The Elementary Program
The Montessori Elementary Program is divided into two levels: Lower Elementary (6-9 year olds) and Upper Elementary (9-12 year olds).
The Montessori elementary curriculum is interdisciplinary, allowing English, science, social studies, the arts, world language, writing, and math to converge in studies guided by the child’s own interests. Emphasis is placed on the connections between different areas of study, not on the mere presentation of isolated facts.
Spanish, music and art, and physical education are an integral part of the week. The overall curriculum is an integrated and academically challenging program that meets the child’s changing developmental needs from year to year.
The Montessori Elementary program allows the child to continue the great strides in learning made in the Primary program. This is a time for perfecting and extending the skills already begun. Reading, math, geometry, and science all bring the student to new understanding expressed through writing. History, geography, and biology are presented in ways that give meaning and appreciation to the great order of the universe. Children begin to explore humankind and their own place in the world and begin to develop respect for nature.
The mixed age elementary classroom creates a community in which the child both lives and learns. During the elementary years children develop social skills and abstract intellectual concepts. By collaborating with others of different abilities and ages, the child learns to accomplish a goal cooperatively. The process of group learning encourages the child to contribute ideas, listen to others, and learn to compromise. These are important lessons, high on the list of priorities in a Montessori elementary program.
The elementary classroom environment meets both the social and academic needs of the child at this stage of development. The emphasis in elementary is to encourage project work that moves over time from the concrete to the abstract. As the child grows emotionally and academically they are introduced to more advanced materials. This child-centered approach covers more than basic first through sixth grade curriculum. The elementary curriculum covers a broad spectrum of topics and becomes more advanced as the student progresses. Elementary students enjoy their own playground with picnic tables and opportunities for care of the environment and outdoor work, including an outdoor classroom. The child/staff ratio in the elementary classroom is approximately 10:1. In addition to the presentations according to the Montessori Method, teachers use the list of basic skills outlined by the Arkansas Department of Education as a guide in covering the required material. The Stanford Achievement Test is given to each grade level (1-6) each spring.
Elementary students attend school five days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. (with the exception of early dismissal each Friday at 2:10 p.m.).