The elementary child is entering a new period in his life. This imaginative, social, creative child needs a planned environment and expansive course of study to support his burgeoning independence and potential. The spiral curriculum of the Montessori Elementary Community exposes students to many interrelated topics repeatedly over time. With each repetition, children build on the knowledge they already have about a topic, delving deeper into the details, seeing the connections more clearly, and ultimately developing a deep understanding of our complex world. The core of the Montessori Elementary curriculum is known as “Cosmic Education” and includes profound lessons, such as the origin of the universe, life on Earth, the emergence of humans, and the history of math and writing.
Areas of the Curriculum
1. Practical Life Elementary students engage in building practical skills such as cooking, managing their materials and time, and organizing activities. Each student is accountable for completing class work in the time allotted and confers with teachers weekly to chart progress. As children move forward, they are given increasing responsibility in planning and executing their weekly tasks.
2. Mathematics and Geometry An understanding of the process takes precedence over memorization in the math curriculum. Concepts are first presented in the most concrete way possible with materials. This supports students as they grow to understand facts and concepts and eventually shift to abstraction. Once they have a firm understanding of the concepts, children move toward memorization, keeping track of their own progress and work both in teams and individually.
3. Language Language in the elementary program is more than just reading and writing, it’s an immersion into the history, grammar, etymology, and spelling of language. Writing develops in conjunction with exploration, research, and experimentation, as children want to share what they have discovered. Creative writing allows children to acquire a valuable tool for self-expression. They experience oral and written forms of poetry, prose, drama, dialogue, discussion, debate, and research. Reading aloud to the children is a daily practice.
4. History and Social Studies The history and social studies curriculum strives to introduce ideas that students can really ponder. The origin of the universe, the formation of Earth, the fundamental needs of human beings, the history of writing, the measurement of time, early and modern humans, ancient civilizations, and American history are all introduced and studied.
5. Geography Students continue to study geography in more detail. The structure of the Earth, physical geography, political geography, and mapping are included in the Elementary curriculum. Children explore volcanoes, the work of water, wind and air, and the basic physical properties of matter that have shaped the world we inhabit. They learn through demonstrations, field activities, and experiments they perform by themselves. The relationships of earth, sun, seasons, and zones of climate are studied along with economic and political geography.
6. Science Students are introduced to many ideas and topics in science over the course of the Elementary years. Some introductory topics include chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology, and meteorology. More advanced study includes the scientific method, the periodic table of elements, atomic structure, biochemistry, photosynthesis, mechanics, electricity, and human biophysics. Topics in biology include the comparative study of vertebrates, botany, classification, microbiology, evolutionary biology, and human biology.
7. Art Art in Montessori education is an important form of self-expression and part of the daily life of the class. The teacher gives basic lessons to small groups of children in the mechanics of using media like watercolors, chalks, pastels, clay, colored pencil, collage.
The supplies are available on the shelf for the child to use during the work time, and children often access the art supplies to illustrate and decorate their work in other curriculum areas.
8. Spanish Students have weekly lessons and study Spanish grammar, writing, and conversation as well as the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.
9. Outdoor Education and Movement Time spent in the outdoors is as important as classroom time. Children spend much of their day outside, taking nature walks, studying plants and animals, gardening, and exercising. They run, climb, jump, swing, and organize their own games. Our emphasis is always on skill building, to develop consciousness and control of movement, to enhance personal confidence, and to teach the techniques and values of teamwork and cooperation. The study of nutrition and the human body are included in this part of the curriculum.
9. Environmental Studies Children continue to learn about the importance of sustainable living Through activities such as plant care, gardening, composting, careful use of available resources (reducing, reusing and recycling), and respect for all animal life, children become socially responsible in the care of our planet.
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