year, work in the elementary class begins with five important
stories, called the "Great Lessons". These stories dramatize
known facts about the universe and the progression of human
civilization. Dramatic stories, experiments, charts timelines,
and illustrations center the children's interests by helping
them create a picture of the whole universe at work. From here,
the classroom opens up to endless possibilities as students
follow their own particular interests with a large measure of
freedom. This unit of study forms the backbone that integrates
the daily curriculum.
Great Lessons are part of what Montessori called "Cosmic
Education". This is the child's gradual discovery of how all
things on earth in the past, present and future are
interrelated. Through this work, the children develop a greater
global vision of their world.
History work in the elementary class begins with the development of the
solar system and early life on earth. Students study aspects of early
civilizations, the development of humankind, and recorded history. Students
learn how the contributions of humankind throughout history have brought us
to where we are today.
Elementary students extend their knowledge of continents and countries with
further research about the people, language and cultures of different
lands. Map work continues with the study of geographical features and
landforms. Project work crosses several subject areas, and students strive
to achieve their own personal best while cooperating with others.
In this area, the children's natural curiosity is stimulated through
discovery projects and experiments, from which they draw their own
conclusions. The first science experiments are designed to give the
children basic knowledge, which will help them to understand the development
of the solar system, the earth and its configurations, life on earth and the
needs of plants and animals. As they progress, the curriculum encompasses
physics, chemistry, botany, biology and zoology. Students learn how to
collect and analyze data, observe systematically and carry out experiments
using appropriate scientific methods.
LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE
The elementary language curriculum emphasizes creative and expository
writing, interpretive reading of literature and poetry. The elementary
language curriculum emphasizes creative and expository writing, interpretive
reading of literature and poetry. The focus is on word study, spelling,
grammar, punctuation, penmanship and capitalization. Research skills are
introduced, practiced through individual project work and refined as
students work with a wide range of research materials. The computer is used
for some research. The children are encouraged to present their projects
and read their stories with confidence, clarity and expression,
strengthening their oral language skills. Good literature is always
available in the classroom library. The children enjoy well-written story
and information books on all subject areas of the curriculum. In addition,
the classroom uses SRA Reading Comprehension books. Students practice and
use their reading and writing skills throughout the curriculum supplemented
by weekly writers' workshops and daily independent reading time.
The mathematics curriculum is presented with concrete materials, which
reveal arithmetic, geometric, and algebraic connections. Work with the
Montessori mathematics materials ensures that mathematics is not simply
memorized, but understood. These concrete materials help the student
transition into working mathematical concepts abstractly. The children�s
knowledge of the decimal system is extended as they explore its quantities &
qualities. Students practice operations of addition, subtraction,
multiplication and division. Number hierarchy, fractions, decimals,
negative numbers, squaring & cubing are studied. Throughout math work, what
is learned is continuously applied to daily situations. Elementary students
continue exploring geometry on a sensorial level. Students gain a strong
understanding of fundamental geometric concepts through consecutive lessons
with Montessori materials. Students gradually begin to study geometry
abstractly. Students begin with a study of congruency, similarity,
equivalence, and fractions which prepare them for later area and theorem
work. The study of lines, measurement of angles and the construction of
geometric figures is also introduced.
Self-expression is nurtured in all children. Children experience visual
art, music, poetry, theatre, writing, dance and other forms of creative arts
with confidence and passion. As current research continues to indicate the
importance of this area of study, we find it a very natural part of our
Appreciation and Art History is as natural part of the curriculum
as technique and use of various media. We learn about art as we do
everything else, from the perspective of history. We study the various
forms of media as we study the artists who created and used them.
Weekly formal art instruction from Art and Montessori trained teacher
Kelly Rauscher introduces new techniques, materials, and art
is an important part of our classroom as well. Daily singing and
listening are accentuated by weekly training on rhythm and singing from
our specialist, Dr. David Eslick. The arts are naturally
integrated into cultural studies and language (creative writing).
Special guests will join the class occasionally to share cultural art
forms. The students attend at least one performance of children's
theatre each year. Classroom-based drama production and performance
encourages the public speaking, poise, self-control, and games.
Continuing our commitment to
foreign language instruction that began in the Early Childhood
Environment, each Elementary student receives instruction in
Spanish language. The children are
introduced to vocabulary, conversation, music and dance. Spanish is
spoken frequently in the classroom, both by teachers and students.
Supplemental Spanish language materials will be available in the
classroom for independent study.
Large muscle skills are a heavy focus during this stage. Games and team
sports are encouraged to teach good sportsmanship skills. Each week, the
students attend Physical Education class to develop stretching, flexibility,
coordination, balance, breath-awareness and strength-building techniques.
This is in addition to daily largely unstructured outdoor time.
The 6 to 12 year-old child is eager to be part of a community. Acceptance,
justice and fairness are of supreme importance. With the Cosmic Curriculum
as the foundation, peace education and conflict resolution are taught daily
so that children learn to be part of a warm, respectful and supportive
community. Our peace education emphasis also reaches beyond the classroom,
through community service projects and pen pals. The students are closely
involved in both school-wide and classroom-based community service projects.
Our gardens and animals provide an indoor-outdoor classroom for our
elementary students. Life science studies will have direct correlation to
our botanical and zoological resources. Ecology, environmental studies and
conservation are integral to the children's outdoor activities. Students
have opportunities to experience first-hand care of animals, care of earth,
and gardening. Weekly animal husbandry and gardening experiences are
incorporated into the integrated cultural curriculum.
The computer is a vital learning tool for the elementary student. Students
learn basic word processing and design skills to enable independent and
efficient computer use. In addition to practicing basic keyboarding and
computer operation skills, students learn how to conduct research using
educational software and how to safely navigate the internet. The worldwide
web provides unique and exciting opportunities for the older student to
interact with the world, and to be part of a truly global community.