Puddletown’s elementary program is for children ages six through twelve. At the elementary level, children receive lessons in a mixed-age grouping in an environment created to encourage community building, deep self-knowledge, and capable confidence. Learners are invited to small group lessons using manipulative materials, stories, and dynamic, hands-on demonstrations to support them in developing core academic skills, facilitate the development of executive functioning and to encourage collaborative learning. The lessons are a starting point and an invitation to expand learners’ knowledge of a subject through creative, collaborative follow-up projects and practice toward mastery with Montessori materials.
Learners take ownership of their education process and cultivate personal responsibility for their learning through the use of the journal, regular 1-1 meetings with the teachers, and by being guided to work toward the expectations of the common core curriculum.
Puddletown’s elementary program meets at the following times:
- Early care 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. to a limited amount of children
- 8:15 a.m to 3:15 p.m. (dismissal 3:00-3:15 p.m.)
- After care 3:15 to 5:30 p.m. (drop-in may be available with 24 hour notice)
The elementary child is thirsty for knowledge about the whole universe and our curriculum allows children to see and explore the connections between everything they are actively learning. The elementary approach supports children’s developing intellect by providing stories and lessons that impress upon them the immensity of time, the intricate and amazing evolution of life on our planet, and the responsibility that we have as humans to be agents of positive change. By seeing the whole, children better understand their role and their strengths within a community and what their contribution can be!
At the beginning of every year, Puddletown teachers tell the “Five Great Stories,” dramatic tales that introduce key curricular areas and spark learners’ curiosity. The intention of these lessons is to create excitement and to raise more questions than answers so that the learners feel impelled to seek out information through research, asking for further lessons, or going out. These lessons provide meaningful context for the key lessons that follow and again impress children with the sense of interrelationships that exist in our universe.
The Five Great Stories include:
- The Story of the Creation of the Universe
- The Story of the Coming of Life
- The Story of Human Beings
- The Story of the Development of Literacy
- The Story of the Development of Numeracy
These lessons provide the foundation for the key lessons that follow up on various strands from these stories and that expand in complexity as children develop their intellectual capacity for deeper learning. The subject areas we address in our elementary community include the following:
- Science (biology, earth science, astronomy, and chemistry)
- History and physical geography
- Mathematics and Geometry
- Arts, music, drama, and physical fitness
Learners initiate, plan, organize, and carry out going out trips to meet a tangible need they have and/or to extend their knowledge in relation to classroom studies. Trips to the public library, pet store, hardware store or to museums, natural areas, and historical sites allow children to meet their need to extend their learning beyond the classroom walls. Empowering learners to lead these trips 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.
A DAY AT PUDDLETOWN ELEMENTARY
7:30 – 8:15 a.m. Early care
8:15–8:30 a.m. Arrival time. Children put away their things, greet their teachers, wash hands, and begin to record in their journal.
8:30–11:30 a.m. Work time. During work time, children are working independently or in groups while teachers are giving lessons, meeting with children and supporting follow-up work.
11:30–11:45 a.m. Transition: Children pack up their projects and clean the classroom.
11:45 a.m – 1:00 p.m. Lunch and outside time. Children attend outside time at Berkeley Park daily, though we eat on campus or at the park depending on the weather.
1:00-3:00 p.m. Afternoon work time. Children are working independently or in groups while teachers are giving lessons, meeting with children and supporting follow-up work.
3:00 – 3:15 p.m. Dismissal
3:15–5:30 p.m. After care