Montessori Elementary Program

Montessori Elementary Program – Ages 6 to 12 years

At this level, children become intellectual thinkers. Academic standards are high and, while children are still progressing at their own pace, there are clearly defined expectations for each level. The Ministry of Education guidelines are used as a minimum for achievement, but our own curriculum is defined in the 3-year age groupings that are integral to the Montessori philosophy. Specific components of the Ministry curriculum may not be covered in the same year, but rather over the 3 years of each level. As such, parents are encouraged to commit to the full 3 years when entering their child into both Lower and Upper Elementary.

A solid understanding of each concept is first ensured through concrete experiences with the hands-on materials. The children then move on to work with more abstracted materials for these concepts, eventually leading to solid conceptual understanding. The Montessori materials are supplemented with the use of carefully selected workbooks, textbooks, reading and spelling programs and computer software.  The result is a broad, integrated and comprehensive curriculum which gives the children an academic advantage and prepares them extremely well for the experiences they will encounter when moving on to other schools.

While there is a strong expectation to complete an appropriate amount of class work responsibly and thoroughly, the emphasis is still on the total development of the child. Children have the opportunity for self-expression to pursue their own interests and develop new ones through a rich and varied curriculum.

Most lessons are given to small groups or individuals so that diverse needs, interests and ability levels are easily accommodated. At the same time, daily evaluation and extensive record keeping on the child’s progress enables the teacher to assess when a child is ready to move on to the next level of challenge. Thus, there is no limit to the child’s accomplishments.

The 1:20 ratio ensures that all students receive the individual attention they require. The classroom teacher holds an undergraduate degree and a TMI/AMI/MACTE accredited Montessori Teaching Diploma. Specialist teachers provide instruction in French (Lower Elementary 2 hours/week, Upper Elementary 2.5 hours/week), Physical Education (3 hours/week), Music (1 hour/week), Art (1 hour/week) and Library (1 hour/week).

The educational program is designed to maximize each student’s academic success while, at the same time, teaching the student effective study and research skills and to adapt and learn from mistakes. The children learn to make responsible choices for themselves and discover how to contribute positively to the world and those around them.  Their morals and values are nurtured, in part by The Virtues Project, with an emphasis on self-discipline and responsibility.  The classroom community allows for the strengthening and refinement of social interactions as children learn to consider their own actions, to resolve their own conflicts peacefully and to use the group process for planning and problem solving.

Language
As children develop their skills in the areas of writing, speaking, reading, literature, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, handwriting, media communications and critical thinking, there are abundant opportunities for self-expression, discussion, dramatization and creative writing.  Indeed, language permeates the curriculum in all areas.

Mathematics
Children use an exceptional set of concrete materials and other resources to develop skills in the areas of numeration, place value, the four operations, squaring and cubing, fractions, measurement, time and currency, decimals, algebra, multiples and factors, exponents, percentages, patterning, graphing, data analysis, probability, problem solving and geometry.  The materials allow the children to explore patterns and discover rules, gaining a clear understanding of each concept.

Cultural Subjects
Opportunities abound for the study of the Universe, the Earth, Mankind, Natural History and the Arts.  The framework for these studies lies in the Story of Life and the Time Line of Life, which represent a panorama of Earth’s history.  Emphasis is placed on relating science and technology to each other and to the world outside the school.

Geography
Covers the physical characteristics of Earth’s different regions and explorations of the social and economic aspects of the world’s countries and peoples.

History
Moves from an understanding of time and personal history to a study of early man and great civilizations.  Topics of study include The Story of the Universe, the History of Canada and Forms of Government.

Biology
Offers an overview of botanical and zoological classification and the study of how plants and animals meet their needs.  Microscopic investigations enhance the understanding of the diversity of living things. Each class has its own raised bed garden to plant and tend. 

Physical Sciences
Provide opportunities for logical thinking, hypothesizing and discovering scientific principals as children perform experiments in energy (light, magnetism, electricity and machines) and matter (chemistry).  Famous scientists, inventors and scientific instruments are also explored.

Astronomy
Richly represented in the Montessori curriculum, from studies of the Solar System, to Creation Myths from around the world.

Visual Arts
Encourage imagination and creativity while developing skills through the use of various media for picture making, drawing, sculpture and crafts. Art history and appreciation form the basis for the program.

Drama
Offers opportunities for self-expression and imagination through in-class activities.

Social and Environmental Issues
Are given due consideration through analysis of current events and with our ongoing recycling and composting programs.  First-hand experience with nature study in our country setting enhances the study of ecology, conservation and pollution.

French
The children attend in small groups with a qualified French teacher.  Using workbooks and textbooks, both oral and written French follow a well-defined curriculum for each level.

Physical Education
Physical fitness, self-image, various skills, cooperation, teamwork and good sportsmanship are promoted through instruction with a Physical Education program.  In addition to gymnastics, skating, team sports and health education the children participate in track and field events and intramural sports.

Music
Provides the opportunity to learn to read, compose and play music, develop pitch, rhythm and beat and study various composers.  Children also develop their vocal skills and instrumental music is introduced in Level 3.

Leadership and Community Service
As students mature, they are afforded more opportunities for leadership roles and participate in various community service and outreach experiences.

If you would like to see a copy of the detailed curricula, it is available in the office. Please book an appointment with the Principal if you would like to view it.


Snacks
MCS does not provide snack for Elementary students.  Students are welcome to have a snack from their lunch bags throughout the work cycles.  Each class has an individual snack table where the students can sit quietly and have a small nutritious snack.  Students attending the extended program should bring an additional snack to be eaten from 3:45 – 4:00 p.m., prior to starting the extended program.

Water
Students are asked to bring water bottles into the classroom during work cycles and store them on the shelving near the snack table.  Each class has a water cooler for refilling water bottles.


Extended Programming
MCS offers an after school Extended program for a fee.  The Elementary Extended program is held in a separate room from the Casa students but, as numbers decline over the evening, the 2 groups may be combined after 5:30 p.m.  The Elementary program will be used for outdoor play, quiet indoor games and independent play. 


Preparing Your Child: Homework
At MCS we do not assign daily, traditionally structured homework.  We believe in preparing the students to organize their time, both at home and at school.  We encourage the students to set goals and find ways to be successful.  These skills will help them in their future years and prepare them for life.  Time Management can be considered an Elementary Practical Life skill!

We have created a Homework Policy that is designed to expand on topics and skills that students are pursuing in class.  Throughout the school year, the students will be given meaningful and interesting assignments.  Term projects invite parents and children to research, explore and observe together. 

Elementary Program Homework Policy
At The Montessori Country School we believe that a small amount of homework is important for children.  It helps teach them responsibility and it helps them to prepare for future years in school.  It also encourages students to become independent learners, to carry out assignment unsupervised and set their own learning targets.  Homework is given at the discretion of the teachers, as is appropriate to the needs of the individual child.

Assigned homework should be meaningful, interesting and expand on or reinforce topics being studied in class. Homework assignments will be given on Mondays and are due back on Fridays.  All homework is to be kept in Homework Folder and returned neatly in same folder.  All completed work is to be returned on due date to the teacher.

Exceptions to this policy are as follows:

  • A larger project requiring more than one week to complete has been assigned
  • The teacher determines that a child needs a great deal of assistance in a particular area and in this case the teacher will communicate the specific concerns and time extension given
  • Any other exception with permission from the teacher, Vice Principal or Principal (e.g. illness, vacation, out of school event)

We believe that the children along with their parents should develop a regular homework schedule.  It is understood that the homework should be completed at a realistic pace over the course of the week.  Parents should continue to assist students by supporting a regular homework schedule, checking assignments, and being a study partner when the student requests.  The following is a guideline of expectations for each level per weekday.

Homework Regulations by Level
Level One:  10 minutes                                         Levels Two and Three:  10 – 20 minutes

Levels Four and Five:  30 – 45 minutes       Level Six:  45 – 60 minutes


IN THE HOME:  WHAT YOU CAN DO HELP YOUR CHILD

  • The home is important for continuing the type of learning which the child has begun in the Montessori class. The child can continue his good working habits and enrichment can be provided at his own level of interest.
  • Like the Montessori teacher, Montessori parents should respect the individual interests and aptitudes of their child and try to provide the best conditions for his development.  By working alongside his mother or father, a child can absorb many useful skills and acquire hobbies of lifelong interest. 
  • Parents should take time to explain things to the child in simple terms and let him experiment and participate in daily activities and chores.
  • Help your child to be independent and responsible when preparing belongings for the next day.
  • Set a common area in the home where items can be placed so that they are readily accessible.
  • Create a work space at home that limits distractions.
  • Ask your child to think ahead and set a schedule on how to prepare for upcoming due dates.
  • Parents are expected to help reinforce the responsibility of the children for completing assignments by the due date.
  • Talk to your child about his/her experiences at school.
  • If your child is spending an excessive amount of time doing work at home, it is important to contact your child’s teacher.
  • Experience a variety of projects with your child, not only the ones assigned in class. The following list offers some suggestions. They are from an article written by Tim Seldin, President of the International Montessori Council.
  • Perform an act of charity or extraordinary kindness.
  • Plan and prepare dinner for your family with little or no help from your folks.
  • Plan and prepare a dinner for your family typical of what the ancient Greeks might have eaten.
  • Read together books that touch the soul and fire the imagination.
  • Go to a boatyard and learn what you can about different kinds of boats, their purpose, cost, advantages and disadvantages.
  • Buy some stock and follow its course over time. Pretend that you have a thousand dollars to invest, ten thousand, a million.
  • Build a square model of the floor plan of your house out of cardboard, one floor at a time. Be as careful and exact as you can.
  • Prepare a list of all the things that you would like to do with your life: career, cities to visit, mountains to climb, things you want to learn, etc.
  • Teach your dog a new trick.
  • Build a model of the Parthenon, an aqueduct, or some other historical structure.
  • Plant a garden, tree, some bulbs around your house.
  • Write a play and perform it with some friends for your class.
  • Make puppets with your folks, build a puppet theater and put on a performance.
    Learn about magic and master a new trick.
  • Build a bridge out of popsicle sticks held together with carpenter’s glue that will span a three-foot chasm and support several bricks.
  • Interview your grandparents about their childhood. Write a biography or share what you learn.
  • Using one of the better books on children’s science projects, select an experiment or project, carry it out, and prepare a report that documents what you did.
  • Select a city somewhere in the world where you have never traveled. Find out everything that you can.
  • Learn something new and teach it to someone in your class.
  • Meet a real artist and visit his/her studio.
  • Make your own set of constructive triangles, golden beads, or some other familiar Montessori material.
  • Using 1 cm as a unit, build out of clay, wood, or cardboard pieces to make up units, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, hundred thousands, millions, up to one billion.

ADJUSTMENT PERIOD
If your child is new to MCS or to the Elementary program, please note the following:

  • A positive, confident attitude on the part of the parent is very important when a child starts school. This can be a very difficult time for parents too, particularly if the child is upset. 
  • We have observed that for a parent to stay and watch their child only prolongs the anxiety and it is easier on the child to say a calm goodbye and leave. However, be sure your child understands you will be back to pick him up at the end of the school day. 
  • We will contact you if your child is upset and does not calm down within a reasonable time frame.

The drop-off system starts right at the beginning of the school year and we request that you start using it as soon as possible.  The staff receiving the children will comfort them if they are upset.

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  • Our child just started a month ago at the school and we notice a difference in him already. He is confident in his abilities, independent and knows his limits. We have thoroughly enjoyed our experience so far and are so grateful for the teachers that have been so welcoming and warm.

    K. M. Parent