Mathematics and geometry provide students with a multitude of ways to develop their emerging reasoning mind. Developing the ability to think logically is the purpose of the mathematics program. Students experience concepts concretely, with manipulative materials, which then lead them to the abstraction of those concepts.
The study of geography in the elementary is launched by the Great Lesson which illustrates the formation of our universe. Study continues from the expansive to the specific in physical, political, and dynamic geographical analysis. Students also explore economic geography and follow the paths of goods imported and exported around the world.
Botanical and zoological lessons in biology are often presented as a dramatic story that arouses interest, appeals to the imagination and creates an emotional connection with the information. In botany, the child is introduced first to the parts of the plant and then to their details and the variety that exists. In zoology, the students study the characteristics of the five classes of vertebrates and methods for researching animals based upon how they meet their needs and their evolution. An emphasis in this area is on developing the student’s power of observation.
Communication, in the form of writing, reading and speaking, is at the center of the elementary child’s work. Reading and writing occur daily in lessons, in research work, in creative writing and in follow-up work to key lessons. Children have many opportunities for spoken language through formal presentations of reports and projects and work share presentations. Book discussion groups meet regularly to read and discuss stories, writing, literature and poetry from the Great Books program and other sources.
Spanish is taught by a native of Spain. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd year elementary students work with the Spanish teacher in the classroom in small groups over an entire 3 hour work period once a week. They focus on the acquisition of vocabulary. The older elementary students generally meet separately once or twice a week for lessons which involve writing and reading Spanish, as well as lots of oral conversation.
Our approach to history begins not with humankind, but at the very beginning of time with the creation of the Earth. It is a vast approach, beginning with a history of the universe, geology, natural history, paleoanthropology, archaeology, and finally history proper which includes ancient, medieval, and modern history. It flows from the universe, to Earth, to humankind. This approach helps to build an ever important sense of solidarity not only towards humanity, but towards all of life, and towards the greatest environment of all, the universe to which we all belong.
Art occurs in the classroom and in the art studio. Classrooms are equipped with a large variety of easily accessible art and handwork materials. Students work in the art studio with a trained art teacher once a week for up to an hour and a half. Several times a year student work is hung in the gallery of the main building.
A music teacher comes to the class once a week to work with students in small and large groups. Periodic musical performances highlight songs of a historical period or country. Montessori music materials in the elementary build on the work with the bells of the Primary class. Elementary students use the tone bars for singing, original composition and playing, individually and in small groups.
Students have PE twice a week in mixed ages groups to play games and to learn and practice skills. Students work on individual fitness goals, charting their progress over a period. The emphasis for all is on active participation and effort, with good sportsmanship.