“Children are endowed with a power that enables them to reconstruct things which are very complex, and they do so with a great deal of pleasure.” —The 1946 London Lectures Dr Montessori
The Montessori elementary program is taught in multiage grade classrooms with a mixture of grades and ability levels. The Maximum capacity of each class is 24 children with a ratio of one Montessori guide per class. The lower elementary program is a cycle of 3 years as is the upper elementary program. The tree above exemplifies the the foundation of the program that begin in the Casa program and grow into the core competencies in the lower elementary level. As the concepts become more abstract and challenging for the students the breadth of the upper elementary curriculum unveils itself.
At CMS the enriched elementary curriculum was designed to develop a strong academic foundation and to foster a genuine love of learning. CMS encourages young minds to cultivate their sense of creativity, inquiry and innovation.
In keeping with the Montessori philosophy, an integrated approach to learning offers students an opportunity to explore topics that capture their imagination. The teacher promotes an environment that allows the student’s innate curiosity to flourish. The importance of social awareness and sense of community are also integral parts of the Montessori experience.
The language program focuses on the development of reading comprehension and critical thinking, as well as building a solid grasp of effective writing strategies. Utilizing specially designed materials, students develop a finely-tuned understanding of grammatical and syntactical concepts. Qualified Montessori teachers capture the interest and imagination of students during lessons, which results in active participation. The students enjoy and reap the many benefits of opportunities to speak in front of the group, the class, and the school. This experience builds confidence and allows them to hone their public speaking skills.
Language is the common thread that runs through every aspect of the integrated Montessori curriculum. The students are constantly engaged in projects that allow them to refine their writing skills. Acquired language skills are applied to research projects, as well as other areas of the curriculum, establishing interrelationships between the disciplines. They build a sophisticated level of language competence while engaging in varied research projects that require a careful degree of planning and classification work. Many of our students are accomplished wordsmiths in their own right, publishing impressive poems and short stories after participating in nationwide competitions.
The CMS mathematics program allows students to embark on a journey of discovery of mathematical ideas and applications. The specifically designed materials are unique to Montessori classrooms. The use of concrete materials facilitates a solid understanding of mathematical concepts, and is subsequently applied towards understanding abstract mathematics. The student moves from working with place value to conquering algebra and problem-solving. The process of moving from concrete understanding to the use of abstraction ensures a strong foundation in mathematics.
The younger students approach mathematics with fascination and a healthy sense of curiosity, using materials to solidify their knowledge. The older students can work well beyond grade level as a result of building competency and the development of an ordered, thoughtful approach to mathematics. They are eager to pose mathematical questions, answer more advanced word problems and apply their knowledge of math concepts to their understanding of the world around them. These concepts are applied to other areas of the curriculum such as science (charts, diagrams, graphs) and history (mathematical advancements and inventions).
The 5 Montessori Great Lessons are the underpinning to Montessori education in the elementary phase. They enable the Montessori teacher to use the power of story telling to introduce children to the creation of the Universe and take them on a journey through time. It is astounding to see how a child can retain information, and when presented with engaging and exciting stories such as these, their desire to learn increases. The titles of the 5 great lessons are:
Unlike the traditional method of education, the Montessori elementary curriculum places a high degree of emphasis on the humanities, social sciences and biological sciences. The study of geography, history, botany, and zoology actively promotes and cultivates children’s interest in learning. During their six years in the elementary program, children develop a global perspective. Project work fosters the development of important life skills such as leadership and teamwork. The incorporation of oral presentations in the Montessori curriculum imparts a sustained positive influence on the development of self-confidence.
The students develop skills in scientific investigation; relating science to technology, society and the environment. In their investigations they are given many opportunities to apply their knowledge to everyday life. Day field trips and annual overnight experience (for the older students) are integral parts of the learning process.
The focus on the social sciences and life sciences enhances students’ understanding of the past and the complex dynamics of the present, so that they are equipped to be active, aware and productive contributors to the future. They develop zeal and enthusiasm towards their individual importance in making a difference to our changing world.
Students at CMS have a series of weekly speciliased lessons to help broaden their understanding of the world through different mediums.
In Art lessons the traditional fine arts of drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking, architecture, and photography, as well as crafts are taught whilst discovering and discussing important artists and their work through the ages.. The curriculum facilitates the development of creativity, as well as the ability to communicate with others through visual images.
Younger students focus on acquiring keyboarding and word-processing skills, and learn to use graphics, make title pages and type up their written work for finished products. Older students learn to utilize tools such as Microsoft Excel to create scientific charts and graphs, as well as getting exposed to and learning to use other technological programs, apps, and tools, essential in today’s information-based economy. All elementary students use the computers in the classrooms as a tool for research, as well as for presenting reports, stories and projects. The importance of computer technology is highlighted as invaluable in the CMS curriculum. Learning to integrate and incorporate technology into other aspects of the curriculum is a significant part of computer-based education at CMS.
At CMS, we take great pride in our interactive, multi-faceted French program. Combining Montessori methods and materials with enriched programs such as Histoires En Action (AIM) and Savoir Faire (Visages), we offer an enriched, accelerated curriculum that provides students with a unique learning advantage.
With its creative and extensive use of story and drama, the AIM program allows students to live the French language through the characters from its stories. Combining gestures with the phonetic aspects of language, the AIM program complements Dr. Montessori’s philosophy of the “use of hands” in learning, allowing children to visualize and kinesthetically embed vocabulary in their minds.
Savoir Faire (Visages) is an activity-based French program consisting of themes called ensembles. The communicative focus promotes French language learning using activity-based and thematic strategies. Students are exposed to French through music, flash cards, and other varied multimedia.
At CMS, students not only excel far beyond standards in core French, they use French as a tool for communication, and personal and creative expression.