The Elementary Program
Grades 1 – 5
The Elementary Program continues the processes of the Primary and Kindergarten Programs, building upon them to adapt to the changing developmental needs of the child. The elementary-aged child is evolving from thinking concretely to more abstract thought. It is an age of wonder, where questions of why and how things in the world work come into focus. It is a time when the task of the teacher is to guide each student in his or her own search for these answers. The basic skills acquired in the early years are polished, but now in the context of the greater world.
Elementary students are introduced to the world at large through a curriculum of the sciences, computers and technology, mathematics, literacy and literature, social sciences, history, world geography and civics. All subject matter is presented in an integrated manner, emphasizing the inter-relatedness of all learning. Art, music, poetry, theatre, movement, foreign language and physical activity lend vitality to the curriculum and excitement to the elementary students’ day.
The Elementary Program is as much about leading students to the many avenues that will provide them with the tools to find answers to their own questions as it is about leading them to the answers themselves. Student inquiries lead the way from library, internet, scientific and/or social research to written and oral exposition. Along the way, students refine their reading skills, expand their studies of vocabulary, grammar and sentence analysis, work on data analysis, exercise critical thinking and delve into creative and expository writing in a context that is meaningful to the student rather than an end unto itself.
The Elementary classrooms continue the multi-aged setting that provides children with opportunities for broad social development. Friendships developed in this setting have depth. Children make an effort to get along, as they know they will be together for several years. The presence of a wide range of ages and abilities builds in each child a tolerance for people’s differences and appreciation for their commonalities. The multi-age setting enhances learning as younger students learn from the older ones, and older students reinforce their learning by providing leadership and assistance to their younger classmates.
The Elementary program continues the Montessori tradition of cooperative learning while allowing each child to progress at his or her own pace. In addition to providing a balanced curriculum, we nurture the ability in each child to solve problems and think critically in his or her quest for knowledge of the world at large.
While the Lower Elementary program remains electronics-free, the Upper Elementary program is the entry point of our one-to-one laptop program. On entry to Fourth Grade, each student is assigned a laptop that he or she will use in increasing fashion through Eighth Grade. Over this period, technology becomes the platform for both academic work and creative endeavors, from PowerPoint presentations and online math modules to movie editing, sound mixing, multimedia projects, websites and robotic control.