Lower Elementary: Ages (6-9)

(6-9) Philosophy Statement
The (6-9) staff is committed to following the child by supporting independence, community building, and the pursuit of knowledge. We will help them to embrace challenges and enhance their potentials by observing what the children bring to the environment, nurturing intellectual pursuits, and recognizing creative and emotional innate qualities.

A Typical Day

*All students must arrive at school by 8:00 a.m.

7:30 – 8:15        Drop-off/ Quiet Work Time
8:15 – 10:30      Morning Work Cycle
10:30 – 11:05    Meeting/Clean up
11:05 – 11:45     Lunch
11:45 – 12:30    Recess
2:30 – 12:45     Snack, Shared Reading/Quiet Work Time
1:00 – 2:45       Afternoon Work Cycle
2:45 – 3:00       Clean up, Community Jobs
3:00 – 3:15        Dismissal
3:15 – 6:00        Extended Day Option

(6-9) Overview 

The (6-9) curriculum cycle covers the following subjects:

  • Reading
  • Grammar/Word Study
  • Writing/ Mechanics
  • Math/Geometry
  • Cultural (History/Geography/Science)
  • Practical Life
  • Grace & Courtesy/Mindfulness

Independence & Confidence:
The (6-9) environment fosters independence and confidence by guiding and empowering children to take responsibility for their learning, manage their time, and organize their day.  Many materials at the elementary level allow for self checking and children are encouraged to creatively practice concepts, and innovate classroom and community procedures. 

Intrinsic Motivation:
Rather than relying on external rewards such as incentives, praise, and penalties to motivate our students to learn and succeed, our program focuses on encouragement and community spirit to cultivate each child’s intrinsic motivation to grow to his or her highest potential. Teachers guide students to self-reflect and recognize the positive feelings that arise from within when they give their best effort, show growth and improvement, and positively contribute to their community. 

Lessons & Follow-up Assignments:
The intention behind all Montessori lessons, regardless of the age of the students or the subject areas, is to excite children about the world around them, and to stimulate a lifelong desire to question, challenge, and feel a sense of endless wonder and responsibility for the world they live in. It is the responsibility of the teacher to speak honestly, respectfully, and clearly to the students, so a trusting relationship is established and the children feel they are in a safe place where their views and opinions will be respected.

Assignments that are presented to the students are created to meet each grade level at their appropriate developmental need and are a further guide for the children to reach a deeper understanding of the subject. Follow-up assignments are differentiated to meet each child’s needs and support each child in being successful in their environment. As Dr. Maria Montessori wrote, “Follow the child, they will show you what they need to do, what they need to develop in themselves and what area they need to be challenged in.”

Academic Preparation & Differentiation:
Each of our two (6-9) environments are guided by two full-time co-teachers and supported by a part-time learning specialist. The low student-to-teacher ratio paired with the three-year cycle allows for differentiated instruction and follow-up activities that meet each student’s needs for continued academic growth and improvement. In addition to teachers’ daily observation of students’ performance and work habits in the classroom, developmentally appropriate assessments in language and math are given three times each year to monitor progress and inform instructional needs. Learning specialists work with individual students and small groups to provide remedial support as needed. Third graders take the Terra Nova assessment each spring to introduce them to standardized test-taking as a practical life skill. Results are shared with parents as well as the (9-12) program teachers in order to provide a snapshot of the student’s academic strengths and areas of growth. 

Social Responsibility & Global Awareness:
The Montessori principles that are practiced in the (6-9) community provide children with many opportunities to develop social responsibility. All children share the duty of establishing and adhering to community agreements and limits. Including children in these group decision- making conversations instills a natural sense of accountability and responsibility for their actions in the classroom. Independence is attained as children exercise their “freedom within limits” and gain understandings of their role as a (6-9) community member. These roles and responsibilities evolve as children deepen their connections as a contributing member of the (6-9) community. 

Children’s roles and responsibilities go beyond their surrounding environment. (6-9) children have a heightened global awareness and are eager to study various cultures around the world. As children become global citizens, they also gain an understanding of the natural world around them. This awareness and understanding grows to become a necessity for children to respect, sustain, and live harmoniously within the world as stewards of our planet. 

Field Trips/Classroom Visits/Camp Ernst
A goal for the (6-9) program is to have three field trips each year; one in the fall, winter, and spring. The field trips are thematically designed to engage children in art, science and nature beyond the classroom walls.  

In addition to field trips, the (6-9) teachers bring in outside organizations to introduce children to a variety of topics: weather, animals, recycling, etc.  

Lastly, our (6-9) students participate overnight at Camp Ernst in May. This experience involves team-building activities and personal goal-setting opportunities through rope courses, horseback riding and other fun programs. 

Homework
Homework in the (6-9) classrooms serves as a bridge between home and school.  Its main purpose is to provide opportunities for parent(s) to engage and have discussions with their children about what they are learning at school. Homework is divided into spelling, online math and language, and nightly reading. 

Specials Programs

  • Art
  • Music
  • Spanish
  • Dance / P. E.
  • Appreciating Differences
  • Food and Sustainability

Our (6-9) specials program primarily happens on Fridays. Students rotate between four classes with an hour for each: Art/Spanish/Appreciating Differences/Dance or P.E. Music replaces dance and P.E. during winter sessions.

Students also participate in outdoor learning to develop gardening skills, plant life cycles and identification, and raise awareness around sustainability, nutrition, and the natural world.