Welcome to Elementary
(1st – 6th grade)
We take joy in practicing the Montessori Method. Our Elementary program serves students in 1st – 6th grade.
- We believe in educating the whole student to the fullest of their potential.
- We celebrate individual strengths and actively work on challenges. The process of learning is in our minds daily as we seek to guide our students in education and life.
- We trust the student to take increasing responsibility and leadership in our classroom and our community.
- We follow each student, by carefully observing the student each day in our prepared learning environment.
- We invite students to lessons throughout the day both individually and in groups; simultaneously, students are initiating and accomplishing work on their own and in groups.
- We encourage students to talk about their work, work cooperatively, and communicate effectively with grace and courtesy.
- We empower the student to develop their inner guides in learning.
- We hold deep conversations with students to help them become self-aware, develop their whole person, persevere, problem solve, and acknowledge both successes and gifts.
- We are preparing the student by teaching them to build a strong work ethic, to develop balance, and to achieve quality in their work.
- We believe reflection on our work is vital to self-awareness and leads to the development of planning ahead, setting individual goals, and developing intrinsic awareness of growth.
- We encourage students to try new things and to develop their personal interests.
- We work to create an environment that promotes communication and peace, so that all students may enjoy learning each day.
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Lower Elementary serves students in 1st – 3rd grade.
In Lower Elementary, students create and execute their own work plans in collaboration with their Montessori-trained teachers. The Lower Elementary student gains competency and confidence in math, language arts, science, history, and geography. Broad concepts are first explored, and then specific details are examined in depth. Students are introduced to the process of research and frequently work in small groups to discover additional information. Engaged in project-based learning, students learn how to delve deeper, work together, and take turns in leadership roles. Through daily class meetings focused on issues of general concern and centered on kindness and respect, Lower Elementary students build their classroom community.
Lower Elementary math materials bring a “hands-on” quality to the classroom, with children learning through trial and error, self-discovery, and teaching from other children. The materials quickly move the child to an abstraction of math concepts, including problem solving, fractions, borrowing and carrying, graphing, measurement, long division, and algebraic equations. Geometry is a fascinating area of Montessori. Actual wooden shapes are used to master the terminology of all of the plane figures and solids. Matching cards are used to introduce types and positions of lines, types and positions of angles, and special characteristics of shapes. Experimentation with other materials leads children to their own discoveries of spatial relationships, including congruence, symmetry, and equivalency.*
*adapted from the AMS website
Practical life, which was a separate area in the 3-6 classroom, is now integrated with the day-to-day care of the classroom and its inhabitants. Elementary children dust the shelves, organize and straighten the materials, sweep and vacuum, and keep the classroom neat and clean. The language area includes a phonics curriculum, word study (including antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, and compounds, as well as the parts of speech), creative writing, handwriting, literature, and research skills. Reading of every kind is highly encouraged, as children are introduced to poetry, folk tales, non-fiction, and classic literature. Children are also given many opportunities to read out loud — giving a presentation they have written or dramatizing the work of another author.*
*adapted from the AMS website
Botany and zoology encompass a wide field of biological study. Matching cards are used to learn the characteristics of many plants and animals, and charts aid in the classification of the plant and animal kingdoms. After this first knowledge is gained, children begin to research on their own, using their knowledge of specific plant and animal species. Geography and history include the study of civilizations and countries. Wooden puzzle maps of each continent are studied, with children learning the names, flags, animals, cultures, and geographic features of each country. History begins with the study of time, including clocks, calendars, and timelines. As various fundamental needs of people (like shelter, transportation, food, and clothing) are explored, the children research and chart changes in these needs over time and across cultures.*
*adapted from the AMS website
Children in an elementary classroom begin to keep a record of their work with the use of a workplan. The child still has the freedom to choose when and where they do their work, with certain goals for each week. Keeping track of their work helps students make good work choices, and lets the teacher see which presentations have been done and which are still needed.
Upper Elementary serves students in 4th – 6th grade.
In Upper Elementary, increased emphasis is placed on self-management and research skills. Students are given weeklong assignments and are responsible for planning and organizing their work and time. Teachers and students are empowered to explore the curriculum further and farther, leveraging an individually paced curriculum and robust courses in STEM, language arts, humanities, and fine arts. As members of a tight-knit community of learners, new and incoming students are encouraged to take academic risks and advocate for themselves. Upper Elementary students thrive in the stretch zone of learning, utilizing higher-level thinking skills, including analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
Upper Elementary students are introduced to advanced math concepts through the support of Montessori math materials. Students are better able to understand the “why” behind a math concept before being able to solve the problem abstractly or with “paper and pencil”. This fosters a deeper and more complete understanding of mathematics. This support provides a solid foundation upon which future math experiences can rest.
Geometry in Upper El focuses on three main ideas: Equivalence, Area, and Volume. While the curriculum is broad in each category, the focus rests on allowing the students to derive proofs and formulas through hands-on manipulation of materials. Once again, students master advanced concepts through concrete experiences.
Practical life skills are incorporated into daily routines in the classroom. Children are responsible for the care and maintenance of the classroom and the school property. They also practice the practical life skills of collaboration and communication through the research and presentation of the cultural curriculum.
In the Upper Elementary classroom, there are three main areas of study within the language curriculum:
- Word Study
The first two areas lead to the enrichment of the third. Grammar and word study enhance the student’s writing skills.
Additional components include daily read-aloud and literature analysis. Hearing outstanding literature and discussing the intentions of authors exposes students to various literary devices and strategies, which they can incorporate into their own writing. The curriculum provides the experiences and skills needed to be an intentional writer and, thus, a better communicator.
In Upper El, we use cultural studies as a springboard for research, writing, and presentations.
History – We root children in history so they can move forward. As we look at history, from the formation of the universe to modern day, we see the repeating theme of humans responding to and meeting their fundamental needs. This allows students to see human life as a pattern with common elements regardless of geography or time period. From there, they can appreciate the basic unity of all people and further explore the questions of who am I and where do I fit in the vast but finite history of humankind.
Geography – There are several components to the geography curriculum:
- Functional – geology, astronomy
- Physical – map skills, landforms
- Cultural – country studies
Science – The purpose of the Upper El science curriculum is to teach students to find answers to questions using a structured process. These structured investigations provide the process, skills, and framework needed to conduct exploration based on personal interests.
The elementary workplan evolves in Upper El to an ongoing weekly calendar. Students have some works that are repeated weekly and some that are assigned as they progress through the week. This provides students with the increased challenge of managing tasks over a greater period of time. To be successful, they must prioritize assignments and manage their time. This also allows for children to experience valuable life lessons around choices and their natural consequences both positive and negative.
Students complete work and get it checked off by a teacher. This allows the teachers to be acutely aware of where each student is in their academic journey through Upper El.