Lower Elementary Program

GRADES 1-3:
Ages 6-9: The Age of Imagination

  • 12:1 Student Teacher Ratio
  • Maximum Class Size of 24 Students

At Whole Earth Montessori, the Lower Elementary course of study proceeds naturally from the work and play of the Preschool/Kindergarten classroom, taking into account the new needs and interests of the children ages 6-9. This is the age of imagination, boundless curiosity, making new connections and a strong desire for community. The Whole Earth Montessori elementary curriculum covers the full breadth of core traditional subjects but reaches far beyond; helping each child to develop a strong sense of excitement about learning, confidence in ones-self, the ability to seek out knowledge and apply it, and the skills to be a compassionate person and a contributing member of a community. 

Our curriculum encompasses an integrated thematic approach such that few subjects are taught in isolation. Rather, the curricular areas are woven together to help the child form a mental web of interconnected knowledge. As part of a three-year cycle of learning, children have the opportunity to consider challenging subject matter beginning at a concrete level and later moving towards new levels of complexity and abstraction in the second and third years. 

The following is a brief overview of Whole Earth Montessori’s core curriculum in the areas of: language arts, math, history, science, geography, arts, foreign language, peace and community. Please keep in mind that this is only an overview and that the curriculum will be flexible and responsive to the needs, abilities, and interests of the students.

Language Arts

Reading Instruction in use of reading cues and strategies, comprehension strategies, book selection, genre studies, literature circles.
Writing Penmanship (print and cursive), composition of stories, reports, poetry, letter writing, records of science experiments, news articles, etc.
Spelling Simple phonetic words, words with blends, dolch site words, leveled spelling program, study of words: compounds, synonyms, homonyms, prefixes, suffixes, etc…
Grammar Students are introduced sequentially to each of the parts of speech.

Mathematics

Number Sense Basic concepts, units, tens, hundreds, thousands...
Linear Counting Counting and skip-counting to 1,000 and beyond...
Math Facts Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division...
Math Operations Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division...
Algebraic Concepts Order of operations, use of parentheses, squaring and cubing...
Geometry Basic concepts, triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, geometric solids, lines, angles, measurement of angles, perimeter and area...
Fractions Basic concepts, equivalence, parts of a set, parts of a whole, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of fractions...
Problem Solving Use of mathematical concepts to solve “real life” situations...
Money Coin identification and counting, addition and subtraction, making change...
Graphing Reading and creating basic graphs to convey data...

Sciences

Astronomy Constellations, galaxies, planets, stars...
Physics Basic forces at work in the universe...
Chemistry Sub-atomic particles, formation of atoms, diagramming atoms, the periodic table of elements...
Biology The Five Kingdoms, Botany, Zoology and in depth study of vertebrates and invertebrates...
Geology Formation of land and water forms, forces at work shaping the earth and creating weather patterns...

Geography

Land and Water Forms Constellations, galaxies, planets, stars...
Continent Studies Names of countries, major land and water forms, flora and fauna
Country Studies Major cities, mountains, lakes, rivers, flora and fauna, people, currency, food, languages, religions
Maps & Compasses Transition from globe to map, reading maps, cardinal directions, basic compass skills
Cultures & Religions Beliefs, customs, holidays, foods, music, art, stories

History

Concept of Time Days, weeks, months, years -- telling time with a watch, family timelines, birthday timelines
Formation of the Universe Creation stories, the Big Bang
Formation of the Earth Formation of the Solar System, cooling of the Earth, layers of the Earth
The First Life Study of the Eras and Periods -- life forms, geological and climactic changes over time
Humans & Early Civilizations The fundamental needs that all humans share: food, clothing, shelter, transportation, communication, love, etc

Specializations

Technology iPad tablets are used for supplemental curriculum in various subject areas
Foreign Languages Spanish, Mandarin Chinese & Russian
Art Weekly, professional art instruction in small groups of 4-5 students
Music & Drama Students participate in Music & Drama programs on a weekly basis
Physical Education In addition to self-organized outdoor activities, all students attend an athletics program weekly at the Northshore Youth YMCA

The Whole Earth Lower elementary program is an in-depth continuation of the WEM pre-elementary programs; allowing students to work in their own time and way toward their unknown potential by providing a skeletal curriculum that is open ended.

In Montessori elementary the cultural subjects (anthropology, astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, economics, geography, geology, government, history, philosophy, physics, political science, sociology, etc.) are not broken down into separate subject matters, but are treated as a totally integrated curriculum. The development of skills in mathematics, language arts, physical education, music, foreign language, etc. are integrated as much as possible with the cultural subjects.

In general, concepts presented take an historical line so they are presented in the order in which the concepts were developed by humankind, and when possible, directly related to the person and/or era in which the concept, discovery or invention occurred.

The biological studies are structured in such a way as to give the child a means of classification so he can structure and relate the facts of biology. The ultimate goal is an ecological view of life and a feeling of responsibility for the environment.

The study of history follows the development of the solar system, life on earth, the development of man, early civilizations and recorded history. The child sees the long development that preceded the arrival of humankind and then the long labor of humans to accomplish all that is here today.

The study of geography is designed to show how the physical configurations of the earth contribute to the history of humankind. The study of physical geography and geology is the basis for the study of economic geography, which shows the interdependence of all people.

The first science experiments are designed to give the child the basic knowledge which will make possible the understanding of the development of the solar system, the Earth, life on Earth and the needs of plants and animals. The child will see how each living thing on Earth makes its contribution to the ecological whole.

The targeted result is the child sees the struggle of life to develop itself. This struggle and long labor has benefited him/her. He/she has a place in the development and a responsibility to further it.

The human relations curriculum has The Fundamental Needs of People as its organizing center. Through this the child is helped to see that the needs of people in all places on Earth and in all time in history are the same. This understanding helps to establish the idea of the brotherhood of man. When the child can see that the needs of people are the same, then he/she can respect and appreciate the variety of ways in which these needs are met.