Montessori classrooms focus on the education of the whole child. In our elementary programs, we support the cognitive, social and emotional development of our students through direct instruction and role modeling. Curriculum is based on a comprehensive scope and sequence, using hands-on materials that allow the students to learn and master foundational concepts and build on that knowledge to deepen understanding of advanced ideas. Social and emotional growth is gained with consistent focus on the development of community mindedness, self-awareness and self-advocacy.
The Upper Elementary language program is designed to develop a student’s reading comprehension and writing skills. By increasing students’ understanding of vocabulary, grammar concepts, editing skills, and writing styles, they are able to analyze text and produce a variety of written works successfully. Weekly discussions of literature and non-fiction texts within small groups provide varied perspectives, rich analysis and greater clarity of written material. Different styles of writing and revision for mechanics and content serve as the cornerstones of our program. Spanish language classes are also part of the curriculum, with students meeting multiple times per week with the Spanish instructor. At this level, students are speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish.
In our mathematics curriculum, there is a strong focus and reliance on moving from concrete Montessori materials to abstracting ideas and concepts. Students are able to experience concepts through not only visual and auditory activities and lessons but also kinesthetic activities, which strengthens understanding, and ultimately leads to long term mastery. This approach allows students to be introduced to advanced concepts early on and gives them time to practice with the materials to gain mastery. Areas of focus in the Upper Elementary curriculum include operations with fractions, decimals, and signed numbers; number relationships; geometric studies of comparative lines/angles, areas and volumes; and concepts of binomials, cubing, square and cube roots, bases, ratios and percents.
Cultural Subjects (History, Geography, Sciences)
In our cultural subjects, we hold true to Maria Montessori’s idea of cosmic education. We introduce concepts as “big picture” presentations to spark the students’ interest and encourage them to ask questions and further their study by completing research and simulations. In the sciences, we focus on inquiry in several ways. Within biology, we continue our work with the five kingdoms of living things (animals, plants, fungi, protists, monera) and expand our learning to include the human body. We also provide a foundation of understanding of basic laws of physics and chemistry by participating in hands-on experimentation, student presentations and direct instruction. Our social studies curriculum builds on the Lower Elementary studies of natural and political geography, the evolution of living things and the needs of humans. Historically and culturally, we focus on ancient civilizations, United States history and our government, world religions, and economic geography. For geography, we study biomes and their impact on humans, mapping skills, political differences of countries or regions, and ecology. These concepts rotate in a three year cycle with the students completing all of the studies by the end of their time in the program.
Co-curriculars (Music, Art, Physical Education)
Music, art, and physical education are all regularly scheduled classes in the elementary programs. Music incorporates movement, playing barred instruments and recorder (3rd grade and up), simple song compositions, and learning to read music. Students also have a special chorus time, in which they sing songs from around the world. Upper Elementary art focuses on studio time where students use a variety of art techniques they have learned to create their own two dimensional and three dimensional pieces. Students have physical education instruction twice per week which involves calisthenics, sport skills, and team building activities. Daily gross motor activities are also built into the schedule through open gym and recess.
Social and Emotional Development
During the elementary years, children gain stronger communication skills, build lasting friendships, discover their strengths and challenges, determine how they learn best, and develop good work habits. We support the maturation of these important personal and interpersonal life skills through structured and spontaneous discussions about personal and collective interactions as students face the challenges of emotional development during a period of tremendous growth. These significant discussions serve as a foundation of individual awareness of the moral context of life. We continue to support individual executive functioning skills of organization, time management, and problem solving for each student through regular check-in conferences between student and teacher. At this developmental level, the collective nature of students has deepened and solidified. Students recognize that rules must be obeyed, and now they want to know why. They explore the notion of choice within a moral and ethical context. They realize the importance of following the rules as critical to a sense of safety within the community, and they are compelled to reach further and examine the personal consequences of consciously making choices that fall into gray areas. What seemed so black and white and clear cut apparently is not necessarily so. There are innumerable what ifs which need to be accounted for.
For more detailed information on specific material and skills covered within the curriculum, please review the following Curriculum Overview or please call 773.714.0646 or email for more information or to make an appointment.