|Curriculum & Education
". . .if we wish to alter the habits and customs of a country, or if we
wish to accentuate more vigorously the characteristics of a people, we
must take as our instrument the child. . ."
Recognizing the individual needs of each student, the curriculum excels in providing a strong academic foundation and develops positive moral, social, emotional, and physical characteristics and abilities.
With a wide range of activities available, the curriculum encourages the students to engage in real life practical and meaningful opportunities, ultimately leading to appreciation and respect for the environment and themselves. Participating in cooperative games, learning Spanish, gardening, exploring the outdoors, pursuing the fine arts, caring for animals, building, using tools, going on field trips, and exploring creative outlets help to raise self-esteem and awareness, create a broader worldview, and ultimately assist the students in creating the adults they will become.
The Toddler Program Ages 24 months to 3 years
Freedom to move and explore is essential to the development of the toddler child's potential. Toddlers learn through their senses. As they move freely in their beautiful, safe and inviting environment, they are watching, touching, smelling, listening and tasting. Basic trust can then develop, and learning, which leads to the development of independence, occurs when these children participate in their daily routines of self-care and care of the environment. There is also an acute sensitivity to the emergence of language at this time, so the toddler child needs clear and appropriate models of expressive and receptive language of the community.
The Primary Program
Ages 2 1/2 to 5 years
From her acute observation of young children, Dr. Maria Montessori discovered that children loved to work (in any absorbing activity) and that from this "work" they learned simply for the joy of learning. She also discovered that children progress through "Sensitive Periods" during which they are especially ready for certain skills and activities. Dr. Montessori's "prepared environment" takes advantage of these periods of readiness by providing a vast array of educational materials geared to helping the child learn through his senses, his corresponding skills and knowledge with which he continues to teach himself.
The Lower Elementary Program
Ages 6 to 9 years (Grades 1 to 3)
The Lower Elementary classrooms provide an expanded learning situation for children who are interested in understanding and relating to the world around them. Trips out into the community, not just to see, but to study and understand, are important to expand their world. Reading and writing skills are developed through intensive instruction with hands-on materials and through their use across the curriculum. Impressionistic charts, stories and demonstration materials stimulate imagination in history and the sciences, and are followed by research and exploration. Mathematics, including geometry and algebra, are learned by manipulation of Montessori materials and by stimulating the child's imagination and desire to discover the fantastic secrets of numbers. Visual and performing arts are learned through the use of various media, a study of the history of the arts, and investigation into contributions made by diverse cultures and people, including literature, dance, drama, and music. All areas of study are intertwined. The child is encouraged to achieve for personal satisfaction and challenge. The teacher guides the children to understand themselves and others and to develop emotionally, imaginatively, and morally, as well as intellectually. Elementary classes build community through class meetings, sharing classroom and school-wide chores, and learning to discuss and manage conflicts in healthy ways.
The Upper Elementary Program
Ages 9 to 12 years (Grades 4 to 6)
By the time children reach the Upper Elementary classroom they will have developed their academic and social skills to a level that allows them to become adept in many ways. They branch out into more creative and advanced endeavors such as writing and producing plays, running small businesses such as pizza sales, and organizing the school Talent Show in the spring. Individual and small group projects extend to the wooded areas of the campus for primitive shelter-building and cooking, animal care and ecology, as well as biological studies.
The Adolescent Program (Junior High) Ages 12 to 14 years (Grades 7 to 8)
A Montessori vision of early adolescence is as different from traditional junior high as the rest of Montessori education is from conventional preschool and elementary school. Montessori observed that tweens and young teens need to work with their hands as well as their minds, need to understand the way the adult world works; especially the economic world, and need to explore their own developing personalities. They need to be challenged and empowered to make decisions for themselves and their classroom community. They will make mistakes, but they will also learn valuable life lessons from their mistakes. With these opportunities for personal growth comes knowledge of self and development of interpersonal skills as they live and work together in a safe, nurturing environment with strong adult role models. All of this, in order to develop their own personal vision, to help them define the great tasks of their lives and thereby find their places in their communities.