The Integrated Curriculum
Classrooms at Brilliant Star are organized into several curriculum areas, which include language arts (reading, literature, grammar, creative writing, spelling, and handwriting), mathematics and geometry, every day living skills, sensory awareness exercises and puzzles, geography, history, science, art, music, and movement. All rooms include a classroom library. Each area is made up of one or more shelf units, cabinets, and display tables with a wide variety of materials on open display ready for use as the children select them.
Brilliant Star’s curriculum is organized into a spiral of integrated studies, rather than a traditional model in which the curriculum is compartmentalized into separate subjects, with given topics considered only once at a specific grade level. In the early years, lessons are introduced simply and concretely and are reintroduced several times over succeeding years at increasing degrees of abstraction and complexity.
The course of study uses an integrated thematic approach that ties the separate disciplines of the curriculum together into studies of the physical universe, the world of nature, and the human experience. Literature, the arts, history, social issues, science and the study of technology all complement one another. This integrated approach is one of Brilliant Star’s great strengths.
Although this integrated approach takes place at all levels, it is more easily seen at the elementary level. In the elementary program this integrated approach will be one of its fundamental features. As an example, when students study Africa in world history, they will also read African folk tales in world literature, create African masks and make African block print tee-shirts in art, learn Swahili songs in music, and make hieroglyphic calendars in math, as well as study African animals in zoology. And all of this will take place seamlessly.
The same is true in our science curriculum, weaving principles of physics, chemistry, the earth sciences, botany, and zoology together from the primary years and up, with far greater emphasis on the sciences in general than is common in the more traditional curriculum.
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin