Torit Montessori School students performed a four-act Greek mythology play for parents in early February, the culmination of weeks of preparation and planning.
Through their study of ancient Greece in combination with art, engineering, history, literacy and dramatic arts, these young (first and second-grade aged) students brought gods and goddesses to life.
The teaching and supervisory staff at Torit quickly develop a facility with taking student interests in myriad interdisciplinary directions because they have to respond to what “grabs” each year’s group of students.
Johanna Gittleman, one of the elementary staff who took a lead role in this play, said of her students: “It was wonderful to watch as the children took ownership over every detail of the production: designing and creating props, sewing costumes, and even writing significant portions of their scripts. . .[t]heir hard work during the process led to a sense of pride in the finished product often unseen at this young age.”
Greek mythology is introduced in the lower elementary program as part of a broader “global perspectives” curriculum. It is an outgrowth of the teaching at that age on the science of human evolution and the history of human civilizations. According to Founder and Director Kristen Mansharamani, the big picture is the imparting of “global perspectives.”
“Teachers this spring will follow up the Greek mythology (influencing western civilization) with lively and colorful stories from traditions prevalent in Eastern civilizations like China and India,” Mansharamani said. “At some point, our students end up with enough perspectives to draw their own conclusions about the similarities in human history, needs and experiences across the globe.”
Lead elementary teacher Will Hatcher chuckled at the fact that his students so committed to their play characters that they “became the Greek family tree and began to refer to each other throughout the classroom for weeks in terms of their roles in the Greek family.”