Elementary

Kindergarten through 4th grade.

Ages 6 through 12 years
(mixed age classroom).

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 At Chestnut Montessori School our goal is to enhance the child's understanding of the natural world through a classical approach to Montessori elementary education, integrated with a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math curriculum. The 5 ½ through 9 year old child is extremely intelligent and is now ready for a rich and wide curriculum. Our hands-on materials encourage students to experiment, discover and explore abstract concepts. Memorization follows naturally.

Elementary Curriculum

 

Our cultural curriculum is based on The Five Great Lessons, when students experience an integrated immersion in Sciences, History, Geography, Language, Math, Music, and Fine Arts. They advance through curriculum on an individual basis and then they may work individually with the teacher, in pairs or small groupings, or in classroom gatherings.

 

Most students have already accomplished basic skills in Reading, Writing, Math, and Grace & Courtesy. We look forward to sharing the wonders of the world with them.

 

Our elementary curriculum allows inquisitive students to build on reading, writing, and math skills for in-depth and integrated studies of Math, Language Arts, Science, History, Geometry, and Performance Arts.  It is designed to strike the child's imagination in order to have him or her become fully engaged in learning. The curriculum presents the big picture to the child first, then details. Cultural Studies are the center of the curriculum, with an emphasis on Science, History and Mathematics.

 

Each student consults with his or her teacher to create an individualized lesson plan based on the child's abilities. The work plans provide a structure that allows students to work with their teachers to plan weekly learning activities, to reflect on their work, and to assess it.

 

The Great Lessons

The Great Lessons provide an overview of the formation of the Cosmos and everything it contains. Further lessons on the beginning of life, the history of humans, and the discoveries of language and mathematics help students to learn about scientific classification of plants and animals, language, and math to better understand their world. Dr. Montessori viewed cosmic lessons as the unfolding of the mysteries of life and the foundation for unlimited learning activities.

Language Arts

The Language Arts section of the classroom is rich with studies in reading, writing fiction and non-fiction, journaling, and spelling.

 

Students come together as a class for a writing workshop twice a week, where they learn to brainstorm writing ideas, outline their stories, write, edit, and revise their work.  They are invited to present their finished product to the classroom and add it to a class writing workshop binder for others to enjoy reading. 

 

Reading activities include SRA Reading Laboratory and SRA Science Laboratory.  Students enjoy lessons in word studies which include compound words, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, alphabetizing, and word origins; and lessons on grammar that include origins and usage of the parts of speech.

Mathematics

Elementary students continue their Math studies through the use of the Montessori materials, as they build towards abstraction. 

 

Word problems are incorporated into all studies in the Math area of the classroom.  First-year students might find a story problem that includes information about produce from a story where they need to subtract to find the answer.  Second-year students could be asked to find the perimeter of a drawing, while third-year students might read a story problem that includes finding the area of a geometric shape.

 

Children love to learn about fractions.  They come to the classroom with the Sensorial impression of fractions through the use of the Fraction Insets.  This material provides students with a concrete understanding of the families of fractions before they are introduced to mathematical operations with fractions.  Students enjoy completing word problems which ask that they use their knowledge of fractions to find the answer.

 

Students study the History of Math through the Fifth Great Lesson.  This lesson teaches students about ancient civilizations and communication regarding the origins of counting and numbers.  Students have the opportunity to research ancient civilizations, where numbers came from, how they communicated with each other regarding items, time, counting, and much more.  They can study the great mathematicians that discovered many of the concepts they are learning about in class.  The study of the History of Math helps to ground the students in the concepts they are studying and to understand where they are headed forward in the mathematical sequence.

 

Others Math lessons include studies of Money, Geometry, Measurement, Weight, Word problems, Fractions and Applied Math.

 

 

Research Projects

Elementary students have many questions about the world around them and enjoy researching topics of interest.  The first year student may choose to research a general overview of one of the planets in the solar system.  This allows the student to learn how to find sources of information, take notes, form an outline, and put information into their own words. 

 

The second-year student might focus their research on a specific characteristic of a planet, such as the rings of Saturn.  They will begin to learn how to find sources of information on their own and learn how to use technology to find sources of information, under the guidance of a teacher.  The student will build on the lessons they learned from their first year and also begin to choose topics to research independently. 

 

The third-year student may choose to research the moons of a planet, including making a model showing the distance and rate of orbit around the planet.  The third-year student independently chooses research projects, based on the curriculum in the classroom and their personal interest.  They are able to independently choose sources of information and complete their research project. 

 

Once the student completes their research project, they each present their information to the class.  The presentations reinforce the knowledge the student has gained through the research, builds confidence, teaches public speaking skills, and teaches students to give and receive positive feedback.

Sciences

Chestnut Montessori School has a strong Science program that encompasses the study of biological and physical sciences.  It fosters students’ interest and allows them to discover answers to their questions about the natural world.

 

Science is integrated with studies of The Great Lessons, Geography, Language Arts, Math, Computer Coding, and Fine Arts for a deeper understanding of concepts.  Students may participate in classroom and small group lessons for demonstration and discussion of experiments.  Follow-up experiments and activities are available for students to use.

 

The Science sequence allows students to explore such topics as:

  • The Formation of the Universe

  • Astrophysics

  • The Periodic Table

  • The Atmosphere and Hydrosphere

  • The Study of Light

  • The Classification of Plants and Animals

  • Use of a Microscope

  • Simple Life Forms

  • DNA

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology

  • Biomimicry

Geography

Geography studies are integrated with History, Science, and Math. It begins with the creation of the Universe and the developing planets; the Earth is studied in detail.  Students study Physical Geography, focusing on the earth’s physical environment, including processes that have formed and continue to form the features of the earth.  Activities can include: the student building a salt-dough relief map of a country or region they are studying, a research book on the study of weather patterns over a particular region, and creating human maps that give information about people and how they have changed the features of earth over time.

History

The flow of life through time, the needs of people and the interrelatedness of life are all topics for exploration.

Foreign Language

Each week Mrs. Hanson teaches French to students. The curriculum aligns with classroom studies and includes French culture, poetry, songs and dance.

Fine Arts Day

Friday is Fine Arts day. The classroom becomes an art studio each Friday as students gather to study artists from different schools of art and instruction in various mediums and techniques.

Music

While participating in Music class, students learn songs based on the curriculum, Music Appreciation, and Music Theory. Vocal lessons focus on activities such as: warming up the voice, proper breathing, dynamics, diction, and intonation.  Music studies are integrated into the Math curriculum through the study of sound, rhythm, instruments, and more.  Students enjoy learning to play the Montessori Bells and tone bars.

Drama

Students meet once a week for drama class.  They learn basic drama skills, including body language, vocal pitch, speed and tone of voice, improvisation, and role-playing. Students practice these basic skills through collaborative games.  They build confidence and stage presence through the preparation and performance of two dramatic productions during the school year.

Physical Education

Twice a week, students participate in physical education classes. One class provides basic conditioning, including running, jumping jacks, lunges, and pushups.  Students work on endurance, building towards running a mile on a regular basis during class.  The second day of class is dedicated to collaborative games, cooperation, and good sportsmanship.  Students learn ball handling skills, in preparation to play basketball, baseball, soccer, and many other sports.

Field Trips

Students go on outings which enrich their studies and the school experiences. They travel using the public transportation system, which includes the Park and Ride, conveniently located across the street from the school.  Students practice using Grace & Courtesy skills while traveling with other riders, and develop safety skills while traveling as a group, crossing the street, and walking to their destination. Older students assist the teachers with planning the schedule for the outing.  The Arboretum, a wetland, children's theater production, or a nearby park are all possibilities.