In the Montessori curriculum, the nine-year cycle involves a spiraling curriculum. This means that each year, concepts are introduced and revisited throughout the students’ studies with new depth. The nine-year cycle builds on what children already know and naturally challenges them to continue asking more detailed questions. In life sciences, this begins in the 3-6 classroom with children classifying what they see as living and non-living. Their learning continues each year in greater detailed exploration of biomes and the five kingdoms and culminates with the sixth grade study of human biology.
In October, our seniors continue one of the longest running New School traditions, other than no refined sugar, for their study of the skeletal system – performing “Dem Bones.” You may know the version, “The thigh bone’s connected to the knee bone.” Our seniors use the scientific terms, “The femur’s connected to the patella.” They perform “Dem Bones” before our Halloween celebration on the steps of our stately front porch. In preparation, each sixth grader studies the skeletal system, draws each bone, and cuts them out to create their own skeleton costume for the performance.
Each year I am impressed by the students’ commitment to learn the anatomical names, by their enthusiasm for the presentation, and their willingness to sing and perform, even when they’re nervous. The students bring joy and energy to the day, as well as teaching the crowd. They take on the tradition and keep it going with pride in their accomplishment and big smiles on their mandibles.
Music is a wonderful way to remember details, and the students educate and entertain our community in the process. The whole elementary community and many parents come to see the “Dem Bones” performance. Feel free to join us in front of the Mansion Porch steps this year at 1:45, right before “Who Am I?” on Thursday, October 31.
9-12 TNSM Teacher