Lower Elementary Curriculum

 

According to Montessori, children have a great task to achieve. They must construct themselves according to the “inner guide” that directs them. Children learn through real experiences, discovery, activity, repetition, their senses, and use of their hands to manipulate objects in their environment. The scope of the elementary curriculum is extensive but organized so that the student is repeatedly exposed to many subjects that are interconnected and built upon.

Montessori education supports the “whole child” in preparation for life and not just in regard to intellectual skills. Autonomy is fostered through an environment that meets the child’s needs at all levels of their development. Freedom to move, collaborate, make choices, and manage their own work plans and time are all imperative in an authentic elementary program. Children are given a view of the world, the universe and the human civilization’s place in it. Their imagination propels them toward further discoveries and interests. There is no limit to the scope and depth in which a child wishes to follow a topic. This instigates a higher level of learning, a sense of a higher cause and the ability to function momentously in society.

It is the process of each operation in math or the in-depth study of a country and its culture, the etymology of words, or the study of the web of life, that give the Montessori method an advantage and its students a richer experience. Understanding concepts and making connections are integral to brain growth, higher order thinking, and recall.

LanguageMathScienceCultural StudiesVisual ArtsField TripsPractical Life

Language

The Montessori elementary language arts curriculum offers a unique and effective method of introducing and engaging children in reading, writing, literature, sentence analysis and mechanics of the English language.

The foundation is set for a strong awareness of speech and distinguishing sounds in the early childhood years. Building upon this foundation, the lower elementary Montessori materials provide exciting, thought provoking key lessons along with a variety and multitude of materials that correspond to the objective of the lesson.

Children are an integral and active part of each lesson, dissimilar to the methods of teaching language in traditional schools where learning is passive and abstract.

Our spoken and written languages have a most incredible and enchanting history. These symbolic stories are presented to the lower elementary class and in turn, intrigue and excite the children to understand and seek more knowledge of the people that came before and influenced who we are today.

Attentive listening/communication/presentation skills

Activities, lessons and assignments help develop skills in oral communication, fluency and language.

  • Grace and courtesy
  • Teacher presentations
  • Class meetings
  • Projects and presentations
  • Shared assignments

Reading

A variety of literary forms including fiction and non-fiction give the child an appreciation for many types of reading materials. Children are introduced to many comprehension strategies.

  • Phonics
  • Long and short vowels
  • Consonant blends
  • Diagraphs/diphthongs
  • Sight words
  • Reading sentences
  • Reading paragraphs
  • Reading stories
  • Research text
  • Poetry
  • Reading in pairs
  • Reading comprehension
  • Library skills

Writing Mechanics

Children are exposed and given many opportunities to examine and practice creative writing using a variety of techniques, purposes, skills and materials.

  • Creative, journal, letter, report, and story writing
  • Editing
  • Sentence structure
  • Paragraphs
  • Capitalization and punctuation
  • Understanding and introducing main events, settings, and characters
  • Sequencing and flow

Spelling

Children are given strategies and rules for spelling and decoding words with many opportunities for memorization.

  • Moveable alphabet
  • Inventive spelling
  • Phonics and syllables
  • Spelling lists, books and tests
  • Alphabetical order
  • Dictation

Word Study

Children are exposed to the wonderful world of words, their etymology and many uses. They learn how words are constructed, and expressed leading to an ever-increasing vocabulary and understanding of words, language, and history.

  • Compound words
  • Singular/plural
  • Word families
  • Root words, prefixes and suffixes
  • Synonyms/antonyms
  • Homonyms/homophones/homographs
  • Syllabication/contractions
  • Abbreviations/acronyms/capitalization
  • Similes/metaphors
  • Onomatopoeia/oxymoron
  • Idioms/euphemisms
  • Alliteration/assonance/consonance
  • Dictionary/thesaurus/encyclopedia/atlas

Grammar

The grammar curriculum offers children a unique and engaging method for learning the function of words and language expression.

  • Functions of words
  • Parts of speech
  • Logical analysis
  • Fundamental tenses of verbs
  • Sentence analysis
  • Grammar symbols

Handwriting

Fine motor skills and proper formation of both print and cursive letters are key to proper and legible handwriting. There are many opportunities and assignments that encourage and assist in developing this important skill.

  • Metal insets
  • Letter formation (upper and lower case)
  • Transcriptions
  • Spacing
  • Placement on the line

Writing various texts

Poetry

  • Haiku
  • Alliteration
  • Acrostic
  • Rhyme
  • Found Poetry
  • Concrete Poetry
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Limerick
  • Cinquain
  • Simile

 Story Writing

  • Lists
  • Characters
  • Settings
  • Fairy Tales
  • Finding Ideas
  • Plot
  • Linear
  • Cumulative
  • Parallel Plots
  • Post Modern
  • Circle Stories

 Informational Texts

  • Research
  • Postcards
  • Journal
  • Autobiography
  • Informational-Explanatory text
  • Persuasive

Mathematics

A carefully sequenced progression of mathematical activities from concrete to more abstract materials, simple to increasingly complex operations and lastly, tools for memorization of facts ensure a child’s whole brain development. The process and problem solving are first and foremost. Movement, active participation, and opportunities to problem solve, stimulate all four lobes of the brain, and nourish the child’s interest. Dr. Montessori created math materials that spark the imagination of the eagerly curious child.

Mathematical concepts are learned with ease and true understanding because the materials and lessons connect the hand and the mind in a most crucial and powerful way.

Numeration

Children develop a solid understanding of numbers, the decimal system and important concepts that relate to numbers and patterns.

  • Numbers 0-10
  • Odd and even numbers
  • Teen numbers
  • Tens numbers
  • Counting 1-100
  • Writing and reading small and large numbers
  • Research of ten
  • Hierarchy of numbers/association of symbol and quantity
  • Decimal system with golden beads and the stamp game
  • Linear and skip counting up to 1000
  • Hierarchy of numbers
  • Fractions: equivalency/entomology
  • Quantities and symbols to the 1,000th
  • Fraction and power equivalencies

Operations

Beginning with very concrete materials the child develops a deep understanding of numbers, their patterns and properties. Working with these materials through exploration, operations, and movements, the child is able to move towards abstraction in a meaningful and enjoyable way.

  • Static and dynamic addition
  • Static and dynamic subtraction,
  • Static and dynamic multiplication
  • Static and dynamic division
  • Associative/distributive properties
  • Math operations with decimals/fractions
  • Word problems

Memorization

Through key lessons and specially designed materials, children work towards memorization of math facts and operations.

  • Snake game
  • Special cases of math operations
  • Addition/subtraction strip boards
  • Finger charts
  • Dissociative/cumulative properties
  • Inverse products
  • Multiplication/division boards
  • Bingo games for all operations
  • Bead chains for skip counting and multiplication
  • Binomials
  • Analysis of a square

 Geometry

Montessori philosophy and geometry curriculum speaks to the whole child bringing the communication and energy of the universe into cognizance. In turn, the child advances ever closer to abstraction. Initiation of the study of geometry is the introduction of the triangle, circle, along with the square. These figures are isolated in order to present to the child representations of shapes found in nature.

A child’s interest in architecture, art history, science, culture, mathematics, music and well, pretty much anything can be ignited through the thoughtful, appealing materials and lessons in geometry.

  • Sensorial exploration of constructive triangles
  • Sensorial exploration of the geometric cabinet(circles, squares, polygons)
  • Geometric solids (cube, prisms, pyramids, spheres)
  • Geometric terms (solid, surface, line, point)
  • Planes and solids
  • Regions and figures (polygons, closed curve, crossed, convex, concave)
  • Types of lines
  • Parts of the line
  • Study of triangles (types, angles, sides, parts, terms)
  • Measurements of angles/fractions
  • Study of polygons, circles, quadrilaterals
  • Congruency/equivalency/similarity
  • Volume and area

 

Biological and Physical Sciences

The goal of the Montessori science curriculum is to provide children the opportunity to interact with, explore, categorize, experience, understand, and inquire about the many forms of life and energy surrounding them. A child gains thorough knowledge and gratitude through discovery, observation, examination, vocabulary, and correlation.

Biology, botany, physiology, and all the sciences embody the fundamental study of the Coming of Life and correlate to the other areas of study in the classroom in obvious and not so obvious but equally significant ways. Children are fascinated and drawn toward the natural world. Interest of other subjects is sparked through the enthusiastic and powerful channel of their natural and wondrous environment.

Botany

The child explores the world of plants, their unique features, parts, functions, and importance.

  • Study of the five kingdoms
  • Classification of plants
  • Parts of plants
  • Specialization of plants
  • Plant experiments
  • Plants we eat and use
  • Life cycle of plants
  • Plant adaptations
  • Care of plants
  • Research of plants

Zoology

In depth discussions and studies with hands-on care of animals provide endless opportunities for research, interest, and curiosity. External and internal parts of animals are studied giving in-depth knowledge and understanding of order, class and species. Characteristics, adaptations and specializations provide insight into the similarities, differences and unique challenges all life encounters in order to survive and flourish.

  • Living vs. non-living
  • Vertebrate/invertebrate
  • Animal stories
  • First knowledge of animals
  • Classification of animals (phyla, class, order)
  • Internal and external parts of vertebrates
  • Comparisons of vertebrates
  • Study of the human body
  • Study of the invertebrate classes and orders
  • Internal and external parts of invertebrates
  • Comparisons of invertebrates
  • Research on animals from the time-line of life and their adaptations

Earth Science

The study of the earth provides children an understanding and appreciation for our unique planet within our solar system and its connection with the sun, the family of planets, and the entire universe.

  • Composition of the earth
  • Planets and orbits
  • Plate tectonics
  • Seasons/weather/erosion
  • Volcanoes/rocks/minerals
  • Water cycle/atmosphere
  • Fossils
  • Biomes

Physical Science/Chemistry

Through experimentation, classification and observation children gain a solid understanding of the scientific method, research techniques, methods of observation, critical thinking, and problem solving.

  • Simple machines
  • Electricity
  • Magnetism
  • Gravity
  • Buoyancy
  • Inertia
  • Motion
  • Light
  • Sound
  • Flight
  • Three states of matter
  • Forces
  • Atoms/molecules
  • Protons/neutrons/electrons
  • periodic table

History and Geography

Both the history and geography curriculum reinforce and further cultivate a great sense of awe and gratitude for the planet and humankind by slowly and meticulously broadening a child’s awareness of community, environment, country, and human evolution and discovery throughout time.

The entire course of study is interwoven with the Great Lessons, through the power of stories, which inspire and encourage children to become stewards of the earth through discussions and meaningful interactions with beautiful materials.

History

The lessons assist children in discovering the what, why, how, and where inquiries they have a thirst in understanding. By offering a vivid and complete picture of human history children begin to understand and appreciate people, cultures, inventions and the fundamental needs of human kind

  • Creation of the Universe
  • Origins of the earth
  • Creation stories from many cultures
  • Earth history time-line (geological eras)
  • Time-line of humans
  • Fundamental needs of humans
  • First civilizations
  • Personal time-lines
  • A year and its parts
  • Calendars
  • Clock of Eons
  • Western civilizations
  • United States history
  • State history
  • Eastern Civilizations

Geography

The child is given an epic and grand impression of the earth and the interconnected universe, providing a design which they may use to construct a well-rounded and intelligent view and love for all life and life forces. Geography then becomes not just about landforms but how they were formed, how they have changed, how they have been used and how they have influenced animals and people. Maps of countries become more than just names and capitals but become a subject to study history, flags, culture, people, explorers, cartographers, mathematicians and many more interesting and limitless subjects which are at the child’s disposal.

  • A globe and its parts
  • Orientation of globes to maps
  • Land and water forms identification
  • Biomes
  • Parts of the mountain
  • Parts of a river
  • Parts of a coast
  • Parts of a volcanoe
  • Types of mountains, rivers, coasts and volcanoes
  • Continents, countries, states, cities
  • Flags; their parts meanings and history
  • Maps and globes (directions, latitude/longitude)
  • Legends and keys
  • Study of a nation

Art and Music Appreciation

Art and music represent ways to communicate, ideas, imagination, culture, and humanity. Just as a child requires skills to write or dance or swim, she needs to also be given the tools and techniques to create her own masterpieces.

Art

As in all Montessori activities, elements and skills are broken down into clear segments to be studied, practiced, and mastered. Lines, shape, form, texture, and the rest of the elements of art are isolated and examined.

  • Elements of art
  • Aesthetic Education
  • Aesthetic appreciation

Music

Music provides an outlet for all children, promoting math, language, coordination, and social skills. For children who may have difficulties in other areas may find their inner strengths through music, compelling them further in their journey of self-construction.

Through immersion and the creation of music children strengthen their brains, memory and develop higher order thinking skills but they also become more enlightened, compassionate individuals.

  • Percussion instruments
  • Tone bars
  • Introduction of the musical staff
  • Writing down music
  • The Science of Sound
  • Instrument classification
  • Folk, classical, pop music
  • Music vocabulary
  • The musical lexicon
  • Italian terms for tempo

 

Field Trips

Peace and Practical Life

The use of our hands, the pathway to our minds, is vital for memory, development, and intelligence. Control of movement, care of self, care of the environment, and grace and courtesy lessons pave a wondrous path for children to master many skills with their hands and bodies. They gain thoughtful and purposeful abilities to care for themselves, their community, and the world around them.

Practical Life

The great disconnect between people and industries such as, farming, textiles, cooking, sewing, and carpentry require a discerning awareness of the importance of these skills to develop independence, pride, self-worth, and social responsibility for future generations. 

  • Care of self (hygiene, nutrition, tying shoes, reflection and meditation, identifying emotions)
  • Care of environment (classroom, cubbies, materials, school, community, earth)
  • Care of classroom plants and animals
  • Care of each other (class meetings, grace and courtesy lessons, relationship building, listening skills)
  • Food preparation, setting a table, serving others
  • Greeting visitors
  • Helping others and working together
  • Cooking
  • Sewing
  • Carpentry
  • Gardening

Peace

The key ingredient that binds the Montessori curriculum together and represents an anomalous educational entity is peace education. A profound respect for all life-forms, cultures, history, nature, community are instilled in the Montessori classroom. Nurturing the inner spirit of children and awakening them to the beauty and complexity of the universe encourages peace. Children are the preservers of culture and children are the transformers of culture.

  • Grace and courtesy lessons
  • Inclusion, respecting and appreciating differences
  • Meditation and reflection exercises
  • Appreciation circles
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Team-building games
  • Multiple studies of peace makers throughout history