Because Montessori education is individualized, students move to the next level when they have mastered defined cognitive, physical, and social skills and are prepared to succeed in that program.
Mon & Wed
3 p.m. dismissal
Tue & Thu & Fri
2 p.m. dismissal
CVMS has three lower elementary classes, each with a maximum of twenty students and generally fewer. Each class is staffed by one teacher and one assistant.
As in all our classrooms, at the lower elementary level we group students in multi-age classes where teachers serve as facilitators for individualized, self-paced learning. Students stay with the same teacher for three years, or until they have mastered all the cognitive and social skills required to move to the upper elementary program.
Our curriculum and classroom experience at this level are designed to meet both Montessori and New York State curriculum requirements, with content and materials appropriate to the children’s stage of development. Our classes balance individual choice with thoughtful structure. Within that framework, they have a lot of flexibility to choose what they want to work on, and when they want to work on it. Teachers provide direct teaching on new concepts, and manipulative materials are designed to engage children in independently exploring and thoroughly understanding concepts.
At this stage, children move into the “age of imagination.” They are enthralled by stories and drama, so teachers present many lessons in story form and use some dramatic effects in teaching. Because learning is so individualized, teachers are attuned to seizing the teachable moment with each child.
The curriculum at this level emphasizes reading, writing, math concepts, science, research, and movement from concrete to abstract thinking. Experimentation and problem solving are encouraged, as are children’s growing independence from adults and social maturity. Music, Spanish language, physical education, and computer education are all incorporated in ways that are consistent with the Montessori approach to developing skills, creativity, self-discipline, and love of learning.
Students at this level do assignments in the classroom where staff and classmates are available to assist them. Younger children are expected to spend a half hour at home with books, and older ones are asked to spend that half hour in silent reading. Other work to do at home includes individualized spelling words.
Rich Learning Experiences
Throughout the year, we offer field trips and special events to further enrich and stimulate students’ desire to learn. The major event at this level is the Write Share project in March. Children and a supportive adult spend the month of February collaborating on a book, and then come together to share their published books at the party. Students also perform a musical concert each year, which often includes choral singing, costumes, acting, and playing some Orff and hand percussion instruments.
As they do throughout all their years at CVMS, lower elementary students engage in service to their classmates and to the outside world.
For more detailed information, please see our parent handbook.