Your student will be an engaged learner using the Montessori method and materials. Our elementary students build an understanding of their world through study and interactions with teachers and peers in a different way than in a traditional classroom. First of all, the basis of our Elementary curriculum is History. We use the Great Stories from the Montessori to introduce science, math, language, and culture. Each academic area of the classroom is further defined and refined to allow students to delve into a deeper understanding of educational concepts and tools.
Mathematics is divided into six categories: operations, facts, linear counting, fractions, abstract concepts and applications, and geometry. Students use hands-on materials to discover, memorize, and utilize concepts such as equivalence, sets, partial products, and expanded notation.
In Language, our students study phonics and spelling; reading comprehension and the building blocks of stories. They also learn the tools to write through penmanship, using print and cursive exercises; studying the etymology of words both in the curriculum and in general; and by exploring how words are formed and used in speech. Students also practice how to communicate through vehicles such as creative writing, research writing, as well as presenting their work and discoveries to the class through recitations.
Students get to explore their world through the cultural studies which are the true heart of our curriculum. Students examine their world through three main lenses, physical, intellectual, and experiential. They learn to categorize information through studying the physicality of things like landforms, plants, animals and humans. Next they use their intellectual skills to relate and connect concepts through frameworks like the Fundamental Needs of Humans and the Five Kingdoms.
And lastly, elementary students engage In experiential knowledge by using the Montessori materials, working together with other students to create their process, and by exploring the real world through field trips. Cultural topics include History, Physical Science, Physical Geography, Human Geography, Botany, Zoology, Art, Music, French and Physical Education.
Concepts, Questions and Research…
The Educational process is based on our students’ stage of development and their capacity for more abstract concepts and reasoning. A first through third grade student is at the beginning of their life-long journey of independent thought, greater responsibility, and discovering their unique qualities and interests. Our use of the Montessori Method facilitates their process in an individualized way. While we use the most authentic Montessori approach, we also believe in accountability and preparing our students for learning success when they leave our school.
We start by teaching students how to navigate their day…work plans and work journals. A new layer of personal responsibility is taught and applied in the realm of time management skills. We recognize that even though it seems to come naturally, balancing work expectations in the classroom is a cooperative goal which requires guidance. Our first year students learn the basic expectations for using a work plan to organize their time and balance their academic interest and requirements. We observe your students’ innate skill and ability to know what they would like to do in the classroom and provide the right amount of guidance to steer them towards independence. The children are accountable for the amount, quality, and completion of their work within our framework of expectation. Usually within a short while the “training wheels” can come off as the children become more confident in navigating the classroom curricular expectations. Most second and third year students begin the year with a work journal, building off of the previous year’s experience. These students begin a more detailed account of the work they choose. Starting and ending times are usually recorded which enables reflection on what works and what did not work in using their classroom time efficiently. All students are required to specifically record when and what work they are completing in order to continually encourage accountability to themselves and to the teachers.
Peer mentoring is also encouraged at this level as students are developmentally ready to really take advantage of working with a partner or group. The Community Meeting is a forum for students to acknowledge each other and learn to accept that acknowledgment; solve problems; create and decide upon class activities; and to share projects, writing, research, birthdays, and special items of interest and relevance to the curriculum. The unique aspect of this meeting is that even though teachers are present during the meeting, it is facilitated and monitored by the students. Each student gets the opportunity to run the meeting, give presentations during the meeting, as well as participate in the meetings.
Learning and teaching with elementary students is conducted at three basic levels: large group lessons, small group lessons, and individual instruction. In any size lesson, teachers are tasked with providing the sparks for learning. Teachers will often have students recall prior knowledge or lessons through a series of interrogatives; put forth the purpose of the lesson (Why we are learning what we are learning…); present the materials and how to use them; and then define or direct the expected outcomes for completing the learning tasks. Your student will experience these three types of lessons on a regular basis during their school day.
In keeping with the Montessori approach, we strive to facilitate a three hour uninterrupted morning work time in a mixed age environment. A typical day in our classroom will begin with students arriving and taking care of their needs (coats, shoes, lunches, greeting teachers and friends); joining the classroom by journaling quietly and participating in a teacher-led morning meeting. Daily work and smaller size lessons usually follow. When the morning work period is complete, students have recess (outdoor or indoor) followed by lunch as a group. Their afternoon begins with a quiet reading time where students get a dedicated time to just read for pleasure. This is followed by regrouping into their Community Meeting. The rest of their afternoon pursuits before dismissal could include Music, Physical Education, Art, Science Exploration or even another opportunity to work with the lesson materials. Children in elementary can end their day at 3:30pm or can stay in our Afterschool Elementary Program. In each part of the day, students are responsible for the care of themselves and the classroom. They plan when to eat a snack in the morning, take care of personal needs, and share responsibilities for equipment, work materials, and the overall organization of the classroom.
Attendance and participation is a must. We strive to provide the best educational environment by starting on time in the morning and continuing until the end of each and every school day. Giving your child the gift of being on time and present allows them to take full advantage of what we have to offer.
From primary to elementary…the continuum of education continues to build, challenge and reflect the educational needs of the student. In the six years your student spends in elementary they will be able to actively engage in not only in a top quality education, but also in forming their own educational process.
We give our students the tools, materials, and guidance to help them build an understanding of their world. Study and interactions with teachers and peers will help prepare them for life-long learning even after they leave our school. We invite you to join us in their adventure.