The study of the evolution of human society at Providence Middle includes units on hunters/gatherers, pastoralists, cultivators, and an exploration of ancient city dwellers. The concentrations of people in these ancient cities created new experiences of community on a grand scale:  the stadium, the government forum, the market. At the same time, the stresses of city life –overcrowding and the spread of new disease – inspired innovations in commerce, mass transportation, communication, housing and government.  At this time our studies include the evolution of cities through history and, in particular, the evolution of the city of Lexington.

“WHAT IS THE CITY?  HOW DID IT COME INTO EXISTENCE?  WHAT PROCESSES DOES IT FURTHER:  WHAT FUNCTIONS DOES IT PERFORM:  WHAT PURPOSES DOES IT FULFILL…..WILL THE CITY DISAPPEAR OR WILL THE WHOLE PLANET TURN INTO A VAST URBAN HIVE? – – WHICH WOULD BE ANOTHER MODE OF DISAPPEARANCE.  CAN THE NEEDS AND DESIRES THAT HAVE IMPELLED MEN TO LIVE IN CITIES RECOVER, AT STILL A HIGHTER LEVEL, ALL THAT JERUSALEM, ATHENS, OR FLORENCE ONCE SEEMED TO PROMISE?   IS THERE STILL A LIVING CHOICE BETWEEN NECROPOLIS AND UTOPIA:  THE POSSIBILITY OF BUILDING A NEW KIND OF CITY THAT WILL, FREED OF CONTRADICTIONS, POSITIVELY ENRICH AND FURTHER HUMAN  DEVELOPMENT?”

LEWIS MUMFORD,  THE CITY IN HISTORY

These are some of the significant questions that guide our inquiry and research when we study the city of Lexington. The students accept the challenges associated with them as they connect life in the past with life in the present, and then look with hope to the promises of the future.  Not surprisingly, there are many integrated components involved in this study, including outings to the city of Lexington designed to give students an overview of how Lexington provides for the fundamental needs of its citizens and the issues that arise out of these needs.

These initial outings, which serves as an overview of city life in Lexington, will lead to more in-depth research.  Each student constructs an interdisciplinary study plan which will guide him/her in an independent study of choice – BIG WORK.  The possibilities are endless in terms of occupations, contextual studies, meaningful work, rigorous intellectual experiences, and explorations that can connect with previous experiences in studies on civilizations. The study promises a challenging and rich experience.  (If you have any contacts, information to share, materials, etc. please contact the office.)

Student groups are currently in the process of planning their city visits. The groups of 11-12 will make their initial visits to the downtown Lexington area on Monday, January 7th, Tuesday, January 8th and Thursday, January 10th.  More details about visits and the itinerary will be available during the first week of January.

Because this project is very involved and requires a lot of time students should be present for all afternoon classes, unless ill, until the date of the exposition, if at all possible.

Students will present their great work on Thursday, February 14thThis study has many important lessons involved and is very important to the Montessori curriculum.  Please make every effort to have your student available to participate on February 14th.  If there is an important situation that would prevent your student from being present on February 14th, please let us know as soon as possible.

Because we will be meeting city officials and visiting government offices, etc. – we are asking that students dress more formally.  This means wearing khakis or other slacks (no jeans, no exercise pants or sweats, no leggings) and a button-down shirt or polo shirt or nice sweater (nothing with slogans, etc.)  A pair of nice slacks would make a wonderful holiday gift if your child does not have a pair.  If this provides a hardship for any family, please let me know.  We can provide a pair of slacks and, of course, we would be totally discreet – the student wouldn’t even need to know.

Because we will be walking the entire time it is essential that students wear comfortable walking shoes (tennis shoes) and that they wear a winter jacket, a hat and gloves.  Being dressed appropriately and having protective clothing is required for participation.