There is so much to learn about our world! At Children’s House our cultural curriculum areas allow us to explore different countries and cultures, learn about a variety of animals, experiment with different art mediums, and make the world a more peaceful place.
Geography: Our geography studies begin with learning about the land, air, and water that covers our globe. We then move on to study the World’s seven continents with globes and puzzle maps, cultural items from the continents, and opportunities for tasting foods, dancing to music, and enjoying folk tales. We try to understand the similarities and the differences in the way plants, animals, and people adapt to the ecosystem in which they live.
Science: Through observations, experimentation, and research, we explore the worlds of physical and natural science. Starting with the basics, we explore the concepts of living and non-living, plants and animals. Then, in zoology we study the five types of vertebrate animals and the invertebrate world’s insects and arachnids. In botany we learn about trees, seeds, and flowers through gardening activities and observations on our playground. Our location at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston is an accredited Backyard Wildlife Habitat as certified by the National Wildlife Federation. It’s a perfect place for walks by the stream and exploring nature.
Nature Studies: Maria Montessori said that “The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.” Reflecting her philosophy, our science and nature studies give the children a deep appreciation for our earth and everything in it. Our children’s garden, part of a setting certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Schoolyard Habitat, helps the children understand the cycles of life of plants and animals. From bulb or seed to flower, children plant and maintain the garden in both summer and winter. Food and water are put out for birds, chipmunks, and butterflies. Food scraps at lunchtime go into the compost bin and become soil for the garden. Worms found in all parts of the playground are carefully placed in the garden soil. Weekly nature walks in the surrounding woods provide an opportunity to see deer and hawks in their natural setting and to monitor the flow of the stream. We even have a bug catcher in the classrooms so insects that wander into our classroom can be safely returned to the outdoors. Through real contact with living things in nature, the children learn to share their world and live in harmony with all living creatures.
Art: The world of art is opened to the children through a comprehensive, process-oriented program. The easel is always available for mixing colors and self-expression. Concepts such as primary, secondary, complementary, cool and warm colors are taught with a variety of media available to the children. Art appreciation is introduced by a simple overview of the history of art, which is then brought to life by the study of individual artists and their work. The children enjoy learning about many famous artists through activities such as painting the famous Japanese Bridge by Monet or creating their own “cutouts” as did Matisse. These lessons culminate in the Kindergarten year with a trip to the National Gallery of Art for a look at “the real thing!” You can read more about our kindergarten art program here.
Peace Education: Our Peace Education program is one of the most important components of our curriculum. We understand that there is peace and goodness in every child, but not all children have the words and actions to give outward expression to their inner peace. We feel it is the responsibility of all the adults in our environment to encourage peaceful thoughts and actions, from the children and from each other. We use a program called The Virtues Project to incorporate intentional peaceful practice into our daily life at school. You can read more about The Virtues Project here.