The Elementary program, for students in grades 1st – 6th, is organized as two three-year cycles:
Lower Elementary for grades 1st – 3rd
Upper Elementary for grades 4th – 6th
As in the Primary classes, students spend all three years in the same class, building community with one another and deepening relationships with teachers. Elementary age children continue to learn through the use of concrete materials as they move gradually toward more and more abstract thinking. The Elementary lessons and materials are multi-sensory, dramatic, and impressionistic, serving to ignite the imagination and curiosity of the students.
Our Montessori curriculum inspires students to become independent learners who appreciate and understand their world. Integrated studies provide students with unique and age-appropriate materials that help them to become accountable for their use of time, for accuracy in their work and to evaluate their strengths and areas of growth. Our students have individualized work plans to allow them to use time effectively and to make appropriate choices. Students demonstrate great joy in their learning and achievements. The following is an overview of each academic subject that is studied in the elementary classrooms.
Elementary students engage in building practical skills such as cooking, organizing fund raising activities, and time management. Each student is accountable for completing her class work in the time allotted, and confers with her teachers weekly to chart her progress. As children get older, they are given more and more responsibility in planning and executing their weekly tasks.
LANGUAGE | MATH & GEOMETRY | GEOGRAPHY & HISTORY | SCIEMCE | BPTANY, ZOOLOGY & BIOLOGY
NESTT, COMPUTER & STEM | PHYSICAL EDUCATION | PEACE EDUCATION & ART
The Montessori Language Arts curriculum is designed to enhance the student ’skills in reading, comprehension, writing and speaking; and to provide connections with history, literature, science, math, and geography. Reading increases comprehension skills through various reading activities such as silent reading, reading aloud to peers and teachers during literature class, reading booklets related to academic studies and reading chapter books at home. Writing exercises creative writing and allows the student to express thoughts before spelling and grammar are mastered. As the children’s skills progress, sentence structure becomes more complex, spelling improves, and story-writing skills develope. Children write book reports, poetry and journals, compose books of their own and then learn to analyze sentences, build complex sentences and refine research skills.
Grammatical studies include the parts of speech and their functions using classical Montessori materials such as Grammar Boxes and the Farm. Definitions and symbols are correlated with each part of speech. Grammar studies are integrated to reinforce work the child has already mastered. For Vocabulary building and Spelling the students study word families, create spelling lists, study word origins and meanings, and test their spelling skills. Nomenclature and sight words are practiced. Handwriting skills are fostered by reinforcing print and cursive skills during journal writing and class work. Foreign Languages are studied in small groups so that every student can participate in an oral and hands-on way. Cattoira Montessori offers Spanish as a foreign language.
MATH & GEOMETRY
Children entering an elementary Montessori program usually have a good math foundation. Elementary Montessori materials allow children to develop an in-depth understanding of math concepts followed by memorization of math facts. Students receive individual and small group lessons and work at their own pace. Math curriculum is organized so that students can independently follow the math sequence under the teacher’s guidance. We also use a series of (Mortensen Math) booklets that aid students gain a better understanding in their mathematical career. Math lessons include; Addition, Multiplication, Subtraction, Division. Operations: static & dynamic, Skip Counting, memorization of math facts, fractions and multiples. Estimating, rounding, squaring, decimals, time, money, estimation, word problems, and math history.
GEOGRAPHY & HISTORY
Geography studies are integrated with history and science. Students learn about many different cultures as they learn about other countries. Students also study biomes, flags, capital cities, languages, plants and foods native to each continent. Some favorite activities include drawing maps and identifying countries and oceans. Studies also include the following; the Earth, major land and water forms around the world, learning the names of the oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, volcanoes, mountains and islands, physical, cultural, economic and political geography.
Our physical science curriculum integrates physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, earth sciences, and electricity. Projects and research help students to understand abstract concepts. Studies include discussion and experiments. Some favorite activities include constructing models of planets, atoms, and molecules. The study of the universe, solar system, the sun, planet earth, matter, electricity, and magnetism are studied in depth.
THE UNIVERSE: Formation, nebulae, galaxies, gravity, Milky Way.
SOLAR SYSTEM: The Sun, the nine planets, and their orbits.
BOTANY, ZOOLOGY & BIOLOGY
Botany: Many hands-on activities including various nature walk on school grounds, and experiments pique the students’ curiosity and engage them in the study of botany. Students study botany nomenclature and definitions, plant classification, biomes, and ecosystems. These studies include in-depth studies of the plant, the leaf, and the flower, classifications of the edible leaves, roots, stems, flowers, fruits, and seeds. Students observe the needs, growth and classify different plants. Older students research native plants and help care for them in the environment. Various gardening activities aid and nurture their interest in these studies.
NESTT, COMPUTER & STEM
NESTT: The Nurturing Environmental Stewards of Today and Tomorrow (NESTT) Program is part of our Montessori Elementary curriculum. NESTT is a science-based curriculum that includes activities, fossils, specimens and materials for studies in ecology, biology, marine biology, geology, archaeology and environmental science. The program educates our students about preserving our biodiversity through environmental stewardship, environmental sustainability, and overall resource management. Ultimately, we hope to instill in them an understanding that we can conserve the life-sustaining resources of our planet.
Music & Creative Dance: Students enjoy learning new songs and choreography. Music is integrated into the winter and end of the productions. The creative dance program teaches students teamwork while integrating the visual and performing arts. We also have music classes such as keyboarding and guitar.
Physical Education: Conditioning, strengthening, rules, cooperation and sportsmanship are taught, along with basic skills in a variety of activities.
PEACE, EDUCATION & ART
Peace Education: The peaceful resolution of conflicts continues to be a goal in the Elementary classroom. The older the students get, the better they are able to resolve disputes on their own. Teachers are always available to facilitate discussions between students, but props like a stack of “feeling words” written on cards can aid students in resolving conflicts independently.
Grace and Courtesy: Acting with grace and courtesy toward others is modeled by the adults in the Elementary classrooms and courteous behavior and consideration for others are expected of Elementary students.