Montessori Elementary School

The elementary child has reached a new level of development. Before he was interested in things: working with his hands, learning their names.  Now he is interested mainly in the how and why… the problem of cause and effect. – Dr. Montessori

At the age of six, there is a great transformation in the child, which can be compared to a new birth. Before the age of six, children want to know “what” and “where”, and they are interested in facts. At the Elementary level, children become fascinated by the “why” and “how” of everything, and they become interested in reasons and explanations. They begin to focus more on the world outside of their classroom, and to ask encompassing questions about how everything came to be, about the universe, the world, society and their place in it. At that age, children have questioning and reasoning minds, a strong ability to abstract and imagine, a natural desire to collaborate with peers, and unlimited energy for research and exploration. This is also the time where children want to learn what is right and wrong, and to explore meaningful roles in society. The Elementary Montessori program specifically targets the needs of the children from 6 to 12 years-old.

Our Elementary learning environment is carefully structured to challenge and stimulate students. We engage children’s intellect, direct them towards activities which help develop reasoning abilities, and capitalize on their interests in order to help them find meaningful involvement. The children’s curiosity, imagination, and development of social skills are used as natural motivators for learning. There is a great emphasis on organization skills, work habits, abstract understanding, time management, responsibility, interpersonal skills, self-confidence, and cooperation. Students are encouraged to pursue particular interests, investigate, question, draw conclusions, communicate proficiently, and work cooperatively with others. Group discussions, research work, and oral presentations are very prominent in all areas of the curriculum. Over a six-year cycle (equivalent to grades 1 through grade 6), students complete a core curriculum that exceeds the standards of the Ontario Ministry of Education. The goal by the end of the Elementary Montessori program is for students to be independent learners who have developed strong academic skills, a genuine love of learning, and sense of global awareness.

Our Elementary environment is being conducted by a Montessori-trained teacher with special qualifications for the Elementary level. The head teacher mostly gives small-group lessons in all academic areas, and guides the children in direction and methods of their own research. Children learn through hands-on experience, investigation, and active engagement in their studies as they progress from concrete to abstract thinking. We also provide the individualized attention necessary to ensure that every student achieves success. Students work at their own pace, and the learning environment is designed to accommodate a wide range of interests, abilities, and learning styles. 

The Elementary environment is a mixed-age group setting with learning materials appropriate for each age. The younger children learn from the older ones, while older students can teach and be role models for younger ones. Within a warm, supporting, non-competitive atmosphere, students often work on collective projects, as each child contributes with his/her personal talents and capabilities. A sense of community is enhanced within the classroom through peer teaching, collaboration, mentoring, and leadership experience. 

The experience of “going out” on various outings is very much part of the Montessori Elementary curriculum. Exploration of each area of the curriculum is encouraged through trips outside the classroom to community resources, museums, neighbourhood facilities, theatre, etc. Students are responsible for planning activities within and outside the school, and they are encouraged to apply the skills that they have acquired at school to real life situations. 

Our Elementary students are also encouraged to learn how they can make a difference and to “think globally, act locally” by participating in community service such as organizing fundraisers, collecting clothes for people in need, volunteering for a local charity, taking care of our garden and compost, baking for the hungry, and many more.

Our Montessori elementary school curriculum emphasizes the importance of art, drama, physical education and the factors that contribute to health. Throughout the year, students participate in music, drama and art sessions. As well, they organize many events such as a play, art show, botany fair, science fair, etc.  Every day, students engage in physical activities. Weather permitting, they spend time outside in our playground, at our large neighbourhood park, go on picnics and nature walks. Students also participate in a weekly sport such as indoor climbing, skating, cross-country skiing, track and field, dancing, martial art, etc.

Curriculum

The Montessori elementary school curriculum offers an open-ended and integrated approach to learning. The curriculum is designed to lead the students to abstract work and exploration beyond the walls of the classroom. The Montessori curriculum helps students to develop critical thinking, problem solving, and social skills, which are qualities needed throughout life. Curiosity is fostered both by introducing a wealth of information to the children, as well as by encouraging active, independent research in all areas of the curriculum.

Language: 

The Montessori Language curriculum is designed to enhance the students’ skills in reading, spelling, comprehension, writing, creative writing, grammar, sentence analysis, literature, poetry, and verbal communication. Students also study word families, word origins, and their meanings. Handwriting skills are reinforced through practice, journaling and class work. Children are also exposed to a variety of literature and poetry. The study of literature allows the children to discover the elements of style and how it may be incorporated into their own writing. Language is integrated into all aspects of the curriculum through written comprehension materials and oral presentations.

Mathematics:

In the Montessori elementary classroom, Mathematics materials are concrete representations of abstract concepts. The Mathematics curriculum allows the child to explore and discover new concepts through a “hands on” approach, which is then followed by memorization of facts. Concrete learning materials help children moving towards the process of abstraction with greater ease. The curriculum covers an integration of math facts arithmetic, graphs, fractions, proportions, word problems, rounding, averaging, statistics, algebra and geometry. 

French:

Students practice enrichment of vocabulary, verbal communication, reading, spelling, writing, creative writing, grammar, and sentence analysis. Students also have the opportunity to research subjects of personal interest in science, biology, botany, geography, history, the arts, etc., and to present their projects to the rest of the class. Students are encouraged to use French outside the classroom environment during outings and special events held at the school.

Cultural Studies: 

History, Geography, Biology, Botany, Zoology, and Science are all inter–related in a Montessori curriculum, and they are not introduced as separate subject areas in the classroom. The ultimate goal is to inspire an appreciation of the mechanisms of life, and to develop a feeling of responsibility for the environment.

History:

In History, the children learn about the concept of time and culture. The curriculum encompasses the creation of the universe and formation of the solar system, the time line of the Earth, the evolution of humans, and the time line from prehistory to current history.

Geography:

Children are introduced to the physical geography early on and study water cycles, formation of mountains, the tectonic plates and the movement of continents, and much more. They explore the political, cultural and economic geography and how each is affected by the physical changes of our earth (droughts, climate changes, weather patterns).

Biology:

The Biology curriculum gives a means of classification to the children. The children learn about cell structure (e.g. atoms and molecules), physiology (e.g. respiratory, circulatory, nervous and digestive systems), as well as the various types and adaptation that various species undergo for survival.

Botany:

In Botany, students study the classification of plants, plants’ structures and their roles, as well as looking at and comparing the differences in cell structures and functions.

Zoology:

Children learn about the classification system of the animal kingdom, animal’s physiology, and the functions of internal organs of animals. They also investigate the various ways animals adapt to their surrounding and how evolution is linked to these adaptations.

Science and Experiments:

Through the Science curriculum, the children have the opportunity to make hypothesis, and through a series of experiments either verify or nullify their hypothesis. They explore concepts such as matter, electricity, viscosity, magnetism and many more fascinating science facts.

The Arts:

The Arts curriculum encompasses the following: Visual Art, Music and Drama. The curriculum is designed to develop and enhance a range of skills such as: art appreciation, creativity, expression, communication and movement.

Physical Education and Health Sciences: 

In a non–competitive atmosphere, the children participate in physical activities, games and sports. The activities are designed to promote physical fitness, develop motor skills, and encourage students to work as part of a team. Students also learn about food, food handling, nutrition and the diverse factors that contribute to health.

Going-out:

Off-site excursions occur throughout the year and are organized by the students themselves. These excursions are extensions of studies our students are pursuing in the classroom. They allow children to apply their skills and to continue their learning and growth outside the class.

Social Skills:

Children at this age have an emerging social consciousness and show a strong desire to connect with peers. In the elementary classroom, great emphasis is given on helping students take responsibility for their own conduct in relationships as well as in caring for the environment. The environment provides opportunities for group meetings to discuss conflict resolution techniques, express feelings, develop solutions, create class rules, and learn to respect other. Throughout the year, students participate in fundraisers and community services; they make a positive contribution to the larger community by helping locally, nationally and internationally.

Schedule

Morning
8:20 Elementary children morning arrival.
8:20 to 11:20 Morning cycle and snack time.
Afternoon 
11:20 to 11:50 Gym / Structured physical activities.
11:50 to 12:20 Outdoor recess.
12:20 to 12:50 Lunch (Students can engage in activities when they finished lunch).
12:50 to 3:45 Afternoon cycle and snack time.
3:45 Children gather all their belongings and go home or to aftercare.

Testimonials

"After spending two years watching our son go through JK and SK in the public system decidedly uninspired, we faced the new challenge of grade 1. Now he was no longer uninspired but unhappy as well. We watched as our unique, curious son became more and more reluctant to go to school. By the time we removed him from grade one, mid-way through the year, we had a child who had a deep aversion to reading or any sort of penmanship. We took him to Parkdale Montessori for an afternoon while we were exploring alternatives to the public school. While driving home, our son commented, very matter of fact, "that is a better school for me-I will go there". And we've never looked back. Our son is now going to enter senior elementary (grade 4) and is comfortable speaking in front of groups and reading to the class. We have been so thrilled with Parkdale Montessori that we decided to send our daughter there as well. She is in grade 1 now and goes to school happily and with excitement each day. We believe that it was a life-changing decision for our son as Parkdale Montessori was able to re-ignite his natural curiosity and love of learning. Thank you Claude, Sandrine and Parkdale staff!" - Tracy and Mark

"My daughter is in her fourth fantastic year at Parkdale Montessori School.  As part of the Elementary program, she enjoys diverse subjects and is always excited to be starting a new project or assignment. The school really teaches respect for the individual and emphasizes personal growth.  My daughter is always proud to help the younger students as the older students are always patient and encouraging with her.  I consider all my daughter's teachers to be top notch, easy to work with and appreciate all they are doing to help my child become a confident and compassionate individual."  - Nancy

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