In the elementary program, the study of history begins with lessons and concrete materials which build the child’s understanding of time as a regular unit of measure. Clocks and calendars are also introduced and their history explored. Supplemental activities help the child to master telling time and using the calendar. Basic work in the concept of the passage of time begins with the child’s life. Through such activities as the Time Line of My Life, the Time Line of My Family and A Short History of My Life, the first grade child learns to apply the regular units of time measurement to his/her own experience. The child is also introduced to the days of the week, the year and its parts, and the seasons.
Later in the 6 to 9 program, the child explores, with concrete materials such as Golden Beads, Time Line Ribbon and the Red and White Time Line, the concept of historical time and terms such as A.D. (C.E.) and B.C. (B.C.E.). In addition, the young student learns about the fundamental needs of humans and how these needs have been met by various civilizations throughout history. One of the materials used for these studies is the Stages in the Progress of Civilization folders, which explore how fundamental needs were met by early man, the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks, people of the Middle Ages, people of the Renaissance and modern man.
During the 6 to 9 program, the child’s history studies parallel studies in geography and physical science experiments, so that the history lessons on the formation of the universe, the stars, the solar system and the earth are supported by experiments and lessons in physical geography in such areas as the states of matter, centripetal and centrifugal force, gravity, inertia, volcanism, etc.
The study of the Time Line of Life on Earth is also paralleled by work in zoology, botany and geography. So, as the child is introduced to the Paleozoic Era (Age of Invertebrates), he/she is also studying invertebrates in zoology, learning about plate tectonics in geography, and exploring the basic types and structures of plants in botany in order to understand what changes had to take place on Earth to make way for plant and animal life. Time Line of Life studies progress through the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras and end with a brief look at the Neozoic (Age of Man).
Students then begin their study of the Time Line of Humans, which chronicles the history of Stone Age Man. The children prepare for this study by revisiting mammals in depth, with special emphasis on the primates. They explore fossil evidence and research on early humans such as the Australopithecines and Homo Habilis. They begin the time line with a look at Homo Erectus, continuing with a study of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon humans. Supplemental work with the Stone Age Man materials supports the time line studies. The Time Line of Humans study culminates with a preview of the early great river civilizations. It should be noted that Time Line of Life and Time Line of Humans studies rely heavily on the theories of natural selection and evolution, and are presented to the children with the understanding that these are theories which are still being tested.
In the 9 to 12 program, students study the reasons and routes for early migrations, look at settlement patterns and how these relate to the proximity of large river systems, and begin their in-depth study of early civilizations such as the Sumerian, Egyptian, Minoan/Mycenaean, Grecian, Etruscan, and Roman. They also explore the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. They do a wide variety of research projects in these areas, ranging from the building of ziggurats and pyramids to the creation of their own coats of arms and a medieval newspaper. Students also study the advent of far-reaching exploration, thus preparing them for their study of the discovery of the New World and U.S. History. The State requirement for California History is met in grade four.