Science

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Throughout the early elementary school, science, while not treated as a separate subject, is woven into the curriculum. In the early elementary years, teachers focus on the natural environment the children experience every day. First through stories, and then through daily discussion of the weather, close observation of animals, and the study of farming and gardening, the child’s sense of belonging in nature and a reverent responsibility toward the natural world are nurtured. Before a child’s ninth year, the teaching of science would be of little significance inasmuch as the child has not yet developed objectivity. Only when she or he begins to separate from the world does this ability emerge. Thus, the first block in natural science is taught in the fourth grade. The science curriculum begins with the animal kingdom and moves to the study of plant life and the earth itself in the fifth and sixth grades. Laboratory sciences are not introduced until sixth grade, when the child is able to grasp causal relationships. In the upper elementary grades, the emphasis remains holistic and experiential, and avoids a reductionist or analytical approach.