Upper Elementary (9-12 years)
Building on the lower elementary curriculum and philosophy, the upper elementary program extends academic and social concepts to higher levels of abstraction and complexity. Topics such as early humans and great civilizations are a continuation of Time Line studies. Beginning chemistry is explored in relation to the origin of the universe.
The Montessori Elementary curriculum contains the following areas:
Language (reading, grammar, writing)
Grammar, reading, and writing are integral parts to all subjects in MGRI elementary curriculum, as students express their interests and satisfy their curiosity. Lower elementary students master principles and rules with thorough studies of grammar, spelling, and mechanics. Upper elementary students will learn the History of Language and history of English, mastering the six skills of language arts: reading with purpose, writing creatively, listening, speaking, viewing, and representing. Students practice reading in small groups and individually, rather than by grade level or as a class. They are able to explore a variety of genres while gaining the skills needed to be life-long readers. They analyze, think critically, and compare and contrast literature to support personal opinion and perspective. Using these reading and writing skills, they present ideas through formal and informal presentations.
The ideas of number concepts, place value, numerals, and related quantities are reinforced and expanded upon. This area provides opportunities for mathematical thinking enhancement through base systems, operations, measurement, problem-solving, introduction to algebra, and algebraic thinking. Familiar math materials provide students with the means to expand from a concrete to more abstract knowledge and understanding of mathematics.
Geometric forms, plane figures and solids, lines and angles, shapes and triangles, perimeter area, polygons, and trinomial cubes are part of the topics presented. Elementary students develop spatial thinking abilities and get basic skills and knowledge in geometry by manipulating, drawing, and measuring. The use of the rich Montessori materials supports the blending of geometry learning, the development of spatial representations, and imagination. This area provides the opportunity to enhance and advance geometric skill, including Pythagorean theory to trigonometry.
Physical Sciences (Earth Sciences/Geology, Chemistry, Physics)
The physical sciences provide elementary students opportunities of learning through sense and focus on the process and topics of science, including the importance of empiricism: the physical environment, the solar system, the study of life, the laws and structure of the universe, the basics of Quantum physics and chemistry, and the work of scientists. Students learn to think critically, ask questions, follow a systematic process of observation and investigation, plan and conduct controlled experiments, collect and analyze data, and write lab reports.
Social Studies I (Astronomy, Physical, Human, and Environmental Geography)
Geography is extensively covered in concrete and abstract levels. As in other areas of the Montessori curriculum, the lower elementary students first experience the big picture and then move gradually to the details (e.g. continents, countries, landscapes, nations, cultures, and the solar system). The program covers cultural holidays, special events and occasions, birthdays of famous people, including composers, artists, painters, sculptors, and their lives, achievements and works. Lessons, activities, and projects promote an in- depth understanding of astronomy topics, the physical world, Earth movements, population diversity, national and international economy, world regions and characteristics, and global warming. Upper Elementary students will plan and finalize a research project.
Social Studies II (History)
The history curriculum promotes the exploration of a variety of concepts including how the world began, the story of life on Earth, the timeline of humans and the development of civilizations, the distinctions and universalities of religious beliefs, the measurement of time, and the basics of archeology. Topics explore the fundamental needs of humans through time, evolutionary changes, Middle and Modern Ages, governmental structures, and international relationships. United States history is studied from Native Americans to the current President.
Biological Sciences (Zoology, Botany, Biology)
The Montessori lessons and materials are meant to encourage a sense of wonder at the infinity of the cosmos, the beauty of the laws of nature, and the miracle of life, preparing them for a lifetime of discovery. Through these lessons (e.g. animal and plant kingdoms; kingdoms of life, classification, balance in nature, human body systems, basic ecology) students explore the interconnectedness of all living things. Studies focus on classification of kingdoms, functions of plants, life cycles of plants and animals, ecology, and environmental concerns are introduced.
Foreign Language (Spanish)
As a bilingual school, the Spanish language is one of the regular classes included in the curriculum. Students experience daily the sounds of a different language, writing, reading, and cultural studies.
Music, Movement, & Visual Arts
Elementary Montessori students are encouraged to express their feelings, experiences, and creativity through art, music, and movement. Music includes lessons in piano, percussion, wind, and voice; movement includes dance, yoga, and meditation; art experiences include drawing, painting, sculpture, graphics, computer design, and art history. Students learn about techniques, design, and the works and histories of artists and composers.