Lower Elementary

Lower Elementary

In our Lower Elementary Montessori program, our young students acquire the foundational skills they need for success in school, and in life. In a multi-age setting, your 6 to 9 year old will master reading, writing and arithmetic. Equally important, she will retain her natural excitement for learning: her enthusiasm for knowledge will crescendo rather than wane as she grows. And as with academics, so with organizational and time-management skills: your child will acquire a sense of personal order, and thoroughly enjoy the process of developing these competencies. In our classrooms, students learn to organize their own plans for learning, including managing their workspace, and then follow through and execute on those plans.

Highlights of the Montessori Lower Elementary program at Council Oak include:

  • The ability to individualize across the curriculum. Children entering elementary school differ widely in their abilities. A Montessori environment allows us to tailor what we teach every hour of every day, so that we can both build upon each child’s strengths, and move him forward in areas where he may need extra support. Students are often grouped with peers who are at similar points in the program, allowing for camaraderie in learning while maintaining an individual pace.
  • The ability to encourage curiosity by offering choices. We have a clear perspective on what we expect our children to learn during the essential years of elementary school. Within that framework, however, our approach offers each child many choices: he chooses when to do his work, where to do it, and in many cases, by what specific materials he acquires the knowledge he needs.
  • The developmentally appropriate nature of the Montessori materials, especially in mathematics and language. Montessori elementary materials are ideal at facilitating the transition from concrete understanding to abstract thinking, a transition common to all children in this developmental stage.
  • The integration of study, time management and social skills into the day-to-day classroom experience. Our Lower Elementary program continues building concentration and extending attention span capacities developed in the primary class. We foster study skills such as note taking and summarizing. We gradually teach children how to manage their time independently. And we help children to develop social skills throughout, as our students interact with each other and their teachers, within the freedom of the classroom.
  • We offer our students a curriculum that appeals to their broadening curiosity. The Montessori Elementary curriculum (also known as “Cosmic Education”) introduces youngsters to the most important elements of human understanding. Using Montessori’s “Great Stories” as a backdrop, our students receive a stimulating classroom experience that piques their curiosity far beyond academic basics.

How We Teach

Self-Education in a Prepared Environment

  • Small group demonstrations are the norm, instead of the one-on-one demonstrations common in preschool. Because our elementary students are more socially-oriented, we often do our demonstrations in small groups of 3-6 students. Such group demonstrations leverage our students’ natural interest in interacting with their peers: they observe other kids working with a fascinating advanced material, and find themselves drawn into the challenge of mastering it themselves.
  • Children interact more in class. While primary children mostly work alone, elementary children may work together purposefully in pairs or small groups. Our children also develop into a community: they provide direction for classroom rules, for example, and take on responsibilities for maintaining their classroom, such as caring for the plants, or straightening up at the end of the day.
  • Teacher provides more direction on children’s work. While the elementary classroom is predominately child-led, our teacher takes on a bigger role in guiding the children. In addition to inspiring a genuine interest in a range of subject areas, teachers communicate weekly work expectations to students, and help them set up a system that enables them to keep track of their assignments (group presentations, writing assignments, math problems, and so on).
  • Work becomes progressively more abstract. While primary children work almost exclusively with physical materials, such as rods and puzzle maps, wooden letters and metal insets, in our elementary classrooms, the materials students work with become more abstract. With this progression, we systematically transition our students into the world of abstract ideas, mediated by books and paper that will become their primary focus when entering 4th grade.
  • Larger role of teacher in monitoring work. Some elementary materials, such as the Grammar Boxes, have built-in control of error similar to that found in primary materials. In other cases, such as with many math and geography materials, children have access to control charts against which they can self-correct their work. Even so, in the Lower Elementary classroom, the teacher takes on a much larger role in reviewing student work, especially in the case of writing assignments. Upon completing work, students submit such work to the teacher (or assistant teacher) for review. They then receive immediate feedback, ensuring that they learn from their mistakes and are able to build on these lessons. Such immediate feedback also ensures that a teacher remains constantly aware of what each of her students has accomplished, and where each needs help, enabling her to tailor the next week’s work to each student’s context.

What We Deliver

Advanced Academic Skills, a Broad Base of Observational Knowledge—and a Love of Learning

Our Lower Elementary (Grades 1-3) program’s most important accomplishment is preparing our students to learn well, and to enjoy the process of learning. Our students:

  • Love to learn. They are eager to discover the world around them, to learn about its physical nature and the people in it.
  • Are competent learners. They have achieved automaticity in the fundamental skills of reading, writing and arithmetic, and have acquired the academic tools—such as using a dictionary and taking notes—and the personal tools—such as organization and time management—they need for success in school or any life endeavor.
  • Are confident in their abilities, as students and as young individuals. They have earned the fundamental conviction that they are capable human beings, that they can do well academically, that they are skilled socially, and they are determined to go forth in their quest to grow up.

Learn more about Council Oak Montessori School

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For questions about enrolling at Council Oak Montessori School please request a tour or call us at (708) 926-9720

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Council Oak Montessori School