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elementary

elementary

 

The Montessori Lower Elementary Curriculum (6 - 9 years old)

The Upper Elementary Curriculum (9 - 12 years old)

Most students in Blaisdale Montessori School's Elementary program are graduates from the lower levels of the Montessori program.  The school accepts limited registrations from children that have not had the benefit of the pre-school Montessori program.  Acceptance is based on availability and an interview with the school's Administrator or Teacher.  There are no Open Houses for Elementary children as they are seen by appointment only.

The Montessori Curriculum for children between the ages of 6 and 12 years is based on the following 5 areas of learning:

(The Curriculum is vast.  The following serves as a brief overview of the program.)

 

1. Language/French

2. Math

3. Science Social and Cultural Studies

4. The Arts

5. Health and Physical Education

Children are placed in family age groups of 3 years, e.g. 6, 7 & 8 year-olds work together, 9, 10 & 11 year olds work together and the full curriculum is designed to be completed over a 3 year period.  In keeping with the Montessori philosophy of education, subjects are offered in an integrated way and the children come to understand the interrelation of knowledge.

Children work at their own pace.  Emphasis is placed on developing strong work habits and responsibility for completing assignments to the best of one's ability.

In order to accommodate a multi-age range and to facilitate children of diverse learning styles, the Montessori curriculum is highly enriched and designed to cover a comprehensive range of interests and abilities.  The learning environment is carefully structured for challenge and success at all levels.  The Teacher uses a child's curiosity, imagination and developing social skills as natural motivators for learning.

Younger children are stimulated by the work that their older classmates do, while older children have an opportunity to develop strong leadership skills within the group.  The multi-age classroom provides a sense of stability to the children, who ideally will work with the same teacher for 3 years.

Learning at the Lower Elementary level is still based on the use of concrete materials.  Children learn through experience and discovery.  The computer is used occasionally for memorization of number facts and if appropriate, as a tool for research.  Gradually, as they work their way through the curriculum, they develop abstract concepts and begin to work more with pencil and paper.

Language Curriculum  (Lower Elementary)

The Lower Elementary language curriculum offers children a carefully structured program of oral, reading and writing skills:
Spelling, Grammar, Vocabulary Enrichment, Comprehension, Sentence Analysis and Dictionary Usage.  These are all introduced in the early part of the curriculum and build on the literacy skills that the children have already acquired in the Early Childhood program.

Emphasis is placed on the development of excellent writing skills.  The children write everyday and on many topics.  The conventions of written language:  Punctuation, Capitalization, Spelling and Sentence Structure are taught as specific lessons and then applied to the child's own work.

Strong research skills develop as the child learns where and how to locate information, then how to classify and organize it appropriately.  The computer is used for some research. Research skills are applied to the study of subjects all across the curriculum.  The child discovers that knowledge in one area is related to other areas, e.g. a study of early life on earth will move from prehistory to botany, to climate, to math; throughout there will be an increase in the child's oral and written language skills.

Creative writing in all its forms (stories, poetry, journals, drama) is nourished and valued in the Montessori classroom.  The Lower Elementary child takes exceptional pleasure in playing with words.  Unusual words, long words and precise words are a fascination for 6 to 9 year olds.  Their capacity for enrichment is limitless at this age and is evident in the amount of writing they choose to do during the course of a day.

The children are encouraged to present their projects and read their stories with confidence, clarity and expression, therefore strengthening their oral language skills.

Good literature is always available in the classroom Library.  The children enjoy well-written story and information books on all subject areas of the curriculum.  The classrooms also use Reading Labs and/or Reading Comprehension books in addition to the Montessori curriculum.

Language Curriculum (Upper Elementary)

Oral language skills:

Students are expected to read aloud with animation and make clear, articulate, oral presentations to their classmates, parents and community groups.

Debating skills and public speaking are an integral part of the curriculum.

Students learn to articulate, project and modulate their voices effectively.

The appropriate use of visual aids is demonstrated and practiced.

Vocabulary enrichment and complex sentence structure are encouraged.  Exercises in summarizing, relating and critiquing information are practiced routinely.

Written language skills:

Students undertake analyses of all the genres; poetry, drama, journals, reports, stories, letters and memos.

They study the conventions of poetry; rhyme, verse, simile, metaphor, sonnet and ballad.  They examine aspects of bias, objectivity, fact, fiction, opinion, negative and positive points of view.

Students learn to record using headings, point-form, key messages, and summaries.

Creative writing is enriched through the use of sophisticated and precise vocabulary, complex sentence structure and careful development of plot and character.

Editing and proofreading skills are undertaken with a partner or individually to eliminate spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.

Projects such as publishing a class newspaper, making an anthology of class poetry, creating a storybook for younger children, writing to a local newspaper about something in particular, all help to develop specific skills and talents.

Literature in all its forms;  Fiction, Biography, Autobiography, Historical, Science Fiction, Myths and Legends are available to the Upper Elementary student.  Book reviews are used to contrast and compare different writers, evaluate similar themes, styles and traditions, identify the role of principal and supporting characters, critique main and sub plots. The classrooms also uses Reading Labs and/or Reading Comprehension books in addition to the Montessori curriculum.

Language is seen as the thread that runs through every aspect of the integrated Montessori curriculum.  The students are constantly engaged in projects that require copious written work.  Their ability to research and classify information demands a sophisticated level of language competence.

French (Lower and Upper Elementary)

French classes are taught once a day by a French Teacher.  The children may be grouped in accordance to their age level in a more traditional format.  Classes of 20 - 25 children receive 30 - 45 minutes of instruction per day.  The aim of the program is to develop basic communication skills in the French language and build on the literacy skills that the children have already acquired in the Early programs.  Text books and work books are used for this class.  These are all introduced in the early part of the curriculum.

Math Curriculum (Lower Elementary)

The Montessori Lower Elementary Math curriculum is firmly based on learning through experience.  Children use a wide variety of carefully constructed materials to lead them to an understanding of mathematical operations and concepts.  A systematic series of activities and exercises help the child to discover what it really means to add numbers together, divide a whole into many equal parts, also recognize similarities and equivalencies in two and three dimensional shapes.

Gradually the child moves from concrete to symbolic math, then eventually enjoys and understands abstract Math at an advanced level.

Children in a Lower Elementary classroom are explorers.  They thrive on every opportunity to discover the laws of their environment.  Mathematical laws fascinate them.  They are excited by huge amounts up to 1,000,000 and explore their values, sequence and rules.  Because the materials promote discovery, children frequently identify Math as a favourite subject in school.  The computer can be used as a tool to help with memorizing number facts.  Traditional text books are occasionally used as well as the Montessori materials.

Over the three-year period children will:

  • Work with the four operations; addition, multiplication, subtraction and division using whole numbers, decimals and fractions.
  • Explore the rules for factors and multiples.
  • Build square numbers on bases 1 to 10.
  • Memorize number facts by skip counting by 2,3,4, up to 10.
  • Read data in pictograph, bar graph and circle graph forms.
  • Use one-to-many correspondence, e.g. one tree represents 1,000 trees.
  • Estimate length, capacity and mass using non-standard and standard units of measurement.
  • Measure time and temperature using standard units of measurement.
  • Investigate and identify all geometric solids.
  • Identify, measure and construct (using appropriate geometric instruments) angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons and circles.
  • Demonstrate equivalency, congruency, symmetry and similarity.
  • Read, write and spell all mathematical vocabulary used in the Lower Elementary curriculum.
  • Read and write mathematical symbols for concepts, e.g. <, >,=, +, etc.
  • Apply Math skills to daily activities, e.g. baking, weather charts, woodwork, map-making, budgeting.

    Students will predominantly use the Montessori Materials in this area however some text books are used for follow up work.

 

Math Curriculum (Upper Elementary)

The Montessori Upper Elementary Math curriculum leads students to an abstract understanding of mathematical operations and concepts.  A systematic series of activities and exercises help the child to internalize all the information she received at the early childhood and Lower Elementary levels through the use of concrete materials.

Children in an Upper Elementary classroom are explorers.  They thrive on every opportunity to discover the laws of their environment.  Mathematical laws fascinate them.  They are compelled to test them and draw their own conclusions from the data they collect and analyze.  Upper Elementary students explore mathematical concepts in arithmetic, geometry, algebra and trigonometry.

Over the three-year period children will:

  • Internalize the four operations as they relate to whole, fractional and decimal numbers.
  • Explore the concepts of positive and negative numbers.
  • Learn the rules for squaring and cubing numbers.
  • Find the square root and cube root of numbers.
  • Learn the formulae for finding ratio and proportion.
  • Work with non-decimal bases.
  • Study the fundamentals of algebra.
  • Problem solve for distance, rate and time.
  • Problem solve for principal, rate and time.
  • Measure area, volume, mass and capacity.
  • Study the qualities of 2 & 3 dimensional figures.
  • Identify the parts and characteristics of lines, angles, triangles, squares and polygons.
  • Measure, bisect, reduce and enlarge regular as well as odd shapes.
  • Explore movement using flips, slides and rotations.
  • Apply math skills to everyday situations;  budgeting, banking, home decorating and cooking.

The Math curriculum is designed to meet all academic learning styles and abilities.  At the Upper Elementary level there is scope for a wide achievement range. Students use text books in addition to the materials in this class.  Some students may be ready for an introduction to curriculum activities while others will be ready for sophisticated, in-depth study. Students progress at their own pace and emphasis is always placed on achieving one's personal best.

The child who requires extra time in order to fully understand a concept will have that time;  those children who grasp the concept quickly and are ready for more challenging work, will have that work.  No child is expected to progress at someone else's speed and emphasis is always placed on achieving one's personal best.

Montessori Science, Social and Cultural Curriculum (Lower Elementary)

The Science, Social and Cultural curriculum is seen as the backbone of an Elementary Montessori classroom.  Basic skills in literacy and numeration are taught in order to make the works of culture available to the child.  The integrated (cosmic) curriculum explores History, Geography, Science, Anthropology, Commerce, Literature, the Arts and Music.  Children learn through the exploration of key timelines and classification charts, impressionistic lessons and experiments.  They are encouraged to research subjects of particular interest to themselves.  There is no limit to the range of projects that can be undertaken and the children work at their own personal best level of ability.

History (Lower Elementary)

History in a Lower Montessori classroom is introduced through the use of large time-lines that give children a visual impression of pre-historic life, the world of early people on earth and the emergence of some of the first civilizations;  Sumerians, Babylonians.

  • The children explore many different myths of Creation that contribute to our present understanding of the origins of Earth.
  • Key lessons are used to present the history of emerging language and numeration in civilizations.
  • Fundamental needs of people through the ages and how these were satisfied, are examined in detail.
  • Causes and means of migration are explored and identified as being hostile or friendly.  The history of shelter, travel, clothing, defence and the arts are traced through time.
  • The life styles of the first people in Canada are explored and compared.
  • Early European settlers are identified and their trade routes charted.

History (Upper Elementary)

History in an Upper Elementary Montessori classroom does not follow any particular curriculum. The students use an interdisciplinary knowledge base in order to research topics of particular interest.

  • Early civilizations, their political structure, justice system, laws of ownership, culture, religion, tradition, commerce and rural and urban lifestyles will be a source of exploration for some students.
  • ·         Others will choose to look at the first people around the world and how they met their fundamental needs for shelter, food, clothing and defence.
  • A group may examine world religions, political structures and migration of people.
  • Famous people and their contribution to humanity, significant social and political events, customs, celebrations and traditions are all topics of historical interest to Upper Elementary students and will be researched in an interdisciplinary fashion by drawing on relevant information and skills from other subject areas.

Geography (Lower Elementary)

Geography materials illustrate the birth of planet Earth, its place in the universe and how it contributed to the history of humankind.

  • The curriculum begins with the creation of the Universe, the Solar System and the evolution of Earth.
  • The children study land and water forms, composition of the Earth and the scientific laws that govern it, the Solar System and the Continents.
  • They learn about Earth's rivers, lakes, mountains, deserts and wealth of natural resources.
  • They investigate land, air and water phenomena;  volcanoes, earthquakes, tornadoes and tidal waves.
  • They record weather conditions and study their impact on people and their environment.
  • They identify and classify rocks.
  • They read maps and make their own, using scale and legend.
  • They use graphs and charts to record information.
  • They learn the names and locations of the countries and capitals of all continents.
  • They learn the names, locations, capitals and flags of the provinces and territories of Canada.


Geography (Upper Elementary)

Geography in the Upper Elementary level encourages the student to explore the creation of the Universe, the Solar System, the Earth and the scientific laws that govern them.

  • They investigate Earth's rivers, lakes, mountains, deserts and wealth of natural resources, and their significance in the lives of people. They investigate land, air and water phenomena: volcanoes, earthquakes, avalanches, typhoons, tornadoes, and tidal waves.  They are interested in how, why and where these phenomena occur and want to know the methods used to forecast and measure them and what services are available to support people whose lives are affected by them.
  • They record weather conditions, wind currents, monsoons and precipitation, and study their impact on people and their environment.
  • ·         Pollution, endangered species, global warming, deforestation, over- harvesting and erosion, are all possible subjects for study at the Upper Elementary level.
  • ·         The students learn to read and make maps using conventional forms for scale and location.
  • ·         They understand time zones and the International Date Line.
  • ·         Project work crosses several subject areas, and students strive to achieve their own personal best while cooperating with others.


Science (Lower Elementary)

Science experiments help the child to understand the laws of the Universe.

Some experiments include;   Rotation of the earth, Night and day, the Seasons, Friction, Gravity, the Water cycle, Mineral and energy sources, Plant and animal needs, Life cycles and the Interdependence of species.  The Outdoor environment is used to Plant flowers and vegetables, Examine trees, wild flowers and animal tracks, Identify and classify types of soil and rocks, Experiment with various growing conditions and Measuring rainfall.

Science (Upper Elementary)

Science in the Upper Elementary curriculum encompasses Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Biology and Zoology.  Students learn how to collect and analyze data, observe systematically and carry out experiments using appropriate scientific methods.  They study:

  • Magnetism, Gravity, Energy, Light, Sound
  • States of matter, Periodic Table, Identification of plants, Fundamental needs
  • Health and safety, Nutrition
  • Classification of animals, Habitat
  • Solutions and suspensions, Molecules and atoms
  • Parts and functions, Cultivation
  • Systems of the body, Body functions
  • Life cycles, Fundamental needs, Compounds, Chemical formulae
  • Classification of plants
  • Fundamental needs, Developmental stages
  • Systems; They recognise the trees, flowers, birds and wildlife that inhabit the local area.
  • They gain experience of the affects of weather conditions on growth.
  • Birds, reptiles, insects and mammals are discussed and can be observed in their natural habitat.
  • Trees and shrubs are watched as they respond to seasonal changes.
  • They collect flowers and leaves and examine their parts and symmetry.
  • They may bring caterpillars and tadpoles into the classroom and observe their development into butterflies and frogs.

Upper Elementary Children participate in a yearly Science Fair to exhibit some of their work. As with all other areas of the curriculum, there is no limit to subject matter.

Social Curriculum (Lower Elementary)

The Lower Elementary Montessori Social curriculum at this level recognizes the child's awakening interest in an ethical value system, social rules and the community.

Children are given strategies for consulting and collaborating with others.  They learn conflict resolution skills, respect for individual differences, shared responsibility, an awareness of the unique contribution that every person makes to the community and its environment.

The Lower Elementary Montessori curriculum lays the foundation for further growth and understanding, as the child moves from a carefully structured environment to one that the child will construct, using the base of concrete understanding that she has developed between the ages of 6 & 9 years.

Social Curriculum (Upper Elementary)

Social skills are very important in the Upper Elementary level.  Students at this age are working hard to understand and be a part of the greater community outside their family and school.

  • They learn appropriate strategies for working harmoniously with others.
  • Collaborating, cooperating, negotiating successfully are all learned social skills that challenge the pre-adolescent student.
  • Social groups, their rules and hierarchies are important and influential at this age.
  • Exercises in conflict resolution are practiced.
  • Courtesy and consideration for others are behaviours that are positively and consistently supported.
  • This is a time when students raise powerful moral and ethical issues for debate. Their sense of social justice develops and they are concerned about poverty, homelessness, frailty, threats to people and the environment.
  • Upper Elementary students are avid participants in community service, fund-raising events and social awareness groups.
  • They learn that they can make a difference to such challenges as world peace, conservation of resources and wildlife preservation.
  • They willingly participate in social action, e.g. fostering a third world-child, supporting food drives and raising funds to protect an endangered species.
  • Field trips and visits to places of interest are an integral part of the Upper Elementary program.
  • Students experience empowerment and respect when they identify the places they wish to visit, make the bookings, plan a budget, arrange transportation and complete a follow-up report.
  • They share their concerns with politicians, journalists, and social activists, and are quick to write letters, make phone calls, send e-mails, and organize petitions, to support their cause or relate their concerns and objections.

Through all of this work, Upper Elementary students develop strong interpersonal skills.  They come to understand who they are and why and how they are valuable beings. They construct themselves as individuals and contributing members of human race.

The Arts

Music (Lower Elementary)

The children have music classes once a week with a music teacher.  They sing songs from a variety of cultures and historical periods and listen to, perform and create music.  They compose their own words for familiar tunes using their knowledge of rhythm to ensure the new text fits with the melody.  In the Lower Elementary, the children create music with simple rhythm sticks, bells, the triangle, tambourine, drums, etc.  The children are taught to identify the beat, rhythm, melodic contour, dynamics and tempo in familiar pieces of music.  Time signature, whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes are introduced.  The school has a Music-of-the-Month program where a different classical composer is studied each month and an extra-curricular choir.  The children are exposed to and learn to appreciate and identify classical selections.  They also learn to identify and recognize the sounds of the orchestra instruments.

Music (Upper Elementary)

In the Upper Elementary, the children create music with recorders.  They are taught to read familiar music that contain whole notes, half notes, quarter-notes and eighth-notes and their corresponding rests in 4/4 time.  Children are taught to identify simple structural patterns in music that they sing, play or hear.  The school has a Music-of-the-Month program where a different classical composer is studied each month and an extra-curricular choir.  Children are expected to be able communicate their thoughts and feelings about the music they hear.

Visual Arts (Lower Elementary)

The Visual Arts program is integrated into the curriculum and the children also produce works for special events.  The children produce 2 & 3 dimensional works of art that communicate their thoughts and feelings about specific topics or themes (e.g. produce a diorama showing a type of habitat through colour, shape and line).  The children identify and explain the specific choices they made in planning, producing and displaying their own artwork.

Visual Arts (Upper Elementary)

The Visual Arts program in the Upper Elementary is taught by an Art specialist.  The program is also integrated into the curriculum by their Teacher and the children also produce works for special events.  The children produce 2 & 3 dimensional works of art that communicate their thoughts and feelings about specific topics or themes (e.g. produce a diorama showing a type of habitat through colour, shape and line).  Children describe, in their plan for a work of art, how they research their subject matter, select their media and use the elements and principles of design in solving the artistic problems in the work.  They identify strengths and areas for improvement in their own work and that of others.  They discuss specific art works and identify and explain the specific choices they made in planning, producing and displaying their own art work.  Art history is taught in conjunction with creative projects.

Drama (Lower/Upper Elementary)

Drama is integrated into the curriculum.  For example, the children can perform skits and re-enact moments in history through dramatic expression.  They solve problems in different kinds of dramatic situations through role playing and movement.  The children create their own short dramatic pieces and perform them and/or put on a large production to perform to their parents either before the holidays or at the end of the year.  The children create dramatic works to communicate the meaning of poems, stories, paintings, myths and other source material drawn from a wide range of cultures.

Dance (Lower/Upper Elementary)

Dance is integrated through the Phys-Ed program.  The children are encouraged to communicate, through movement, their thoughts and feelings about selected topics.  Children are introduced to dance as a part of the Phys-Ed curriculum.  At the end, the children are expected to recognize and choose appropriate elements of movement for dramatizing their responses to different stimuli or ideas.  The older children have supervised dances through out the year.

Health and Physical Education (Lower Elementary)

Healthy eating is stressed at Blaisdale Montessori School.  The children are encouraged to bring fresh fruits and vegetables for refreshments.  We discuss the benefits of healthy food choices, allergies, physical activity, healthy bodies and dental health.  We also discuss safety procedures and practices at home, school and in the community (e.g., fire drills, railway-crossing and crosswalk procedures).  Personal safety topics such as bullying, bicycle safety, sun protection, how to call 911, evacuations and fire safety are also discussed.  We arrange occasional visits from the Fire Department and Police Department who reinforce this.

The children have Physical Education classes twice a week.  A Physical Education Specialist teaches once a week and the classroom Teacher teaches the class the other day of the week.  The children are taught basic movement skills required to participate in the physical activities in the program.  The school has 6 Physical Education modules it follows throughout the year:  September - Borden Ball;  October - Flag Football;  November/December - Swimming;  January and February - Skiing/Skating;  April - Jump for Heart/Folk Dance;  May - Soccer;  June - Track and Field.  We have a school tournament following the Borden Ball module, the Soccer module, and the Track and Field module.  All the Elementary children participate in the Terry Fox Run.  The children may also sign up for extra curricular chess, karate and golf lessons.

Skills for participating in these activities are taught at the child's own level.  Fitness, participation, good sportsmanship and teamwork are encouraged.

Health and Physical Education (Upper Elementary)

Healthy eating is stressed at Blaisdale Montessori School.  The children are encouraged to bring fresh fruits and vegetables for refreshments.  We discuss the benefits of healthy food choices, allergies, physical activity, healthy bodies and dental health.  We discuss safety procedures and practices at home, school and in the community (e.g., fire drills, railway-crossing and crosswalk procedures).  Safety topics such as bullying, bicycle safety, sun protection, how to call 911, evacuations and fire safety are also discussed.  We arrange occasional visits from the Fire Department and Police Department who reinforce this.  A Health Nurse comes in once or twice a year to discuss with the Upper Elementary the major parts of the reproductive system and their functions, and relate them to puberty, menstruation, fertilization and birth control.  The nurse also discusses the influences of drugs and the legalities of them.  This is a lesson that younger children attend only with parental permission.  We expect that the children will be able to use living skills to address most personal safety and injury prevention issues.

The children have Physical Education classes twice a week.  A Physical Education Specialist teaches once a week and the classroom Teacher teaches the class the other day of the week.  The children are taught movements and skills required to participate in the physical activities.  The school has 6 Physical Education modules it follows throughout the year: September - Borden Ball;  October - Flag Football;  November/December - Swimming;  January/February - Skiing/Skating;  March/April - Jump for Heart/Folk Dance;  May - Soccer; June -Track and Field.  We have a school tournament following the Borden Ball module, the Soccer module, and the Track and Field module.  All the Elementary children participate in the Terry Fox Run.  The children may also sign up for extra curricular chess, karate and golf lessons.

Skills for participating in these activities are taught at the child's own level.  Fitness, participation, good sportsmanship and teamwork are encouraged.

Extra Curricular

  • Skiing
  • Chess Club
  • Swimming
  • Computers
  • Choir
  • 3 Athletic Tournaments a year
  • Intramural Sports - This can be dependent on parent
    volunteers and may vary from campus to campus.
  • School Dances/Socials (older children)
  • Ballet
  • Karate
  • Skating
  • Overnight Trips (voluntary older children only)
  • Science Fair

Parent Nights

  • Mothers Day Tea/Social
  • Report Cards
  • Parent Information Evenings
  • Parent Volunteer Groups