Montessori education prepares students for life. Our Elementary program, for children between the ages of 6 to 12 years (1st-6th grade), sparks the imagination, engages students in divergent thinking, and inspires live-long learners.
Elementary at a Glance:
Head Teacher, Assistant teacher, and Specialists
Early care available at 7:30AM
Aftercare available until 5:00PM
Lower Elementary: Ages 6-9 years (1st-3rd grade)
Two mixed-age classrooms of up to 22 students
Upper Elementary: Ages 9-12 years (4th-6th grade)
Two mixed-age classrooms of up to 22 students
Mixed Age Classrooms
Children remain in the same classroom for a three-year cycle, for both Lower Elementary (1st-3rd grade) and Upper Elementary (4th-6th grade). During this time, they develop a strong bond with their teacher and have the opportunity to experience three different roles in their classroom community: the youngest, middle, and the oldest. This three-year journey fosters their empathy, communication skills, and self-confidence as they build a strong academic foundation.
Children learn best by doing. Montessori materials are beautiful, engaging, and scientifically accurate. In all areas of study, children are introduced to new concepts incrementally through hands-on experiences. Students work towards abstraction as they master new concepts with developmentally appropriate lessons.
Learning as its Own Reward
The foundation of Montessori education is a model of the child as a motivated doer, rather than an empty vessel. Simply stated, MdTL students love to learn. Without external rewards and punishments, they remain curious about the world around them and intrinsically motivated to do their best. Children grow more attuned to their personal feelings of progress, boosting their innate ability of self evaluation.
Sparking the Imagination
Our Elementary teachers start each school year with the five Great Lessons: the creation of the universe, the coming of life on Earth, the coming of human beings, and the invention of language and mathematics. These lessons set the stage for lessons in all subject areas: math, language, geometry, botany, zoology, history, geography, art and music. They spark the imagination and appeal to the elementary child's reasoning mind.
Elementary children are highly social beings who seek belonging and connection as they develop a strong sense of self. In our Elementary program, students work collaboratively, with varied work partners. They form strong bonds with classmates of various ages, develop the tools needed for group work, routinely inspire each other, and learn to respect each others' viewpoints and ideas.
At MdTL, children are respected as individuals with varied interests, strengths, and areas for growth. Students are given time to practice and repeat lessons at their own pace, which allows them to excel or spend more time on a particular topic depending on their skill level. They develop time management skills, learn to advocate for themselves and get to know themselves as a learner — how they learn best and what kind of supports are most helpful. They often have the freedom to choose work partners and topics for study, thereby becoming responsible for their own activities.
"We have students working at every level. We are able to meet them where they are and help them expand on their interests and further develop them."
-Zarrin Atkins, Upper elementary Head Teacher
Our Elementary teachers start each school year with the five Great Lessons: the creation of the universe, the coming of life on Earth, the coming of human beings, and the invention of language and mathematics. These lessons set the stage for lessons in all subject areas: math, language, geometry, botany, zoology, history, geography, art and music. They spark the imagination and appeal to the elementary child's reasoning mind. Curriculum is routinely integrated across subjects — what is presented as a geography lesson may have elements of language, art, and cultural studies. Children naturally begin to make meaningful connections between multiple subject areas, and develop an understanding for the interconnected nature of the universe.
Elementary students are given the time and space to dive deep into areas of interest. Allowing a child to follow their interests keeps the joy of learning alive, gives opportunities for prolonged concentration and develops a host of executive function skills, including planning, self-monitoring, working memory, time management, and organization. Students routinely have the opportunity to dive deeper — whether researching the Atlantic Puffin in detail or practicing long division by creating an equation so large that it needs to be solved out in the hallway. Elementary children love big work.
"Having the ability to delve into their daily work and see their efforts through to completion without interruption is a learning style which my husband and I have truly come to appreciate. It creates an ability to focus, to pay great attention to detail, and to become truly passionate about learning."MdTL Parent
Collaboration and Divergent Thinking
Our elementary classrooms are designed to support group and individual learning with developmentally appropriate lessons. Teachers encourage collaboration and foster an environment in which students can generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. Children work together to research a topic of interest or prepare independent explorations and present them to their class. This starts at the youngest level and builds on itself throughout the Elementary years. Collaboration, problem solving, and public speaking become second nature for MdTL students.
Elementary students are ready to explore their community and begin to seek information outside of their classroom walls. "Going Outs" are an integral part of our Elementary program. While whole class field trips do occur, most Going Outs happen in small groups. Some examples include a trip to a local point of interest as follow up to an area of study or project, an interview with a specialist, or a trip to the public library to gather more information.
Connection with the Outdoors
Our campus is nestled in the hills in Terra Linda, where we take full advantage of our beautiful surroundings. Students take regular hikes as a class and truly thrive in the outdoors. We have two elementary gardens, where students plant, tend and harvest produce, as well as dig in the dirt, observe local wildlife, and create with natural materials.
Our Upper Elementary students take two overnight camping trips each school year, which are often cited as favorite memories by our alumni.
“The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination.”