Pioneer’s humanities program combines the English and social science curriculum. Course themes reflect both traditional and nontraditional subject matter and our commitment to the development of a child’s sense of self.
In all humanities classes, the curriculum is designed to develop effective written and oral expression, reading and critical thinking skills, as well as mastery of the fundamentals of grammar. Starting in the 6th grade, we introduce persuasive, informational and narrative writing with an emphasis on the basics: sentence structure, order, and cohesion. Students use blog entries, forums, literature, art, music and movie reviews, comics, books and online magazines to express themselves through the written word. Our goal is for children to express themselves adequately in a variety of contexts.
Because our goal is to encourage students to become careful and reflective readers and skilled and competent writers, students read and write regularly.
Reading at all grade levels balances traditional literature with a broader span of choices such as poetry, journals, plays, non-fiction, lyrics, and primary documents. Pioneer Academy introduces children to a variety of texts from a variety cultures and histories. Utilizing our interdisciplinary approach and our emphasis on critical and creative thinking within a multicultural context, Pioneer prepares students to become informed global citizens. Children gain tools they need to observe, analyze, and evaluate content while cultivating empathy and compassion for both the differences and similarities between themselves and various cultures.
Humanities: Grade 6
Sixth-Grade Humanities is an integrated, open course that fuses history, social science, reading and writing. Students begin by exploring their ethnic identities through assignments that introduce them to their family’s historical images and documents. They explore the idea of “transition” and relate it to their transition into middle school, as well as the changes they are experiencing personally as they grow up.
We apply this foundation to the people and lands of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, China, and Mesoamerica. Students develop critical thinking skills by analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information they gather from maps, primary documents, images, videos, in-class discussions, art, and literature. In-class projects as well as informative essays will be one of the many methods of assessment.
Humanities: Grade 7
The Seventh-Grade Humanities course features a cross-cultural study of world systems. We discuss the larger concept of human systems and apply a thematic approach to systems of government, religion, music, as well as the arts, economics, and technology. Students examine how people have been affected by these systems over time. The course starts with the study of Europe, Africa, and Asia and asks students to gather, analyze and evaluate documents from fields such as archeology, sociology, history, philosophy, theology, and art history. Guest speakers and field trips support the student’s exploration into each theme. Close reading strategies, proper citation and personal expression through the written word and other mediums will play crucial roles in the 7th-grade Humanities course.
Humanities: Grade 8
Eighth-Grade Humanities, or "American Studies," explores themes of ethnicity and social justice within the context of American history. Each ethnic group, gender, and social class has a different story to tell, and we center on these stories. We focus on pre-colonial America to the end of Reconstruction and examine a particular group’s (e.g., Native Americans, African-Americans, women, and immigrants.) story, triumphs, and struggles for human equality in American society.
Students become historians and authors. They engage in research, analyze primary documents, consider an author’s point of view, and learn to criticize or defend past visions of ethnicity and social justice in America. Children become "history detectives" who gather evidence and validate others’ claims as well as their own. Guest speakers highlight specific topics of study and provide additional viewpoints on American history.