Community Montessori School offers several classroom options for each child's specific needs and age range. The Primary Classroom (Level I) is for young children, ages 3 to 6, and the Extended Day Program offers a full-day option for children ages 5 and 6. The Lower Elementary (Level II) is for children ages 6 to 9, while the Upper Elementary (Level III) is for those who are 9 to 12.
The prepared environment of moveable, sensorial materials are designed for the "sensitive periods" of growth and development of the young child (ages 3-6). Children in this age range share complimentary developmental characteristics which make their grouping one of the key features of a Montessori program. The three and four year old students gain knowledge, experience, and confidence by emulating the examples of the older students. The five and six year old students develop a sense of responsibility by helping and teaching their younger classmates and are taught in small groups with individual attention from their teacher or "director/directress." Older students lead the way to new experiences and set the standards of behavior. As research has demonstrated, children learn very readily from their peers.
A Montessori environment allows the child to engage in a wide variety of activity. These activities include: practical life exercises, sensorial materials, languages, mathematics, geography, history, biology, music and art experience. Each of these areas contribute to the richness of the others. A child is free to choose his own work and is guided by the "director/directress," a new concept for the role of "teacher."
The Montessori "director/directress" of the Primary (and Elementary) level is trained at an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) training center. This year of training gives them the direction they need to accommodate the individual needs of the child, the skills to manage a multi-level age group within the classroom environment, and the knowledge of the developmental stages and sensitive periods of growth of the student. This training along with the Montessori material, is the essential key to the success of the Montessori classroom.
CMS offers an Extended Day Program (still considered part of the Primary level) for five and six year old students in which they stay for lunch and an additional three hours in the afternoon. This allows for the focus on "big work" as well as time for field trips and special lessons. The Extended Day Program is for the student who has demonstrated that she has the physical ability to do concentrated work for longer periods of time and the readiness to participate in group lessons which are given frequently during this time. The Extended Day Program is the last stage before the Junior level.
The Elementary Level program was established at CMS in 1972 to meet the needs expressed by parents for quality Montessori education continuing through the elementary level. Our Elementary classes for six to twelve year old students, extend and expand upon the Montessori Primary level experience. This full Montessori program offers a wide range of exciting, challenging, intellectual, and social opportunities in a unique and special learning environment. Students enter the Elementary Level upon recommendation of their Primary teachers. Students are usually prepared to begin Elementary Level work at age six or seven. However, acceptance is based on the developmental level of the student and not necessarily on age.
Multi-level age grouping continues in the Junior level. Elementary Level classrooms are grouped by students six to nine years of age (Lower Elementary) and students nine to twelve years of age (Upper Elementary). Elementary Level curriculum provides a vision of the universe and everyone's place in it through interdisciplinary studies of science, geography, history, creative writing, math, geometry, art and drama. Montessori encourages independent work and individual responsibility as well as cooperative learning in an environment specifically prepared and with teachers especially trained for this purpose.
Our Elementary class is a transitional one: the student, filled with concepts, will soon reason with them. They are passing from sensorial dependence to intellectual independence. The Elementary environment recognizes this and gradually reduces the support and structure which were both useful and necessary to the Primary student. There are specific curriculum areas which are now approached from different aspects. Standardized and individually structured testing provides an ongoing assessment of each student's progress.
Page Update: August 19, 2006