About Us
Our Mission & History
Our History
1915 to 1949
Before students begin central subject studies in Grade III, they study a variety of shorter themes that function very much like central subjects:
  • In kindergarten, students focus on a study called "All About Us" which looks at the various groups to which students belong, focusing on what it means to be a member of a family, a classroom, and of the Shady Hill community. 
  • In Grades I and II, students study the concept of community, with particular emphasis on SHS community, Boston, the Charles River and its neighboring towns and community institutions. Guiding questions the class explores together include: What is a community? How are people the same in a community? How are they different? What are the basic needs of people? How do people in a community get their needs met? How do people that live in a community depend on each other? What jobs do people have in a community? How does the changing physical environment affect a community? How do we create safe and peaceful communities?
  • In Grade III, students begin the year studying the characteristics of mammals and the evolution, behavior, anatomy and physiology of whales. They learn the differences between sub-orders and species of whales. They develop their knowledge through hands-on experiments, art projects, group discussions, and research activities. The first term concludes the unit with a focus on whale conservation and a Whale Assembly for the community. The third graders then spend the second part of the year focusing on the central subject of the whaling industry of the 19th Century.
Other central subjects in 2015-2016 include:
Grade IV: Ancient Greece — the school's oldest central subject, which was introduced to the school in the 1920s
Grade V: Modern & Ancient China — the school's newest central subject, which was introduced in 2005
Grade VI: Africa — a central subject that was introduced in 1969
Grade VII: The Early American Experience — which has evolved over a number of years
Grade VIII: The United States and Immigration — another CS that has thoughtfully evolved over the past several years

But in the early days of the school, central subjects were sometimes determined by the interest and expertise of the gradehead teachers. In fact, it wasn't uncommon to have two different central subjects taught by two different teachers at the same grade level.

Some central subjects of the past included:
The Age of Discovery
The Bible
The Civil War
People and the Sea
The Crusades and the Roots of Islam
Black History and the Civil Rights Movement
Medieval Civilization
And in the younger grades: Eskimos, Cavemen
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