Middle School Humanities

The Middle School Humanities program challenges students to look critically at history as an intentionally constructed story and nurtures in them the capacity to change the world for the better. In the Quaker tradition of social justice, great care is taken to represent undervalued groups in the curriculum. Students develop research and critical thinking skills while simultaneously learning about history, anthropology, and civics. Our collective goal is to seek the truth and learn to speak that truth to power.

 

Fifth and sixth graders study the history and culture of carefully selected world regions, such as West Africa and the Middle East. Cultural studies celebrate a region’s ethnic groups by exploring its food, art, religion, and language, all to give greater meaning and understanding to current world conditions. For instance, the study of West Africa brings new context to the African American experience, and the study of the Middle East brings new context to the rise of militant religious organizations in  that area.

 

Seventh and eighth graders alternate between a yearlong study of the Bill of Rights and the study of contemporary social justice. The Bill of Rights serves as a starting point for an exploration of American history. For example, after discussing the foundations of freedom of the press, students engage in research about book banning and censorship. The study concludes with a trip to Washington, DC to lobby members of Congress on a current legislative issue, such as criminal justice reform. The introduction to social justice includes the exploration of the remarkable legacy of Quaker social justice activists. Students are able to choose an issue, such as homelessness, or a vulnerable group, such as the transgender community, to research and complete self-designed projects.