricula are concerned with a very short period of time, 1400 – 1700, which gave rise to three great constellations: the cultural Renaissance, the spiritual Reformation, and the economic Age of Discovery.
In European geography, attention shifts from economic to cultural geography, becoming a vehicle for anthropological studies.
In the Language Arts, the child will continue to develop and strengthen listening, speaking, and writing skills using the biographical stories from the Age of Exploration, the Italian Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution. Expository and creative writing skills will be further expanded. Drawing upon the emerging feeling-life of the seventh grade child, s/he will learn to develop themes and form sentences out of the “inner character” of desire, wonder, and surprise.
The basic concepts of algebra and plane geometry are the predominant subjects of the mathematics curriculum in the seventh grade. The general application and transformation of formulae and equations in practical life situations form a central part of the main lesson math block. Conscious work with geometric proofs continues, building up through triangles and parallelograms to deductive proofs of the Pythagorean theorem using shear, reflection, and rotation.
The Perspective Drawing unit draws from the study of both history and mathematics. The child learns how the Renaissance artists used geometry principles to develop the laws of perspective, and practices the application of these laws in original drawings. In the sciences, work continues with physics. In mechanics, simple machines are introduced: the lever, inclined plane, wedge, wheel and axle, pulley and screw. The concepts of effort and resistance are presented, and in their calculation the child is reinforced in his/her understanding of ratio. Work in optics, heat, electricity, and magnetism is extended, with an emphasis on the practical application of these phenomena.
Observation of outer nature now leads the child back again to a study of the human being. The seventh grade curriculum includes physiology units on the circulatory, respiratory, and nervous systems. Work with chemistry also begins in the seventh grade, developing out of the familiar process of combustion. The students are made familiar with elementary ideas of chemistry and how it does not exist in isolation but relates to industrial and economic life. Accurately executed descriptions and drawings are an integral part of this unit.
Music instruction is continued at a more advanced level with recorder, choral singing, and instrumental ensemble.
Grade 8 Curriculum
- Math: Continue Algebra; Geometry; practical applications of arithmetic
- Language Arts: Composition: letters, short stories, essays, poetry, research reports;
- Literature: short stories, poetry, Shakespearean drama
- Science: Physics; organic chemistry; human anatomy (muscles, bones, ears, eyes)
- History & Social Studies: The Age of Revolutions; American History; The Twentieth Century; research reports
- Geography: Asian Geography
- Handwork: Machine sewing
- Woodworking: Authority and Mastery: May include bench, chair or stool, relief carving, box, gift to the school, dug-out canoe
- Foreign Language: Continuing Spanish with review and consolidation, re-telling stories, acting out dramas and plays, music and poetry, modern Hispanic culture
- Visual & Performing Arts: Drawing; clay modeling; painting; portraiture; choir; recorder; instrumental ensemble, Shakespearean drama
- Movement/Physical Education/Games: team games and team building, trust building games, complex strategy
Like Janus, the Roman god of doorways, the eighth grader is looking in two directions simultaneously. On the one hand, the eighth grade is the culmination of the student’s experience. It is a time of reflection, of summing up, and all the bittersweet feelings associated with an ending. At the same time, the eighth grader’s gaze is turned towards the future and a new beginning. He or she fears, yet yearns for, the immense changes anticipated there. The eighth grade curriculum must address both of these impulses. The focus of the former is concentrated in the daily practice classes, where review and consolidation of practical skills are emphasized. In the language arts there is an increasing emphasis on nuances of style and grammar in the child’s expository and creative writing. The mathematics curriculum concentrates on the application of arithmetic operations to practical situations, extends the study of algebra, and in geometry introduces the platonic solids.
The forward-looking impulse is best addressed in the main lesson, and in particular, the history curriculum. Whereas the seventh grade took as its theme the intellectual and aesthetic flowering of the Renaissance, the eighth grade is fully present in modern times. Its aim is to bring the accumulated image of world civilization up to the present day. Nothing characterizes the modern period better than the great revolutions—the industrial, political, and scientific revolutions which pulled down the old monarchial orders, in turn giving rise to the struggles for individual freedoms and human rights. All these have had far-reaching cultural consequences, and it is important that the students consciously realize and appreciate this as they themselves are carried into the turmoil of adolescence. The science curriculum in the eighth grade encompasses physics, chemistry and anatomy.
In physics, the study of acoustics, optics, heat and electro-magnetism is extended through hydraulics and aeromechanics. The organic chemistry block covers sugars, starches, proteins, and fats. Health, hygiene and nutrition is also addressed.
Choral singing expands in the eighth grade to three and four-part harmonies to take advantage of the range of voices found in the adolescent class. The recorder program expands to include alto and tenor recorders, and instrumental ensembles take on more challenging work.