Grades 1-3

Three-year Cycle

As in our other programs, a multi-age classroom of grades 1, 2, and 3 at the lower elementary level provides children the experience of being with a community of learners of different ages and abilities. Children ages 6-9 are in their second plane of development: they have a deep need for order and rules for how their classroom community operates. With a mixed age of children, managing and communicating the classroom expectations happens organically from child to child, with teacher support provided to manage disputes, if needed. The younger students benefit from observing how the older students manage their workload throughout the day and week and solve social problems that may arise. 
The teachers know they can use the relationships between the younger and older students as a motivator for children; it’s not uncommon to hear younger students voice their excitement about learning a certain subject because they have seen the passion of the older children. The oldest students, who have been in the classroom for three years, take pride in their responsibilities as role models and leaders, and their three-year experience in lower elementary blossoms as they independently pursue research projects and present to their classmates.

List of 4 items.

  • Interconnected Curriculum

    Beginning in lower elementary, the Montessori Great Lessons are presented dramatically to the children to spark imaginations and open the child’s world to a greater universe. With the first great lesson, the coming of the universe, the students write or draw their own creation story, taking the parts that they loved from the Montessori story and modifying them to fit their imagination. Like this first lesson, the other great lessons for the coming of life, the origin of humans, communication and writing, and
    numbers, open the child’s world to the history of our world and our place in it. These dramatic lessons reveal how all parts of the human experience, from science to arts to geography to math and language are interrelated throughout history and today.
  • Language, Reading, and Writing

    The development of learning to read to reading to learn is foundational to the lower elementary experience. Children enter lower elementary with a range of reading skills – some are practicing their phonics and blending sounds, while others independently and fluently read fiction and nonfiction. Lower elementary students practice word study (how words are formed, compound words, synonyms/antonyms, homophones/homographs, etc.), vocabulary, grammar, spelling, reading comprehension, handwriting (including cursive), and writing composition. As they grow in their confidence, the curriculum grows with them. Throughout, reading for enjoyment is valued and encouraged to nurture a lifelong relationship with literature.
  • Math and Geometry

    Using concrete materials, the lower elementary math curriculum continues to support children as they move from concrete to abstract understanding of math operations. The focus at lower elementary is solidifying math facts (simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) and providing hands-on experiences with four-digit operations through multiplication and long division. These problems task students with finding solutions into the millions – without the use of a calculator. Fractions, place value, numeration, measurement, geometry, problem solving are also key parts of the lower elementary math curriculum.
  • Science, History, and Geography

    The lower elementary science curriculum centers on botany (including prokaryotes, protists and fungus), zoology, and physical sciences. These areas of focus rotate through the three years a student is in the classroom. The Montessori Great Lessons are used as a jumping-off point, and students explore sciences through research, reports, experiments, observation, chart making and drawing. They are also invited to investigate areas that interest them and present their findings to their classmates. For history and geography, there is a three year rotation in lower elementary. One year focuses on North American Biomes and Australia and Antarctica, the next on Native Americans and South America, and the third on US history and Europe. The continents of Asia and Africa are studied in-depth in Upper Elementary. As part of their studies, lower elementary students explore through map making (political and biome), research, reports, group projects and presentations, art projects, and they are invited to investigate areas that interest them and present them to their classmates.