Main Lesson

The multi-age nature of Peachtown requires that students of varying ages study Science and History topics across all grade levels.  Rather than a graded curriculum, Main Lesson topics are taught in 3 to 4 year rotations. Each topic is studied for 4 to 7 weeks, depending on the breadth of study.  In this manner, learning emphasizes in depth analysis of material and the sharing of knowledge, materials, and experience among children of all ages.  Children of all ages explore a wide array of resource materials: books, articles and online sources.  Textbooks are not utilized, as children learn to assess different materials and points of view.  Topics selected in a given year are adapted to the specific experience and composition of that particular student body; no main lesson topic is every repeated in exactly the same format; rather, in each rotation, topics are approached in new ways and from new perspectives. Each topic of study is a springboard for interdisciplinary studies in Language Arts, Music, and the Fine Arts. 

Lower Level

The focus of our Main Lesson study is a social studies or science topic that we explore in depth for a period of approximately 6 weeks.  Each unit is rich with possibilities for developing not only important knowledge of the material but also pertinent skills and understandings that reach beyond the particular subject matter.  In addition, the study of relevant topics inspires in the children both a curiosity about the world and a reason for learning that carries over into all subject areas.   

Main Lesson is usually taught as a whole group activity and must be relevant to all of the age groups.  Thus, it is presented in such a way that the students develop many different modes of learning including auditory, visual, kinesthetic, musical, and artistic.  The lessons most often begin with a story and discussion about the topic and concept for the day after which the group engages in an activity.  It is through these activities that students interact with the concepts as well as with each other.  There are certain skills that are developed within the context of this study.   

Through the Science units we often explore the classification of living organisms, characteristics of various habitats, the cycles of life including the water cycle, observation and recording skills, lab experiments, and ecological issues including the influences of human behavior on the environment.  Social Studies units lend themselves to map study, the organization of information on timelines or categorical charts, the study and appreciation of other people and cultures, and the influence of certain policies and patterns of thought on human history.  Students explore a variety of materials, develop critical thinking skills, learn how to discover new information, and expand their communication skills.  The children are clearly motivated by their desire for new, pertinent information and this excitement extends to all areas of the day in addition to influencing some of their extracurricular pursuits.

Upper Level

In the Upper Level Classroom, Main Lesson includes direct instruction for the entire age group.  Assignments and activities relative to the unit are geared to individual skills levels.  Culminating Projects, both individual and cooperative, most often include research in both print and online sources or documentary film, and the development of oral presentations, essays, power point or mixed media presentations.  Very often pertinent fiction, biography and autobiography are integrated through Language Arts classes.  Students learn to glean important information, take notes, outline projects, properly cite sources, develop bibliographies and recognize plagiarism.