For children in grades 1 through 4, these are the years when a Montessori education can make all the difference in the world. Using everything that has been learned to this point as a foundation, we begin to build a multifaceted program that speaks to each child's diverse intellectual interests and physical pursuits, while never losing sight of the basic premise that learning is a fun experience offering lifelong rewards.
Where learning in the earlier programs was primarily a communal effort, the emphasis in the Elementary program shifts to the individual, giving students their first taste of the kind of personal accountability and independence that defines the Montessori experience. In these classes, the teacher is charged with helping children understand what is required of them, while each individual child is responsible for getting the most out of each lesson.
Class Times for Elementary
Breakfast Club: 7.30am to 8.15am
Rainbow Club: 3:00pm to 6.00pm
Vacation Care: Available on days classes are not offered and parents require child care.
During both the fall and spring, after school workshops are available for elementary age children. Programs may include foreign language, art, soccer, cooking, and chess.
Achieving Full Potential
Teachers meet with individual students periodically to create a plan for meeting these requirements and to monitor the progress toward these goals. Here the focus is on each child's individual learning style and areas of interest. For instance, one child may want to fulfill all the week's requirements on Mondays, while another may want to work on those for the first hour or so each morning. Together, the student and teacher will make a list for the week or the month — complete with appropriate deadlines — with the child responsible for meeting those deadlines. As time goes on children are free to progress on a more independent track, giving them a feeling of personal achievement that inspires them to even greater heights.
Where some may see the mixture of different age groups as counter-intuitive in an elementary program, we believe it is essential to the Montessori experience. After all, there are three years worth of wonderful possibilities to which every child is exposed — some of which are taught directly, while others are absorbed through the environment. A three-year span also helps the teacher avoid group lessons and teacher-centered work, helping the children reach a much higher level of independence.
Elementary Typical Day
After saying their goodbyes to parents and shaking hands and greeting their teachers, the day begins. Students start by meeting with teachers to discuss the entries to be made in their daily journals. Topics might include the most exciting thing they saw over the weekend or the changes they may have noticed on their drive to school. After the initial meeting, students go into their classrooms to review the daily agenda.
Next, students enter a work plan into their planners so that it can be checked by the teachers before beginning work. First grade students may engage in Stamp Work or work with Golden Bead Multiplication, while older students may work on a project on amphibians or meet with teachers to learn about the edible portions of different plants.
At lunchtime, students take responsibility for setting the table, and, after a brief non-denominational expression of thanks, sit with friends. Afterwards, there is time outside to play tag in the on-campus apple orchard, have fun on the playground equipment, or feed the goats in the barn. Gym is also part of the outdoor curriculum, with activities like horseback riding and tennis.
Upon returning to the classroom, the students shift academic gears, moving on to subjects like reptiles, with discussions that may even draw upon the class pet. Each year the science work becomes more complex, and may involve tasks like classifying mammals. Later, the emphasis shifts once again, this time to the arts, where students may begin to learn to paint in preparation for a school-wide art show. The academic day officially ends at 3:00pm, but the school offers a myriad of on-campus activities after school, led by our own teachers or outside instructors.