Our elementary classroom is comfortable and homey, filled with Montessori materials designed to help concretely explain abstract ideas and allow exploration. It’s a light-filled space with large windows to bring the beauty of the out-of-doors inside.
The real beauty of our classroom comes to life when it is filled with children! As is expected of all authentic Montessori classrooms, we have a fully integrated community of multi-aged learners who share their learning through collaborative work, mentoring, and peer exchange during uninterrupted, multi-hour work periods.
The classroom is arranged into three main academic areas – mathematics and geometry, language arts including reading, writing, grammar, word studies, mechanics, and penmanship, and cultural studies which encompasses astronomy, earth science, geography, botany, zoology, and history. Cultural studies also includes peace education, along with conflict resolution skills, science, and the arts.
Children learn with joy by exploring and researching a multitude of topics which spark their interests and passions. Teachers guide and support these interests, facilitate learning opportunities with individual or small group lessons, and organically aid individual students, small groups or the entire class. Much work is collaborative, born out of shared interests, and typically these spontaneous groups include children in a wide range of ages, working and learning together. Teachers differentiate instruction, based on each child’s needs, to support and encourage individual growth.
Our class is one where freedom meets responsibility and where learning in community means social responsibility. We teach, support, and foster concepts such as social justice, kindness, human rights, mindfulness, and resilience.
Student work is assessed through both qualitative and quantitative measures. Expectations and goals are individualized based on the needs of each child. Montessori schools do not grade student work in the traditional way as grades tend not to foster opportunities to learn through multiple attempts, nor do they embrace learning through mistakes. Grades are often limiting – an A+ doesn’t encourage additional refinement or inclusion of new ideas discovered through additional research. Our goal is to open a dialogue between teachers and students in order to cultivate student growth, student reflective assessment, mastery of skill sets, and the learning of perseverance.