history_geoWe are all members of the human family. Our roots lie in the distant past, and history is the story of our common heritage. Without a strong sense of history, we cannot begin to know who we are as individuals today. Our goal is to develop a global perspective, and the study of history and world cultures forms the cornerstone of our curriculum.

With this goal in mind, we teach history and world cultures from age three through middle school graduation. Our youngest students work with specially-designed maps and begin to learn the names of the world’s continents and countries. Physical geography begins with the study of landforms. In the first grade, our students continue with the study of the formation of the Earth, the emergence of the oceans and atmosphere, and the evolution of life. They learn about the world’s rivers, lakes, deserts, mountain ranges, and natural resources.

International studies continue throughout our course of study. The curriculum integrates art, music, dance, cooking, geography, literature, and science. The children learn to prepare and enjoy dishes from all over the world. They learn traditional folksongs and dances in music, and explore traditional fold crafts in art. In English, they read the traditional folk tales, and both research and prepare reports about the countries that interest them. Our units culminate in marvelous international holidays and festivals that serve as the highpoints of every year. A few of the most popular celebrations at The Renaissance International School are Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year, and Cinco de Mayo.

At the elementary level, students begin to study world cultures in greater depth: the customs, housing, diet, government, industry, the arts, history, and dress. Keep in mind that our students go to school and grow up with children and teachers from all over the world. They learn to treasure the richness of their own cultural heritage and those of their friends. Lower elementary students study the emergence of the first civilizations and the universal needs of Man. In the upper elementary level, students begin their formal study of history. They focus on the history from early man to the ancient civilizations, continuing on through time to reach the present day in America, as well as other countries.

We try to present a sense of living history at every level through direct, hands-on experience. We build models of ancient tools and structures, prepare our own manuscripts, make ceremonial masks, and recreate all sorts of artifacts of the everyday life of a historical era. Students learn how to build shelters, cook over an open fire, or camp out in a log cabin. Experiences such as these make it much easier for our children to appreciate history.

Field trips are naturally an integral part of our curriculum. We take all sorts of trips to places like the Lawrence Hall of Science, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Opera, the American Conservatory Theater, and hundreds of other destinations.

Practical economics is another important element in our curriculum. One of our early lessons is how to use money and calculate change in a store. Students learn to recognize the value of a dollar: how long it takes to earn it and what it can buy.

As they grow older, students learn how to compute the cost of a meal for their family, plan a weekly budget, maintain a checkbook, prepare a basic tax return, and understand how to use a credit card wisely. We encourage our students to explore the world of work with their parents, relatives and family friends.