Lower Elementary Program
GRADES 1 through 3
The child has reached the point of abstract thinking
Children between the ages of 6 and 12 reach the pinnacle of their mental abilities. Now able to form hypotheses, use logic and reason, glean information through research, and make knowledgeable assumptions and suppositions; the child has reached the point of abstract thinking. This is a period of strong social interaction in which the child’s moral compass has advanced beyond the simple idea of fairness, to a desire to not only comprehend why humans act and react as they do but to discover ways of solving societal problems. Students develop both academic and social skills that they will use in their adult professional and private lives. For instance, working with others, group problem-solving, respectful conflict resolution, leadership, empathy, and compassion.
The Montessori elementary program is designed to provide what Maria Montessori referred to as “the keys to the universe”. Just as the primary-aged child longs to achieve physical independence, the elementary-aged child has a natural desire to develop intellectual independence. Elementary teachers guide the children in developing strong foundational skills that will allow them to thrive and explore their own interests. Children are treated as individuals, and lesson plans are based on careful observations of each child’s strengths and challenges.
The centerpiece of the elementary Montessori curriculum is an extensive set of beautiful and purposeful classroom materials. These materials allow each child to build his/her own knowledge, providing concrete experiences with abstract academic concepts. The children can use classroom materials to explore and master core concepts in mathematics, geometry, grammar, literature, biology, Earth and physical sciences, history, geography, music, and the arts.
Just like a Montessori primary classroom, the elementary classroom is a mixed-age environment. Older children serve as mentors and role models for younger students. The elementary-aged child is extremely socially driven, and the classroom environment is designed to embrace this tendency rather than repressing it. Children attend small group lessons, sit at group work tables, and are encouraged to design collaborative projects.
The children run the classroom
From the first day of school, the children meet and discuss guidelines for class rules. Children who were in the class the previous year often remember situations that upset them, and these experiences may help drive the rules the children create together. Children in the classroom have work responsibilities, help each other and allow the class to run efficiently. The teacher acts as a role model, mentor, and guide. She interferes with the children’s work as little as possible while providing lessons that capture the children’s imagination and interest. She also helps the children when conflicts arise, calls meetings to discuss problems with the class in an open forum, and communicates the children’s progress to their families.
Maria Montessori called education “preparation for life,” and in our elementary program, children will learn the importance of finding a balance between freedom and responsibility. While children are encouraged to choose their own work and to pursue their own interests, they are also made aware that certain foundational skills must be mastered in order to prepare themselves for life in the outside world. Teachers provide children with the tools and strategies they need in order to develop solid time management and critical thinking skills, a sense of personal responsibility, strong self-discipline, and a high level of empathy towards others.
Specific Objectives for Lower Elementary
BMSS lower elementary curriculum focuses on language arts, math, science, history, and geography. Extra-curricular studies including French art, computer technology, and music are also incorporated for all students.
Our curriculum is rooted in a deep appreciation of history. Every fall, children listen to the five “Great Stories” of history: The Story of the Universe, the Coming of Life on Earth, the Coming of Human Beings, the Story of our Alphabet, and The Story of our Numerals. These stories are intended to ignite each child’s intellectual curiosity and to instill a deep sense of wonder. The children are encouraged to design independent research and creative projects that reinforce this sense of wonder.
The following are expectations for each child as they complete the three-year cycle of our Lower Elementary classroom. Embracing the beauty of a Montessori classroom, we expect that each child will reach these goals at his or her own pace within the cycle. We, as teachers, will support each child to reach these goals while sharing the excitement of learning.
By the end of the third-grade year each child is expected to:
- Work neatly, form numbers and letters legibly in both print and cursive.
- Write reports and stories in complete sentences with capital letters and periods.
- Be able to write at least one page during writing time, in various genres.
- Spell words correctly if copied or if they have been taught is spelling lessons.
- Look up new words in the dictionary.
- Read chapter books and non-fiction books, and write complete book reports.
- Memorize the math facts in addition, multiplication, and subtraction, and possibility division up to ten.
- Understand exchanging in addition, multiplication, and subtraction, in up to four digits.
- Understand how to solve word problems in math.
- Understand how to identify, add and subtract fractions.
- Know how to read a clock, how to work with money, and how to measure objects,
- Locate the continents on a map and some of their countries.
- Know basic land and water forms, and be able to use an atlas.
- Know how to research a topic independently.
- Know the parts of speech.
- Know the basic rules of punctuation.
- Know how to find new classroom work when required work is completed.
- Express yourself verbally to teachers, peers, and whole groups.
- Show a positive attitude toward schoolwork and learning.
- Be a kind and helpful member of our community.