Curriculum Areas and Skill Learning
At Play Mountain Place, children are playing, but they are also choosing to spend time enjoying some of the plans that are offered by the teachers. At the Nursery level, teachers provide a rich environment full of developmentally appropriate activities that help build a child’s skills. At the Elementary school level, teachers begin to offer more classes and students and teachers collaborate on the content of many classes. Within the plans and classes at both the Nursery and Elementary level, there are many opportunities to talk about typical school subject matter, concepts and relationships. It is the teachers’ responsibility to plan a program that is inclusive of a wide range of subjects from science and nature to arts and music, the social sciences and standard subjects of reading, writing, and math.
The children’s yards are language rich areas. There are many signs to name each area and signs to remind people about yard limits. Notes from Morning Meeting are posted in the Nursery Yards and notes that children have written to request visits in another yard are often visible. Books are often read aloud to small and large groups. Pictures and books are made and shared. The conversation in all yards is unfettered and imaginative. Older children have access to personal journals, reading and writing classes. The songs and music shared in all the children’s yards are another avenue for language enhancement. People with knowledge of languages other than English are encouraged to share either casually or in directed lessons.
There are many opportunities for children to become familiar, comfortable and relaxed with the language of mathematics and to develop math skills. Noticing patterns, categorizing and counting things, and naming shapes in the environment are all common activities. Counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing are all skills that children learn by doing in the regular course of working out a real life problems. Woodworking, bookmaking, percussion, ceramics, sewing, movement, origami and sports are just a few of the activities that provide experience in mathematical thinking.
Observation and hands-on exploration of bugs, soil, water, sand, and trees; experiencing wind, sun and weather and discussing their impact on the environment; recycling, gardening and composting; creating domino rallies; playing with blocks and vehicles; making and flying kites; studying and making chemical reactions; and taking apart appliances are just a sampling of the experiences which help build a child’s knowledge of the world and the processes of science.
Culture and History
In daily meetings, the problems of the community and relations between people and nations become vivid and tangible. Teachers offer suggestions for creating action plans and provide materials to make background information accessible to students. Field trips and special guests, or community members with special interests serve to broaden cultural awareness. Cooking foods from various cultures and holiday celebrations also bring world culture into the children’s yards. For several years, a cultural studies class has been offered to older children, and a school wide Multicultural Celebration brings a day of celebrating our many and diverse backgrounds and experiences of what culture means to us.