Elementary (Ages 6 to 12 / Grades 1 to 6)
Elementary children have an immense appetite for knowledge; they begin to think abstractly and they have remarkable powers of imagination. The philosophy that underlies the Montessori elementary program, known as Cosmic Education, is designed to help individuals search for their place in the universe, and to recognize their relationship to other living things. Our course of study is an integrated thematic approach that ties the separate disciplines of the curriculum together into studies of the physical universe, the world of nature, and the human experience. Basic skills in math, reading, and language arts are perfected in the meaningful context of this big picture. Instruction in Spanish, art, music, and physical education are an integral parts of the week.
The Montessori Elementary Program is divided into two levels: Lower Elementary (6-9 year olds) and Upper Elementary (9-12 year olds). Each level is a multi-age community where students collaborate with others of different ages and abilities, learning to accomplish a goal cooperatively. This process encourages the child to contribute ideas, listen to others, and learn to compromise. Students experience abstract concepts through manipulation of concrete materials. Critical thinking skills are enhanced as students “discover” and articulate these concepts for themselves. Ours is an integrated and academically challenging program that meets the child’s changing developmental needs from year to year.
Curriculum Scope for the Elementary Classroom
Language Arts: Reading
Early exercises to practice reading; learning to recognize verbs and nouns; interpretive reading for comprehension at ever increasing levels of difficulty; use of the library and reference books on a daily basis for both research and pleasure.
Language Arts: Handwriting
Control of the hand in preparation for writing is developed through many exercises, including specially designed tasks in the use of the pencil; cursive writing, typically around age 5.
Language Arts: Composition
Once handwriting is fairly accomplished, the children begin to develop their composition skills. By age 9, research skills and the preparation of reports become major components of the educational program. Students are typically asked to write on a daily basis, composing short stories, poems, plays, reports, and news articles.
Language Arts: Spelling
Children begin to spell using the moveable alphabet to sound out and spell words as they are first learning to read. Word study is integral to helping children spell: involving compound words, contractions, singular-plural, masculine-feminine words, prefixes, suffixes, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms.
Language Arts: Grammar
We introduce our children to the function of the parts of speech one at a time through many games and exercises that isolate the one element under study. Students continue their study of language from the mid-elementary years onward, reviewing as well as engaging new concepts and skills: tenses, moods, irregular verbs, person and number, the study of style, the study of grammatical arrangements in other languages.
>> Click here to read more about our Language Arts Curriculum.
Study of the four basic mathematical operations: addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication through work with the Montessori Golden Bead Material. Beginning the “passage to abstraction,” the child begins to solve problems with paper and pencil. Children study money units, history, equivalent sums, foreign currencies (units and exchange) as part of social studies and applied math by age 6. Interest: concrete to abstract; real life problems involving credit cards and loans; principal, rate, time; computing the squares and cubes of numbers: cubes and squares of binomials and trinomials, normally by age 10; the history of mathematics and its application in science, engineering, technology & economics; basic data gathering, graph reading and preparation, and statistical analysis.
Study of the basic properties and definitions of the geometric shapes followed by more advanced study of the nomenclature, characteristics, measurement and drawing of the geometric shapes and concepts such as points, line, angle, surface, solid, properties of shapes; congruence, similarity, equality, and equivalence; the calculation of area and volume and the theorem of Pythagoras.
>> Click here to read more about our Mathematics and Geometry Curriculum.
Geography: Physical Geography
The Puzzle Maps are specially made maps in the forms of intricate, color-coded, wooden jigsaw puzzles representing the continents. Children study land and water formations such as island, isthmus, peninsula, strait, lake, cape, bay, archipelago, and so on. Introduction to longitude and latitude, coordinate position on the globe, Earth’s poles, the magnetic poles, history and use of the compass, topographic maps, global positioning satellite devices, electronic charts.
Geography: Cultural Geography
Countries are studied in many ways at all levels of NewGate-Field School, beginning at about age 3-4. A number of festivals are held every year to focus on specific cultures and to celebrate life together. The detailed study of one nation at a time, moves over the years from one continent to another. All aspects of the nation are considered: geography, climate, flora and fauna, major rivers and lakes, cities, mountains, people, food, religions, etc.
Geography: Economic Geography
Natural resources of the Earth – Production: how humankind uses natural resources. Imports and Exports: the interdependence of nations.
>> Click here to read more about our Geography Curriculum.
History and The Needs All People:
Each year the child continues to study and analyze the needs, culture, technology, and social history of various periods in history. The trends of human achievement are chartered, such as the development of transportation, architecture, great inventions, and great leaders.
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Observation of animals in nature. Botany: identifying, naming, and labeling the parts of plants, trees, leaves, roots, and flowers. Zoology: identifying, naming, and labeling the external parts of human beings, insects, fish, birds, and other animals. Introduction to ecology: habitat, food chain, adaptation to environment and climate, predator-prey relationships. The study of evolution and the development of life on Earth over the eons. Life cycles: water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. Introduction to chemistry: begins at age 6 and continues throughout the elementary science curriculum.
>> Click here to read more about our Science Curriculum.
This course emphasizes that language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. Classes are taught using a mixture of Spanish and English, depending on the level of the students. The focus of this subject is to encourage the students to gain a love for the language and an understanding of the various cultures that use the language. Students learn extensive vocabulary and basic grammar skills.
Our Art program blends Art history and appreciation with exploration of many media and techniques. Students study drawing, painting, multi-media creations, and digital photography and video. Many art projects integrate with themes from other core subjects under study.
Music classes are taught by a trained musician who encourages the students’ interest in music by working with a variety of musical concepts. Our primary focus is voice training, in addition to music history and appreciation. We also explore music, rhythm, movement. Music is further enhanced by a variety of activities done as part of the regular class curriculum as well as participation in the school’s annual Youth Opera.
Elementary students explore drama in many ways, from impro and exploration of contemporary or historical scenes (imagine interviewing George Washington or participating in a Moot Train) to our annual Elementary Shakespeare production.
Children need quality movement opportunities throughout their week and day. Weekly physical education courses help students develop a lifetime of personal fitness and health. Students participate in a wide variety of individual and team athletic activities. The aim is to foster fitness, participation, confidence, teamwork and enjoyment.