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Lower Elementary

About Lower Elementary

The Lower Elementary curriculum continues to focus on establishing a firm foundation for fundamental math and language skills, while utilizing the spiral approach to circle back and expand upon culture studies introduced in Casa. Similar to Casa, you will find concrete materials in all areas of study. By manipulating materials with built in control of errors, students may independently engage with the Botany, Zoology, History, Geography and Geometry curriculum. After initial lessons, students expand their knowledge with independent projects. In Math and Language, students manipulate materials as a way of concretely exploring new concepts. As they begin to internalize and abstract their understanding, their work moves towards more traditional paper and pencil variations. Students are provided with a framework for work expectations and use tools such as weekly agenda plans to organize and track their assignments.

A Typical Day

Our morning is dedicated to an uninterrupted 3-hour work period. This is one of two work periods offered throughout the day. Maria Montessori advocated that given three hours of uninterrupted time, students would ebb and flow in and out of work, having the maximum amount of productivity possible. Students spend their mornings working on individual activities at a table or on a rug on the floor. Their teacher observes their progress and selects appropriate times to invite them to one-on-one or small group lessons throughout this 3-hour work period. Students are given the opportunity to develop their concentration, order, cooperation, independence and a love of exploration. They are welcome to have a snack, work with peers, observe others or complete ongoing work throughout the morning.

Lunch and Recess

After the morning work period students have lunch. We work together as a team to move our classroom tables together, set the tables and enjoy a meal prepared by our on-site cook.  After lunch we get dressed and head outside for recess. Elementary students roam the property as a group, deciding what they want to play and where they want to play together. Giant snowmen, forts, tree climbing, imaginative play and musical performances can be observed on a regular basis.

Afternoon Work Period

After recess, students return to their classroom to silently read or write. In the afternoons, students are free to finish their agenda plans and continue taking out classroom materials. Specialty programs (Art, Music, French and Physical Education classes) are offered during the afternoon work period as well. At 3pm students tidy the classroom and have an afternoon snack before heading outside for some outdoor time and later dismissal.

Our Outdoor Classroom

Our Lower Elementary classroom doors open onto our outdoor classroom environment. Students are free to move in and out of the indoor and outdoor classrooms and complete their work in their preferred space. Lessons occur both inside and outside and we roam the property to seek out examples of our studies. Students enjoy reading quietly in the shade of a tree during silent reading time and snack and eat in our outdoor environment when the weather permits. Physical Education occurs outside, with lessons such as tobogganing, fort building and tree climbing as well as more traditional units such as cooperative games and passing and receiving.

Our Curriculum

The Montessori Elementary Classroom is divided into 7 different areas: Math, Geometry, Language, History, Geography, Botany and Zoology.  Within these areas, the materials are logically organized in sequential order; either from concrete to abstract, broad concept to detailed study or simply by sequence of study. Each area includes hands-on materials which are displayed in aesthetically pleasing ways designed to inspire interest. Materials include controls which allow for self-correction and are the launching off point for studying a vast range of ideas. We also make use of our beautiful property to seek out examples and real life applications of concepts learned during lessons.

Math

Math materials are designed to introduce mathematical concepts in a concrete way. Often there are multiple materials for the same concept and the same materials may be used in multiple ways. This allows for personalization to each child. Some materials “speak” to one child more than another. Mathematical materials start as very concrete and move toward abstraction.

Well-known Montessori materials include the golden beads, stamp game and bead frame which can be used for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Finger boards are used regularly to assist students in working with and memorizing their math facts. Fraction pieces are used while naming, comparing and then adding, subtracting, and multiplying fractions. The beauty of the racks and tubes and chequerboard inspire students to work on their long division and multiplication.

Geometry

What better way to explore geometry than through physically manipulating geometric shapes and solids?  Throughout the Elementary Curriculum, students explore the characteristics of different shapes and geometric solids and learn the proper formal language required to compare and classify them. Students study angles, learn to use protractors and use Venn Diagrams throughout their studies.

Language

Our Lower Elementary classroom’s Word Study program assists students in decomposing and building words by exploring their parts and etymologies. From there, students incorporate this understanding into their creative writing, grammar and reading programs. They examine the difference between homonyms, homophones and homographs and employ synonyms and antonyms within their compositions to add new levels of creativity and detail. Students enjoy exploring the parts of speech (articles, nouns, adjectives, verbs, prepositions, adverbs, conjunctions and interjections) with our grammar boxes and grammar symbols. They decompose sentences utilizing sentence analysis and discover how to compose formal paragraphs by applying their skills to their culture studies.

History

Our History studies begin with personal timelines and the concept of time itself. We explore calendars, the etymology of the days of the weeks and the months of the year, and where calendars originated. Next, students expand their studies to explore the Fundamental Needs of Humankind. We cross compare how these needs are satisfied internationally as well as through time.  Then we explore the history of life on Earth. Starting with the first microscopic lifeforms, students explore how lifeforms, both botanical and zoological, and the planet have evolved and changed throughout time.

Geography

Our Lower Elementary Geography curriculum begins with the start of the universe and then works its way to us. We examine our solar system, planet, and finally the various aspects of the planet Earth. Students use scientific experimentations, storytelling and Montessori materials to explore the universe. And of course they examine, classify and explore rocks and minerals, a favourite unit of every child! Our Geography studies answer many of the “why” questions children this age have.

Botany

Our Botany studies begin with plant identification. From there, students use Montessori materials, scientific experimentation and impressionistic charts to explore the different parts and functions of the plants. What do roots do? Where does fruit come from? How do plants make their own food? These are only a few of the questions our Botany curriculum inspires students to find the answers to.

Zoology

Our Zoology studies begin with animal identification and classifying animals according to various characteristics. Students examine the classes of Vertebrates and Invertebrates and the characteristics of each class.  Next, they delve into the internal functions of vertebrates and invertebrates, cross compare their knowledge and complete research projects using this knowledge. Students also examine the human body, its internal and external parts, and how the body and its parts function.

Specialties

Due to Covid-19 cohorting restrictions, our French program has been temporarily suspended. Due to Covid-19 cohorting restrictions, informal programs for art, music and physical education are in place.

In Art, students complete numerous units, including the introduction and use of a colour wheel, pointillism, geometric art, 1-point perspective and sketching. For Music, students have access to xylophones, rhythm instruments and sound bars in the classroom. They are introduced to rhythms, melody and musical composition. Students participate in Physical Education units such as cooperative games, passing and receiving, tumbling, movement, tree climbing, hiking and tobogganing.

 

Goals of Montessori Education

Independence

Students are provided with opportunities to choose their own work, become engaged, construct their personal knowledge and are given the freedom to expand upon their studies. Guidance is given and children seek help when necessary. Each child is supported on their individual path to reaching their full potential, while learning in a richly equipped indoor learning environment and natural outdoor environment.

Self-Confidence

Students are able to take risks without fear of failure or punishment. They may correct their own work and repeat activities until they are comfortable enough to move on. Making mistakes is a normalized step in learning.

Intrinsic Motivation

Children are able to work for the pleasure of doing so. Children routinely demonstrate newly achieved competencies to one another.

Global Awareness

Students are encouraged to develop qualities of citizenship and stewardship through an understanding and respect for cultural diversity and environmental awareness.

Social Responsibility & Leadership

Students demonstrate social responsibility and leadership skills, such as empathy, communication, initiative and resiliency.

Spontaneity & Joy

Teachers follow spontaneous interests and make room for independent projects. Students share their joy through presentations and community meetings.

Academic Preparation

Students learn to use a variety of tools, such as agenda plans and tracking binders, to independently select and complete work.  They are guided in tracking assignments and given increasing freedom to manage their studies as their responsibility levels increase.

Respect

There are opportunities to develop and practice the qualities of peace and conflict resolution in their interactions with others. Students are given a framework to resolve disputes and have a deep sense of ownership and belonging to the classroom which inspires respect for their peers and environment.

Approachability

Students approach the teacher with ease and confidence, reflecting a personal connection and a sense of security.

Record Keeping

The teacher shows an understanding of students’ progress and keeps clear records, as a continuous form of assessment. Students utilize their agenda plans and classroom records to track their own progress and work.

Role Modeling

The teacher reflects the essential qualities of respect, order, enjoyment and engagement. As students mature, they take on the role of role model for their peers.

Sense of Ownership

Students are involved in the decision making of the classroom through community meetings. They participate in the upkeep of the classroom and work together to build a comfortable environment. Students take ownership of their education and seek out learning opportunities.

School Tour
Observation
Registration

School Tour

Coming into the School for a visit and an optional observation is the first step in our admission process.  Please contact the front office at 905-689-2171 to schedule your personal tour. This serves as a great opportunity to visit our campus, observe in our classrooms, meet the teachers, and learn more about our programs and the enrollment process.

Observation

As part of your visit, you have the option to observe for 20-minutes in one of our classrooms. It is recommended that your child(ren) do not accompany you for your observation.

During your observation, you will experience first hand what a Montessori environment feels like and you will notice:

  • how calm the environment is…
  • deep levels of engagement and concentration…
  • children initiating work on their own…
  • the role of the teacher as a guide and how s/he interacts with the teacher…
  • a sense of community in the classroom…

Following your observation, an opportunity to discuss your own observations and questions will take place.

Registration

After your visit and observation, we welcome you to submit a completed application together with the non-refundable application fee. Kindly note that application submission does not guarantee enrollment as we receive more applications than spots available.

A Montessori education is most effective as a three-year cycle and in a classroom community with a balanced ratio of ages and gender. Our admission process, therefore, takes into consideration the long-term educational goals of the parents as well as the balance required in the classroom.

Final placement decisions will be made by the Head of School with input from parents, teachers, and records. Interviews and classroom visits by the student and parents may be required before a final enrollment decision is made. The Head of School’s decision will be based on the needs of the child individually and as part of the classroom community.

Contact Us!

We welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and show you our classrooms of actively engaged learners.