The Montessori elementary program covers first through sixth grade. The elementary curriculum branches out from five Great Stories told to all students at the beginning of the year. These tales introduce key concepts and encourage the children to ask questions that then lead to individual or (more commonly) group projects.
Traditionally, there are Five Great Stories that are used to paint a broad picture before moving to more specific study. They consist of:
- First Great Lesson – Coming of the Universe and the Earth
- Second Great Lesson – Coming of Life
- Third Great Lesson – Coming of Human Beings
- Fourth Great Lesson – Communication in Signs
- Fifth Great Lesson – The Story of Numbers
Themes revisited throughout the 5 Great Lessons:
- An emphasis on the Big Picture (these are Great stories, not small tales)
- Awe at the epic sweep of our story, from Big Bang to Supernova to Solar System/Nuclear Furnace to Earth’s Birth in Fire to…. etc.
- Gratitude for those who came before us and gave us the gifts of culture and science
The elementary curriculum is also known as “cosmic education” because the subjects are presented in ways that illustrate the interconnected nature of knowledge. During individual and group presentations, the teacher uses the Montessori materials to illustrate key concepts and then guides further exploration in each subject. Students regularly undertake research projects based on their interests and present their discoveries to the rest of the class.
Going Beyond the Montessori Materials
In addition to the work with the Montessori materials, the elementary program relies heavily on science experiments, storytelling, research in books, contact with experts in the broader community, field trips and community service. Music, art, dance, organic gardening, drama and culinary arts enrich the core Montessori curriculum and are available to all students as exploration in different projects. Our bilingual program allows the entire curriculum to be presented in both English and Spanish.
Development of Character
The elementary program focuses on helping students develop character. We offer the children opportunities to ponder questions of morality, justice and empathy through storytelling, group activities and community service. Teachers and students work jointly to keep track of projects, and discuss strategies to ensure the student is receiving in-depth exposure to all subjects. Parent-child-teacher conferences are held twice a year with the goal of helping parents understand the child’s progress and letting children share their achievements.
Eligibility for Admission
The Montessori elementary program is designed mainly for children who have had at least a partial Montessori background during the preschool years. To ensure proper functioning of the classroom, all elementary students are expected to be able to choose activities without adult direction, work independently, finish a cycle of work, keep track of their projects, follow classroom rules, participate in classroom discussions, and respect other classmates. On occasion, a child who doesn’t have a Montessori background, but who demonstrates these abilities, will be accepted into the program.
Elementary Daily Schedule
Morning work cycle: 8:10 – 11:15am
Lunch/clean up: 11:30am – 12:10pm
Playtime: 12:10 – 12:45pm
Afternoon work cycle: 12:45 – 3:00pm
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