Dr. Montessori’s vision for Elementary education begins with a series of story lessons about the origin of the earth, the beginning of life, and the coming of human beings and their accomplishments, including the development of language and number systems. Also known as Cosmic Education, this approach recognizes that every form of life, from coral in the sea to insects in the air to human beings on land, has its purpose and task in the universe. Each area of study is related to the whole body of human knowledge, and subject matter is presented with harmony and cohesion. This universal approach provides students with a wealth of knowledge to explore and also begs the question, “What is your purpose and task in the world?”
GEOGRAPHY AND CULTURAL STUDY The Elementary curriculum begins with the Story of the Universe, which introduces students to the wonders of all sciences and geography. The three-year geography curriculum then follows, including physical, political, economic, and human geography. This area of study includes small group lesson, research projects, and self-study. Cultural study is emphasized and includes the study of religion, art, music, and food variety around the world.
SCIENCE AND MATH CURRICULUM The Story of the Coming of Life introduces the study of botany, zoology, and ecology. Lessons in botany include study of the parts of the plant – leaf, root, steam, flower, fruit, and seed – as well as plant classification. Lessons in zoology include the study of vertebrates and invertebrates, animal classification, and body systems and classes. Lessons in human anatomy begin with the importance of the flow of blood in our bodies. Lessons in ecology introduce students to the interconnectedness of all living things and the part they play in perseveration of the planet and its species. An introduction to chemistry and physics prepares the students for the challenges of the Middle School science curriculum. The Great Story of Numerals tells the history of numbers and their importance. Math study encompasses lessons in common math symbols, basic math operations, and the order of operations. Elementary students study whole numbers, decimals, fractions, percentage, integers, and rational numbers. They also study powers of numbers, operations with exponents, square and cube root, and powers of ten. The curriculum also includes study of graphs, probability and statistics, algebraic expressions and equations, ratio, rate, and proportion. In geometry, students are introduced to basic geometric concepts which lead them to study area and volume. After acquiring the basic mathematical concepts, students apply this knowledge to solve word problems.
HISTORY CURRICULUM The Great Story of Human Beginning introduces the development of humans throughout history. Lessons in history include the study of natural history, human history, and the study of civilization. Students learn about human inventors for the recording of time.
LANGUAGE ARTS AND SPANISH CURRICULUM The Story of Our Alphabet introduces the history of written communication. Grammar is taught through word study, parts of speech, logical analysis, and syntax study. Language studies include spelling, capitalization, punctuation, interpretive reading, poetry, and style. Lessons in written expression include study of phrases, clauses, sentence analysis, and writing paragraphs. Language study also includes practice in the use of dictionaries, encyclopedias, the thesaurus, and other reference material. Students learn to outline, use story maps, and prepare rough drafts and final copies of their written work. These studies serve the student in both creative and essay writing. The Elementary child is ready for a formalized study of world language, as he or she has had sensorial experiences in many languages, reads and writes in a native language, and is using abstraction as a common exercise in learning. Spanish is the chosen language of the St. Andrews Montessori curriculum. Spanish vocabulary and pronunciation previously experienced in Primary classes are built upon at the Elementary level as students begin the exercise of reading and writing in Spanish. Spanish in the Elementary class is taught as an integrated part of the curriculum. The children learn Spanish in relation to the study of language, history, science, and geography. Spanish in the Elementary classroom is approached through the study of grammar, sentence analysis, and word study. Political and physical geography easily lend themselves to the study of Spanish-speaking countries and cultures.
PHYSICAL AND OUTDOOR EDUCATION Our Physical Education program offers many avenues for the mental and physical energies of our students. Activities for all children include body awareness, fitness, stretching, cooperative games, taking turns, listening skills, and sportsmanship. Activities from team games to fitness regimes invite children to test their own skills and to challenge themselves. Those same activities invite creative thinking and social awareness as well as cooperation and awareness of good team behavior The Physical Education program maintains emphasis on independence, freedom, discipline, and respectful interaction. The children enjoy the consistency in the approach to class management and in the approach to their individual development. St. Andrews Elementary students enjoy recess every day and have three periods each week devoted to Physical Education class. Outdoor education is an integral part of St. Andrews Elementary curriculum. It encompasses not only the opportunity to explore through “going out” trips and field trips, but also the direct experience of the ecology of the child’s bioregion. The outdoor program fosters independence, self-confidence, responsibility, and cooperation. It also encourages environmental awareness through use of the nature trail and variety of gardens.
The Upper Elementary student demonstrates an intense desire to secure strong relationships with peers. Curriculum is based on individualized instruction, but collaboration and cooperation are key components that strengthen these needs for peer connection. At this developmental time, students develop a strong sense of justice and experience what it means to be a part of a classroom community. Students take on increased responsibility for their own moral conduct. Our Upper Elementary program provides stimulating learning materials as well as real world experiences to sharpen multi-dimensional skills necessary for today’s world: the ability to communicate and work collaboratively and the ability to think creatively throughout disciplines. Upper Elementary students continue their studies from the Lower Elementary classroom and build upon that concrete foundation. This is often referred to as a spiral curriculum and is based on the belief that children can understand complex subjects when the information is presented properly and revisited often. “Going-out” excursions, computer science, physical education and community service are all key components of the Upper Elementary curriculum as well. A new elementary wing is in progress!