The Lower Elementary Program at Fraser Woods Montessori School encourages students to explore the world of ideas and creativity. It is here that students, still using hands-on Montessori materials, begin to move from the tangible learning of their Lower School experience to more abstract concepts. The core of the Elementary Program is The Great Lessons, a series of stories that effectively introduces the entire universe to the student. The Great Lessons is a starting point of the students’ awe-filled adventure in the pursuit of learning with the goal of producing independent, creative students who are capable of incorporating reading, writing and independent thinking into all areas of the curriculum.
- Time: calendars, time lines, clocks
- Story of the Earth
- Story of life
- Story of humans
- Stages in the progress of civilization
- Fundamental needs of humans
- Physical geography: continents, land and water forms
- Political geography: countries, capitals, flags
- Map skills
- Solar system
- Sun and earth
- Composition of the Earth
- Work of wind and water
- Process of scientific inquiry
- Nature of the elements
- Gravity and density
- States of matter
- Mixtures, suspensions, solutions, compounds, saturation, crystals
Botany and Zoology
- First knowledge
- Who am I?
- Question and answer
- External parts of plants and animals
- Body functions of plants and animals
- First classification
- Five Kingdoms
- Vertebrates and invertebrates
- Numerical quantities
- Numerical symbols
- Place value
- Introduction to the concept of zero
- Rounding and estimating
- (+ x - ÷) concepts
- (+ x - ÷) operations
- Memorization of math facts thru 12
- Exploration of numerical patterns
- First equivalence study
- Static operations with like denominators (+ -)
- Introduction to mixed numbers
- Linear: standard & metric
- Time: reading
- Money: value of, + -
- Temperature: reading
Cooperative Problem Solving
- Word problems and critical thinking
- Graphing: bar, line
- Patterns and relationships
Geometry: Spatial Sense
- Types of lines
- Parts of lines
- Relationships between lines
- Constructing lines
- Types of angles
- Parts of angles
- Congruency, similarity, equivalence
- Plane figures
- Classification of simple polygons
- Study of triangles
- Types of triangles
- Parts of triangles
- Congruency, similarity, equivalence
- Sound and symbol relationship (phonetic reading)
- Sight words and contextual clues (reading fluency)
- Vocabulary and spelling
- First research
- First poetry study
- First use of reference: dictionary, encyclopedia
- Writing process
- Language skills
The target of the French Curriculum at this level is to encourage and train the student's ability to listen to all the words and expressions used during lessons. This allows the child to imitate and reproduce the pronunciation, to guess and spot words or expressions through interactions in groups or paired exercises. Children use a variety of materials during activities that include games, puppets, songs, skits, short poems, and videos that reinforce themes and foster curiosity and knowledge in the multi-French cultures seen around the world. By allowing students ample time to understand lessons we avoid frustration and encourage their growing self-confidence.
The Orff-Schulwerk philosophy is the foundation for elementary music classes. Students build on the musical skills and experience musical concepts through singing, movement, speech, chanting rhymes and playing a wide variety of percussive instruments using Orff orchestrated musical pieces. The use of the Orff instrumentarium helps to develop the student's skill, musicianship, and growing sense of musical aesthetics. All children are encouraged to respect each other's efforts and learn to listen, observe, and evaluate their own efforts and musical growth. The study of music is vital to the appreciation and understanding of our culture and the cultures of the world. Through listening, performing, and composing, we create opportunities for our students to have a deeper understanding of music.
Fraser Woods Montessori School music lessons follow the 9 guidelines of National Standards for Music Education.
Twice a week students meet for cooperative group games, sports and activities. The program’s goal is for students to feel good about themselves while learning about health-building activities and their bodies. It is designed to develop self-esteem, positive cooperation with peers and organizational and leadership skills.
Technology and Digital-Age Learning
The Information Technology Curriculum integrates seamlessly with classroom academics. Students acquire a progression of skills through teacher instruction, self-directed software programs and cooperative and independent learning. Students use age-appropriate learning programs, become competent in the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, FrontPage) and safely and effectively utilize the Internet.
The new standards identify several higher-order thinking skills and digital citizenship as critical for students to learn effectively for a lifetime and live productively in our emerging global society. These areas include the ability to:
Demonstrate creativity and innovation
Communicate and collaborate
Conduct research and use information
Think critically, solve problems, and make decisions
Use technology effectively and productively
Students make weekly visits to the art studio and experience the works of master and contemporary artists, as well as lesser-known artists from other cultures. Visual Arts students learn about techniques and styles in art through examples or reproductions. They are then encouraged to use the inspiration to create their own unique projects. This develops a true appreciation for the elements of art as well as the artists studied.
Students have countless opportunities in our art studio to explore materials, including the clay wheel, in both traditional and non-traditional ways. Students are encouraged to experiment, encounter the concepts of balance, space, texture, form, color and line.
The Montessori philosophy allows for individual exploration in learning. Our art classes are set up to provide experiences that follow this philosophy. We also are mindful to follow the six National Standards for the Visual Arts.
Each year, the Cultural Program highlights one of the arts. Guest artists are brought in throughout the school year for both individual classroom activities and general school assemblies. The Cultural Program is interspersed with relevant academics and, conversely, academics that are drawn from the themes of the Cultural Program.
Students stage their own production—an activity many consider to be the highlight of the school year. For the annual performance, students participate in all aspects of production. Roles range from actors/singers/dancers to set/costume/lighting designers to performance directors. To help foster independence, students are encouraged to work out their own solutions as a group.
The Cultural Program cycle includes:
- Folktales, Myths and Legends
- Art and Performance
- Classical Music
- Musical Theater
- Cosmic Education
- Grace and Courtesy
- Global Citizenship