Lower Elementary includes students in first through third grade. During this time of development, children have a great thirst for knowledge and the focus becomes one of independence. That thirst for knowledge and curiosity is encouraged by offering guided choices and ample opportunity to deeply explore concepts children find interesting. While the state guidelines are followed, children are encouraged to work at their own pace. Learning in the Lower Elementary classroom occurs through the interaction with hands-on materials and cooperative learning with other peers.
The multi-age classroom promotes leadership and encourages growth via children teaching children. Assessments are used to enhance what the children are learning and to provide guidance for the progression to more challenging work. These assessments are made primarily through observations, one-on-one work with a teacher, and written evaluation. The Lower Elementary classroom has a small child-to-teacher ratio which enables the teachers to meet and follow each child’s individual needs.
Lessons are given individually or in small groups. Occasionally a unit will be presented in a large group and the children are encouraged to explore the activities from the unit. The materials used for presenting lessons and exploration are hands-on multi-sensory materials that are visual, tactile and auditory. The activities are placed on shelves in a sequential manner, easy to hard, top to bottom and concrete to abstract. The teachers provide lessons on individual activities relating to each unit, and coordinate units of study. Field trips and speakers enrich the curriculum throughout the year.
Students are required to fulfill responsibilities that include work from the subjects of language, arithmetic, and culture daily. There are different units to explore that help fulfill their work responsibilities. Grammar, science, history, botany, zoology, geometry, and geography, as well as creative writing, are included in the language, arithmetic and cultural subjects.
Language work is integrated into all areas of the curriculum in the Lower Elementary classroom. It is primarily focused on reading fluency, writing and oral expression.
The arithmetic curriculum introduces math concepts, number theory, and computation through the use of Montessori materials. The use of materials allows children to practice concepts with concrete materials to gain abstract understanding. Students work at their own pace and begin to fully understand concepts without the use of materials.
The cultural curriculum incorporates the study of History, Physical Geography, and Natural Sciences. These lessons satisfy the student’s need to understand relationships, cause and effect, associations and morality while utilizing the imagination and sparking internal interest. Students are also involved in Music, Art Studio, Physical Education and Foreign Language weekly.
In addition to the daily responsibilities, students also build upon their practical life skills and peace education. We strive to educate the whole child (mentally, physically, and emotionally) by guiding the students to learn to take care of themselves. They learn to navigate their emotions and how to express themselves in writing or appropriate speech. Peace education helps prepare children mentally and emotionally for life.
The Montessori environment provides a framework for the acquisition of lifelong academic and social skills. Practical life activities help the child navigate the physical and social world. Activities include learning the social norms of a group, planning work, and managing short-term projects. These time management and conflict resolution skills will benefit them for life.
The school day is 8:30am-3:15pm. We do have extended care available from 7:15am-8:30am and 3:15pm-5:30pm. Additionally, students are offered a wide range of extracurricular activities including cross country, track, music club, and chess club. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or schedule a tour.
For additional information visit the American Montessori Website for a look inside the Lower Elementary classroom: Lower Elementary