Monthly Themes & Curriculum
Children practice and develop their language and math skills (along with many other skills) on a daily basis through Montessori rug work materials, art & project work, story times, playing outside, building with blocks, making puzzles, and through self-directed imaginative play. Our monthly themes give us interesting topics to practice these skills in new and exciting ways.
Through nurturing the whole child’s development, our holistic curriculum goes beyond academic learning and encompasses self-awareness and social-emotional development.
Our monthly themes take children and their teachers on a journey. The curriculum progresses like a spiral. Slowly moving us inward as we leave summer’s high energy behind and settle into the fall season, our themes highlight children’s personal lives and learning about the human body. In the winter, as we reach the midpoint of our year together, we explore topics that help bridge our inner and outer worlds with themes like mindfulness and music. As we move through the springtime, and head towards the abundance of summer once again, our curriculum spirals us back out into the larger world by exploring themes about our earth, animals and universe.
Our Journey Begins! Who am I? Who makes up my family? Who are my friends? What is my relationship to our Earth? These are the questions we explore this month as we begin discovering from the familiar ground of home and school.
October: Light +Shadow
October brings our awareness to what we can see and what is hidden from our sight, what helps us see and how we, ourselves, can influence this quality. During the month of October, we introduce the idea of inner light to children by way of a tradition called Martinmas. For this celebration, we make a symbolic house for our inner light by making a lantern for it and going on a collective lantern walk through a magical make-believe land. Our lanterns remind us that we are being guided by our own light through the darkest time of the year. We gather together for our annual Lantern Walk in early November.
The transition between October’s theme of Light and Shadow to November’s theme of Anatomy is always fun. Just as with light and shadow, there are parts of our bodies we can and cannot see however, they continue to exist together. This month we learn all about our bodies. We explore body part identification, how bodies come in different shapes and sizes and that this is worthy of celebration, how we feel about our own bodies and how to listen to our body’s needs. We end this month with feelings of gratitude for all that we have and are able to share with others.
December: Exploring The Senses
Following November’s anatomy theme is December’s theme of exploring the senses. Children are invited to explore and experiment with how this body, that they just spent time learning about, can help them receive information from the outer world surrounding them and bring it inward. During the holiday season, we begin this month with a Winter Solstice Spiral Walk to remind us of the light that will be returning as we approach spring once again. We’ll end the calendar year cultivating feelings of warmth, togetherness and giving.
We return to school with January’s theme of Mindfulness where we explore how we can use our senses and breath to still our bodies and minds and how our actions impact other people and beings around us.
In February, the midpoint of our yearlong curriculum, we begin to slowly spiral outward to bring our attention to our outer world. February’s theme of Music bridges our inner and outer world as we experience music both inside and outside our bodies through vibrations and resonance. We learn about different instruments and basic music theory skills. Kinship children, teachers and parents will help put together a playlist for our Barefoot Boogie Dance Party in March! We bring our attention to the Lunar New Year, which falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice, and the first signs of spring budding all around us.
March: Shapes and Colors
March, April and May’s themes of shapes, colors, environments and animals continue to bring children’s awareness to the study of the world surrounding them. This month, we celebrate Norooz, the Persian New Year, celebrated at the exact moment of the Spring Equinox, and explore shapes and colors through creative art projects, exploring the color bursts of blooming spring flowers, and preparing for or Spring Barefoot Boogie Dance Party!
This month we focus on Earth and its habitats. What habitats do we find on Earth? What habitat do we live in? What does Earth need to be healthy? How can humans help? What can I do right now to help?
After spending a couple months learning and celebrating our Earth and its habitats, we explore the animals that live within them. We’ll take this month to journey around the world and learn about native habitats of each continent’s animal groups.
June and July’s themes of transformation and independence and interdependence highlight dynamic functions of how something can exist, change, and continue to exist in the world. These themes bring attention back onto the children themselves, after months of time learning about their environment. We will turn to the ultimate transformation teacher, the life cycle of the butterfly, to understand this process better. We’ll turn our curiosity towards other acts of transformation that surrounds us. Baking and science experiments are a highlight this month as well as exploring our gardens, each a rich example of transformation clearly visible to children.
July: Independence + Interdependence
It is interesting to note that many countries around the world celebrate an Independence Day sometime around July. There is something very significant and empowering about marking and celebrating the accomplishment of becoming independent. But independence is only half of our life experience. The other half is the interdependence we experience within our families and communities. We want to bring children’s attention to understanding why both of these experiences are important. Together, we will celebrate what children are able to accomplish on their own and acknowledge the areas where they give and still receive help. This month, we also celebrate the abundance of harvest season and the bounty of the garden!
This month we explore, moon phases, the anatomy of a star and our sun, our planet’s position in the universe, our solar system, spaceships, astronauts and telescopes. From September through August, our curriculum journey has taken us from exploring the comfort of our family to exploring the stars in the universe and many things in between. By this time, we feel full and deeply connected to living in harmony with the seasons and the natural world around us and continue to enjoy the warmth and abundance of summertime in the Pacific Northwest.