The Montessori Elementary Teacher:
An Enlightened Generalist … Just as in early childhood, a child in Montessori elementary has the same teacher for three years.
The trained professional is an “enlightened generalist”, with knowledge deep enough to know the fascinating details of each of the disciplines and broad enough to connect those details into a
“big picture” across the disciplines. S/he is also fully trained in the principles of child development.
A teacher who has a child for all subjects for three years gains an intimate knowledge of the child. The teacher is keenly tuned into the unique personality of each child. This sensitivity permits the teacher to direct each child into areas of natural interest.
The Prepared Environment
A spacious classroom serves our students. An open floor plan leads to a shared common room for research and collaborative work. Like all Montessori rooms, the elementary combines 3 grades into a single learning group, grades 1-3 and 4-6, encouraging broad social development.
The elementary-aged child is moving from an understanding of the physical world to an
understanding of abstract concepts. Montessori provides diverse and creative passages to
abstraction. The prepared environment provides the “keys” of each discipline in a manner that meets the elementary child’s needs for inspiration as well as order. Materials in the academic disciplines (including mathematics, grammar, reading, writing, geometry, botany, zoology, and geography) enable the child to not only learn skills and concepts, but to experience the inherent beauty and order of each of these disciplines.
Beyond the Prepared Environment: Going Out
The “going out” of Montessori elementary student is based on individual or small-group interest in extensions of classroom study: a walk to a park; a visit to the art museum or zoo; a visit to a retirement home; or cleaning up the environment. These projects build the child’s sense of social purpose and moral responsibility.
A Complete Day of Learning
Our teacher/student ratios are low: not more than 12: 1. Students start their day in Circle Time, where they verbalize Commitments as to what they are going to do that day. We then have a 3 hour uninterrupted Work Time, during which the children independently manage their time, utilizing their Contracts to complete lessons in Math, Language, Bible, Geography, History, Botany, Zoology, Science, and Cultural, and Reading Groups.
After lunch, a brief period for quiet reading and play, we then have 1 ½ hours for Cultural and Extracurricular activities (Foreign Language, Music, Art, Science, PE) and Checkout with the Teachers. Checkout allows us to discuss the student’s progress that day and help in developing the child’s time management skills while providing our Teachers with One on One time with each student daily.
After Cleanup Jobs and the End of the Day Circle, the student’s school day is complete.
For more information on the elementary learning program, please contact us.
*Portions of this description of the Montessori curriculum are reprinted with permission from NAMTA booklet: “What is Montessori Elementary?” edited by David Kahn.