Educating the Whole Child
At The New School of Lancaster, we want each child to reach his / her full potential. To do so we employ a holistic curriculum that is responsive to sensitive periods in the child’s development. The curriculum spirals on itself, picking up on direct and indirect preparations for each new step, widening and deepening the child’s knowledge as it continues. The curriculum becomes increasingly integrated so that what most adults call “subjects” are rather facets of a larger design.
Practical life activities are basic, vital, and continuous, though they take different forms at different ages.
The sensorial material is most deeply explored in the primary class, where the children are passing through sensitive periods related to perception of form, texture, color, weight, sound, smell, taste, temperature: the ways in which we take in information about the world.
Language is woven into all parts of the program. Toddlers are very excited by language. Isolated photographs of common objects, and real objects, are used for learning names. Words are attached to experiences: “Would you like a sweet taste, or a sour taste?” Stories, songs, conversation, simple explanations, and questions add to their understanding.
Montessori proposed that all humans are born with a “mathematical mind.” In the Montessori environment, mathematics is an integration of arithmetic, algebra and geometry into a system in which each illuminates the other.
History, geography, economics, art and music history, and other general subjects are at first presented to the children through sensorial materials and stories.
As in the other cultural studies, the study of scientific topics, such as botany, zoology, and physical sciences, is integrated, multi-sensory, and follows a path of concrete and basic to abstract and complex.
Creative work is woven into the life of all the classes. We enrich the classroom spaces with fine painting, good music, visiting artists and special programs so that the arts become an integral part of the prepared environment.
Primary children participate in activities that encourage coordination and control of movement such as walking in line to music and the silence game. They exercise every day outdoors or in the all-purpose room.
Elementary students will begin to experience homework. Our goals are to make the connection between home and school stronger, to give parents a chance to see their children’s work at home, and to begin to develop in the children a greater responsibility and good work habits.