In line with the Montessori Method, we incorporate science and nature inside the classroom, as this subject area is best learned through direct exposure and experience.
All children begin the curriculum learning the difference between living and nonliving things. They master labeling living and nonliving things; then sorting objects into these categories; then sorting pictures; and finally creating pictures of their own of this concept. These are phases for mastering many concepts in the class, beginning with the concrete and moving to the abstract representation.
Once living and nonliving are mastered, children move on to the differences between plant/animal, plant/animal/mineral, invertebrate/vertebrate, and finally mastering sorting plants and animals into their respective places in both the plant and animal kingdoms (insect, fish, bird, amphibian, reptile, and mammal, etc.). These classifications prepare the children to study biology more deeply in the elementary program and give them opportunities to further classify the world around them.
Children also learn to recognize key parts of the different animal kingdoms by learning the parts of a fish, frog, bird, horse, grasshopper, and turtle. Children exercise their reading and writing skills by memorizing the parts of these animals and creating colored and written books about these creatures.
We take nature walks, plant flowers in the gardens, and inspect insect life outdoors: all to use our senses in learning about the forces in the world around us. We grow plants in the classroom to care for in practical life and to examine their growth and structure for science.
At ABC-Stewart Preschool-Kindergarten, we also do a 3-year rotation of special science subjects: year 1) earth science, ecology, space, astronomy, the bones and muscles of the body; year 2) chemistry, physical sciences, simple machines, and organs of the body; year 3) life sciences, living a safe, healthy life, and the general body systems. Like all our other subjects we keep science hands-on, moving from concrete to abstract so children will watch chicks hatch for the life cycle and they will hammer nails to learn about simple machines, etc.