Puddletown’s lower elementary program is for children ages six through nine with plans to add upper elementary as our group grows. As in the primary classroom, a major component of Montessori elementary is the manipulation of concrete materials. However, as the child continues to progress from the physical act of addition, using beads or rods, she eventually leaves the need for concrete associations through gradually increasing levels of abstraction.
At the elementary level, children receive lessons in a mixed-age grouping in an environment created to encourage exploration and research. They work with materials that emphasize reason, relationships, analysis and abstraction. The interests that each child develops from the group experience are the basis of the individual exploration and research that is an integral part of the curriculum.
Students take ownership of their education process and cultivate personal responsibility for their learning as they keep a journal of their progress. They use this journal when they invite their parents and teacher to meetings about their progress throughout the year.
Puddletown’s elementary program meets at the following times:
- Early care 7:30 to 8:20 a.m. to a limited amount of children
- 8:20 a.m to 3:15 p.m.
- After care 3:15 to 5:30 p.m. (drop-in may be available, depending on the student to teacher ratio).
When children reach the elementary classroom they continue with the manipulation of concrete materials. From her foundation in concrete correlations the elementary child builds the ability to think and reason in the abstract. As she gains confidence in thinking in the abstract she explores further areas that are difficult to touch.
Learning takes place beyond the boundaries of the classroom as nature and cultural programs extend the students exposure to the surrounding community.
Classroom exploration includes:
- Reading and spelling
- Grammar, including parts of speech and parts and types of sentences; phonics; diphthongs and consonant combinations; sight words; synonyms; antonyms; homonyms; and root words
- Penmanship is manuscript and cursive
- Concepts of the four basic operations (+,-,x, /) and basic geometric figures, memorization, and application
- Squaring and square root, cubing and cube root
- Operations with money
- Area and volume, fractions and decimal fractions
- Set theory
- Political divisions, capitals, major cities, and commerce
- Flags of countries and states
- Theories of the formation of the earth, development of life, development of human beings and society, and contributions of various life forms
- Continental drift (plate tectonics)
- Specific historical events, including U.S. history and current events
- Experiments revealing natural laws
- Basic terminology, classification, and taxonomy of the plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms
- Field trips
The arts, language and health and physical education:
- Spanish curriculum incorporating concurrent activities in the classroom
- Art, music, and drama
- Health and physical education
Additional ways to explore:
A carefully designed excursion supervised by the guide and parents. Students initiate, plan, organize, and carry out these trips to extend knowledge, information, or experience in relation to classroom studies. Giving the students the reins establishes and invigorates the children’s responsibility for their own safety and helps ensure their ability to think clearly and make sound choices in taking care of themselves.
Literature and basic research tools, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries, are in constant use. Children borrow books from the school library and visit our local library for their own reading. They are also read to as a group daily.
Attendance at the Elementary Level
Be sure your child only misses school when absolutely necessary. At the elementary level, group learning and experience are vital parts of an environment created to encourage exploration and research. The children work collaboratively, forming work and study groups that change for various projects. The guide gives presentations to the children in groups. If a child is absent, she might miss a presentation or group discovery and is left to explore alone, without the support of her classmates. This can lead to feeling left out or disconnected.