Time to Breathe + Room to Grow
Dr. Montessori referred to the elementary stage as the Intellectual Period. The child, entering a period of uniform growth, focuses on mental explorations. The Montessori curriculum is taught from large scope to small, moving from big-picture understanding to a focus on details. The children continue to work with concrete materials to explore academic areas, quickly discovering abstract methods to utilize.
Language is the foundation upon which we build all other elementary studies. We present the child with the practical tools for encoding and decoding words, sentences, and paragraphs, yet it is never seen as an isolated exercise. All Lower Elementary students take Latin.
Mathematics continues to build on the practical lessons of Primary, where students begin to work toward the abstraction of math concepts, naturally formulating rules and formulas themselves. According to the Montessori method, the mathematical rules are points of arrival, not departure. Through the student's own effort, internalization of abstract concepts is achieved.
Traditionally, the study of geometry is undertaken in later years as an abstract series of rules, theorems, and propositions. Maria Montessori saw geometry as firmly rooted in reality, and built a curriculum for Lower Elementary students that uses concrete, sensorial experimentation. Although sophisticated in content, geometry at the upper elementary level continues to be well grounded in concrete experiences with manipulative materials. In this way, relationships and concepts are explored, and the child's conclusions serve as a basis for theorems, proofs, and formulas.
Science is deeply integrated with the cultural studies curriculum and the presentation of the five Great Lessons which center around themes of progress and interdependency. The stories present not only the changes the earth has undergone since its beginning, but also the ways in which each new animal or plant affects all others. Our curricula of sciences include Biology, Botany and Life sciences; Physical science such as the laws of gravity; and Earth science including ecosystems, geology and map skills.
Cultural studies in the Lower Elementary classroom flow from themes developed in what Maria Montessori called the Great Lessons, which are: The Story of the Universe, Coming of Life, Coming of Humans, Story of Communication, and the Story of Numbers. These lessons, presented with highly impressionistic stories and materials, offer the child a panoramic view of the universe and a sense of humanity across time. The great questions that arise from this view then serve as a blueprint for further study in all cultural areas.
Practical Life skills are practiced by students to prepare them for their future. These include coming to lessons prepared, respect and care of the environment, grace and etiquette, and independence.
We believe that service beyond the classroom promotes respect and awareness beyond our global community. All elementary students participate in school-wide and community service projects. This experience will shape not only his knowledge and skills, but also his attitude about learning for the rest of his life.