Lower Elementary Program
Ages 6 to 9
Rather than tracking a student’s progress through a traditional grading system like most elementary schools, we use the mastery learning method to ensure that true growth and understanding are taking place. Each of the children must demonstrate mastery over the lessons presented prior to advancing to the next level in lower elementary.
When children enter into the lower elementary classroom, the process of physical manipulation of materials continues. Our students are expected to complete daily and weekly goals. The principles of applying the information that they have acquired are introduced. Materials similar to those in the preprimary class build on the previous work and add a new layer of knowledge. Learning experiences are further expanded by the introduction of many new materials. Children begin to move from the concrete to the abstract and see themselves in relation to a larger whole.
FIVE GREAT LESSONS
The Montessori method uses the Five Great Lessons to capture the child’s imagination and introduce history, geography, botany, zoology, earth science, and physical science. The curriculum inspires students to become independent learners who appreciate and understand the world we live in. Integrated studies utilize unique and age-appropriate materials. Students develop accountability for their use of time and accuracy in their work. They begin to self evaluate their strengths and areas of growth. Students have individualized work plans to allow them to use time effectively and to make appropriate choices.
"We teachers can only help the work going on,
as servants wait upon a master."
- Maria Montessori
Language & Cultural Curriculum Overview
Montessori Language Arts curriculum is designed to enhance the students’ skills in reading, comprehension, writing, and speaking. The aim is to provide interconnections between the system of subjects.
Students increase comprehension, word attack skills, and fluency through various reading activities. Beginning readers participate in the Project Read curriculum. The next steps are to read silently, aloud to peers, and for the teachers. Reading for information begins with reading booklets related to academic studies. Practice continues with SRAs, multiple skill books, and literature groups. The reading groups are based on reading chapter books and a weekly group discussion.
Creative writing allows the student to express thoughts even before spelling and grammar are mastered. As the student’s skills progress, sentence structure becomes more complex, spelling improves, and story-writing skills develop. Students learn to construct a paragraph with a topic sentence, supporting details, and a concluding sentence. They also learn to use interesting adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions to make their sentences more complex. The children use a writer’s notebooks to gather ideas for writing and to record lessons. They begin research writing using different resources and recording them in bibliography form.
Students study classification, compound words, prefixes, suffixes, antonyms, synonyms, homophones, homographs, and homonyms. The work that the students do with these materials greatly enhances their reading, spelling, and vocabulary skills.
The parts of speech and their functions are mastered by working with the classic Montessori materials such as grammar boxes. Definitions and symbols are correlated with each part of speech. Grammar studies are integrated to reinforce work the child has already mastered.
Students study word families, origins, and their meanings. Spelling skills are assessed weekly. Print and cursive skills are reinforced through practice, journaling, and class work.
Geography studies are integrated with history and science. Students learn about many different cultures as they learn about other countries. The evolution of geography since the formation of the earth is part of our study. Favorite activities include independent or group research on a country’s physical features and major landmarks.
History begins with the concept of the passage of time. Geologic time and the study of civilization throughout history are examined. Research projects include the early humans, Renaissance, Ancient China, Ancient Greeks, Romans, and more.
Mathematics & Science Curriculum Overview
Our physical science program provides a strong sequential curriculum that integrates geology, astronomy, and earth sciences. Lectures, discussion, and experiments are incorporated. Projects and research help students to understand abstract concepts.
Many hands-on activities and experiments pique the students’ curiosity and engage them in the study of botany. Classic Montessori nomenclature cards are part of this work. The parts of a plant, types and parts of seeds, types of leaves, types and parts of flowers, and types and parts of fruits are studied.
Our zoology program begins with the study of life as presented throughout history on a timeline and continues with the study of the invertebrate and vertebrate classes.
· The five kingdoms of life
· Five classes of vertebrates
· Animal research – independent in-depth studies
· Nomenclature of the external and internal parts of the vertebrate and invertebrate
Animal physiology: respiratory, circulatory, nervous, and digestive systems are compared among vertebrates and invertebrates.
Test tube division, checker board multiplication, and bead frames add another layer of mathematical abstraction. Elementary students will recognize the same color coding used in Primary. However, the bead chains of the bead cabinet are now found separated in a box.
Memorization of math facts follows the development of an in-depth understanding of the math concepts. Students receive individual and small group lessons and work at their own pace. Montessori math curriculum is beautifully and scientifically organized and sequenced. Students can independently follow the progression with the teacher’s guidance.
Comprehensive geometry studies begin with lessons on the line and its parts, the relationship between two lines, and continue through the study of angles, the relationship between two angles, study of the triangles, polygons, and quadrilaterals.
Your student will have the opportunity to set up an email account to begin building relationships around the world through our 21st century pen pal program. Our second year students wrote “snail mail” letters to students in Austria, France, and South Korea. Austrian students responded by email. Communicating with Skype is next. We are connecting with peers around the world with the larger global goal of making and spreading peace.
Homework & Traditions
The purpose of homework in lower elementary is to reinforce concepts that the child is learning in class, particularly in math and language. Working at home helps prepare for the assessments. Weekly homework packets are also given to the students to help reinforce their class work. There are two tests each week on spelling and math facts. Reading at home is a weekly expectation. First grade students fill in a reading log. Second and third grade students participate in literature groups.
Traditions enrich a student’s experiences. Each year our students participate in field trips related to curriculum studies. Short outings have included visits to a raspberry farm, the Howell Nature Center, children’s theater productions, and service opportunities at a nearby senior citizens home. A favorite tradition is our annual Mother’s Day Tea, hosted and prepared by the students in May.
SPIRITUAL & CHARACTER EDUCATION
Children and worship curriculum is used to teach the children a love for God through Jesus and to love and respect others. The stories from the Bible are taught with hands on material (props and figurines). A new story is taught each week. Materials are available on the shelf for the children to use to retell the story.
Prayer is incorporated into the day through a daily prayer circle. This is a time during morning circle when children can voluntarily offer up a prayer for the day or for anything that may be on their mind. Giving thanks before a meal is a school wide practice.
The foundation of love for God and love and respect for others is the framework of our Christian values based education. Character education is developed within this framework. Through character education lessons, the children learn the value of honesty, compassion, respect for others, diversity, and more.
Find out what makes lower elementary at Go Like the Wind special.