About Our Elementary Program
Located on our Creek Campus on Brodie Lane, our Elementary Montessori program serves children from Kindergarten through 5th grade. There are three K/1st grade classes, two 2nd/3rd grade classes, and two 4th/5th grade classes. Each class has two guides as well as specialists who come to teach regular classes in music, gardening, art, P.E. and Spanish. We have recess on our playground everyday to give the children an opportunity to interact and cultivate relationships across the age levels. This also allows time for them to recharge in their own unique ways, whether engaging in soothing activities or playing hard.
During the course of a day, children participate in individual, small, and whole-group lessons, as well as work both in partnerships and independently. Children are allowed to advance at their own pace. A child may quickly master one concept and need to spend a longer amount of time on another. This way, children experience learning as moving from one level of mastery to another, thus developing a positive and healthy view of themselves as learners. They also come to appreciate that all people have a unique set of strengths and challenges. We track the children’s progression through the curriculum with a combination of student record-keeping and portfolio maintenance as well as teacher observation, evaluation, and record-keeping. This ensures that all academic goals are met.
Peace education is paramount to us. We believe that the best way that children learn about the power of peaceful, healthy communication and conflict resolution is through practice. We dedicate precious time to the ongoing teaching of communication skills, from discussions with the whole class to one-on-one coaching. With each passing year, children acquire more and more sophisticated tools for problem solving, tools that they then have active support to practice as real problems arise. Each class reflects on interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics on an on-going basis. In regular classroom community meetings, children experience the satisfaction of exchanging authentic accolades as well as raising their genuine issues and concerns. They then brainstorm positive responses to engender the changes they seek. We share periods of intentional silence as a class and learn about simple, effective tools for centering. Academically, we examine and celebrate peace leaders and movements throughout history. As the children learn about the challenges we face as a world community, they are inspired to design and implement service projects.
Our learning extends beyond the classroom walls. Children in the elementary program make full use of our outdoor spaces, including our vegetable, herb, and flower garden. They enjoy various educational and service oriented field trips throughout the year. We have gone to many places, such as museums, farms, the theater, the greenbelt, the ballet, a recording studio, and nursing homes.
We honor parents as invaluable partners. The classroom guides communicate regularly with parents in a variety of modes, from weekly class updates to regular conferences and progress reports. We rely on parents’ all-important insights to help us serve the children, and are always receptive to emails, notes, informal conversations, and special meetings. We have parent meetings, work days, and workshops throughout the year. We encourage parents to share in our many special events such as our annual talent show, Heroes of the Past presentations, field day and Singing Songs gatherings. Each week we have two informal Community Days in the afternoon on our playground. Most parents find that investing their time in building relationships with the other parents and staff truly enriches their lives and becomes an important part of their experience in our community.