Our class is a working community of children and adults. The environment spans three age levels of six to nine years (grades 1 – 3). Younger children are continuously inspired by the older students’ work, while older students revise and enhance their skills as they mentor younger students. The multi-aged group setting also provides for individual differences. The elementary class provides diverse opportunities for social growth, while challenging growing imaginations.
The elementary program emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving and research skill development. Students expand their knowledge in a wide range of academic subjects; building on the skills and social abilities that they developed in the primary classrooms. Their interests now soar into all areas of learning, and our classroom reflects this exciting new stage of development.
Throughout the elementary years, students are guided from concrete learning, through the use of manipulative concrete materials, to reasoning, questioning and thinking abstractly. The materials engage the children visually, auditorially and kinesthetically. Students are given a great deal of free choice in determining their educational paths, with supportive limits.
Academic subjects are integrated into a comprehensive program designed not to teach, but to allow children to learn at their own pace. The elementary curriculum includes the following areas:
Each year, our work in the elementary class begins with five important stories, called the “Great Lessons”. These stories dramatize known facts about the universe and the progression of human civilization. Through dramatic stories, experiments, charts timelines, and illustrations we center the children’s interests by helping them create a picture of the whole universe at work. From here, our classroom opens up to endless possibilities as students follow their own particular interests with a large measure of freedom. This unit of study forms the backbone that integrates our daily curriculum.
The Great Lessons are part of what Montessori called “ cosmic education”. This is the child’s gradual discovery of how all things on earth in the past, present and future, interrelate. Through this work, the children develop a greater global vision of their world.
Language and Literature
The elementary language curriculum emphasizes creative and expository writing, interpretive reading of literature and poetry. We focus on word study, spelling, grammar, punctuation, penmanship and capitalization. Research skills are introduced, practiced through individual project work and refined as students work with a wide range of research materials. Students practice and use their reading and writing skills throughout the curriculum. Students further enhance their reading, critical thinking, and writing skills through participation in the Junior Great Books reading program.
The mathematics curriculum is presented with concrete materials, which reveal arithmetic, geometric, and algebraic connections. Work with the Montessori mathematics materials ensure that mathematics is not simply memorized, but understood.
We extend the children’s knowledge of decimal system as they explore its quantities & qualities. Students practice operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. We study number hierarchy, fractions, decimals, negative numbers, squaring & cubing. Throughout math work, we are continuously applying what we learn to how it relates in daily situations.
Elementary students continue exploring geometry on a sensorial level. Students gain a strong understanding of fundamental geometric concepts through consecutive lessons with Montessori materials. Students begin with a study of congruency, similarity & equivalence, preparing them for later area and theorem work. We introduce the study of lines, measurement of angles and the construction of geometric figures.
History work in the elementary class begins with the development of the solar system, and early life on earth. Students study aspects of early civilizations, the development of humankind, and recorded history. Students learn how the contributions of humankind throughout history have brought us to where we are today.
Elementary students extend their knowledge of continents and countries with further research about the people, language and culture of different lands. Map work continues with the study of geographical features and landforms.
In this area, the children’s natural curiosity is stimulated through discovery projects and experiments, from which they draw their own conclusions. The first science experiments are designed to give the children basic knowledge, which will help them to understand the development of the solar system, the earth and its configurations, life on earth and the needs of plants and animals.
Spanish, Music, Physical Education
Specialists in Spanish, music, and physical education also instruct all elementary students on a weekly basis.
Elementary students learn to trust their own initiative and abilities, take responsibility for their work, and become self-motivated learners. By gaining respect for themselves, others, and the environment, children develop the desire and ability to continue learning throughout their lives.
“Within the child lies the fate of the future.”