I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something. -Neil Gaiman
We teach a balanced curriculum encompassing the Common Core State Standards, the standards put in place by ODE, and Montessori guidelines. Our desire is to create culturally informed students who have a hunger to learn and a curiosity about the world around them. We provide a respectful and peaceful environment where children can explore free choice as well as responsibilities involved in the Montessori curriculum. The elementary experience is only limited to the child’s imagination.
Our Elementary program is focused around the Five Great Lessons.
Five Great Lessons/Cosmic Education/Peace
The Five Great Lessons are detailed in a series of stories and lessons designed to provide an understanding of the history of the universe. There is a continual focus on humankind's place in the story of the universe. The Lessons are divided into five unique parts: The Story of the Universe; Life Comes to Earth; The Coming of Humans; The Story of Writing/Language; The Story of Numbers (Mathematics).
Cosmic Education in the Montessori curriculum sets the stage to develop more caring and peaceful citizens. Throughout all subjects, the Montessori guide has the opportunity to instill in students a sense of being connected to all things in the universe. This cosmic view, especially the view that the Earth must be respected and preserved, leads us as human beings in our search for meaning and purpose. Our task is to help our students become adults who strive to achieve a peaceful coexistence in a sustainable environment.
Physical and Cultural Geography
In our Geography program, we look at the formation of the Earth, its place in the solar system, its atmosphere, weather and seasons, and its various land and water features. We also explore ways of representing these feature through the use of maps - finding our way with lines of latitude, longitude and a compass. As in the Primary Program, the main focus is the study of continents, with an in-depth, cross-curricular aspect.
For children, the ability to speak opens doors; the ability to read opens minds. Our Language Arts program builds on the foundation laid in preschool, which sets the stage for mastery of reading, writing, spelling, dictionary skills, poetry, novel studies, penmanship and handwriting and parts of speech. Each skill builds on another and forms a solid base, leading to ease of integration with other subjects. Writing a research paper on Spain, or explaining with words how a math sum was achieved are example results. Additionally, children learn to value reading for pleasure.
Matter and Astronomy
Supernovas, stars, asteroids, meteors, satellites and galaxies! Students discover the wonder and power of a tiny atom and all its potential. This comprehensive curriculum provides activities that explore the mysteries of the universe. Students research and discover answers to why and how things exist and behave, and seek further information when inevitable questions arise.
Plants help sustain animal life on Earth. In our Botany program, we teach plant anatomy, physiology, geography, industries and horticulture.
Animals have inhabited the Earth for millions of years, growing from simple one-celled organisms to the diverse variety we see today. Our Zoology program encompasses an overview of the animal kingdom and classification suitable for the Elementary classroom. We also explore animal needs and how they are met in nature, and with human intervention.
There is nothing in our world that does not in some way relate to mathematics. Being able to apply math skills in other curricula, such as language arts and music is beneficial to the student. The four operations are taught in detail, building on skills learned in preschool. A fair portion of the curriculum is devoted to Geometry and related lessons, including use of the Geometry Cabinet and Constructive Triangles. Students will be introduced to fractions, factors and multiples.
We teach activities as diverse as yoga, soccer and basketball at different times during the year. We will also utilize our outdoor play area for class group games centered on building community and teamwork. As always, our emphasis is on skill building, in order to develop consciousness and control of movement, to enhance personal confidence and teach the value of teamwork and cooperation.
Advanced Practical Life
Children entering the Elementary level of their Montessori education have already had fairly unlimited access to basic Practical Life activities. As children mature, the Guide plays a more active role in selecting certain tasks which will suit the particular child or situation. Elementary children do not have as much "free" unstructured time in which to select any activity they choose, but rather are guided to hone the skills needed for success in other subjects, and life in general. The skills taught in the Advanced Practical Life curriculum are simpler versions of many adult activities such as cooking, gardening, sewing and basic etiquette. Through this curriculum, students will develop a high level of concentration and improve fine motor skills while evoking a sense of respect for others and their environment.
Man has always been curious about his past. In our History manual, we review the origin of the universe, explore the concept of time and visit in capsule form how ancient civilizations evolved. Intertwined with this is a study of the common needs of people and how they apply to each time period.
The External Classroom
Children in the Montessori Elementary classroom are actively encouraged to develop personal interest research projects. Montessori has a unique emphasis on encouraging children to leave the classroom to access information and/or resources for information. It is not possible to bring the totality of society and its work to the confines of the elementary classroom.
In addition to classroom resources, the children are presented with the option of organizing and extended class outing. "Going Outs" are essentially small group or individual, interest-based field trips to somewhere outside the classroom. These trips could be as simple as a trip to the public library to find more books on a topic, or more specific, such as interviewing a local expert in the community.
At the Lower Elementary level, we tend to focus on giving students the tools they will need to Go Out. Skills such as phone etiquette and map reading are a part of the student's preparation. As these skills develop, the scope of the Going Out experiences tend to widen. All students in the Elementary Program, younger and older, are welcome to arrange Going Outs as their interest and confidence allows.
"Our care of the child should be governed not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence." -Maria Montessori