Lower Elementary

Daily life at PCMSIn the lower elementary class, first, second, and third grade students work together in small groups and individually to complete their work. Some work is specifically assigned by the teacher for a child or group of children, other work is chosen freely from the shelves according to the child’s interests and abilities. At any one time, there will be many different activities going on, and most children will be using manipulative materials along with paper and pencil. Most lessons are given to small groups of children at a special lesson table. At times, the whole class gathers for a group lesson or activity. The children are responsible for budgeting their time to complete their assigned work and chosen work according to the class guidelines. While working, the children talk quietly and move about the classroom as needed to accomplish their goals. Older children help to guide younger children and provide positive role models.

The curriculum is a combination of special Montessori topics and perspectives carefully blended with the standards set by the State of Ohio. That is, we teach what is taught in public schools all over Ohio, but we approach it differently. We use an integrated curriculum, global perspective, and many hands-on materials.

Integrated Curriculum: In a research style of learning, elementary children work in small groups on a variety of projects which spark the imagination and engage the mind. Lessons given by the teacher direct the children toward activities that help them to develop reasoning abilities and life skills, including mastery of basic skills (reading, writing, math) and cultural knowledge (science, social studies, music, art). The day is not divided into small segments for the various subjects. Rather, the day is divided into two lengthy work cycles. The children work independently for extended periods of time on specific skill development and on larger work that integrates those basic skills with cultural study. A program of extended work periods under the guidance of one teacher sets the stage for a fully integrated curriculum.

Global Perspective: Elementary age children have a natural desire to understand the universe and find their place in it. We help the child know the universe by guiding him to look outside himself to the whole world, to the long line of people who came before, and to those who will come in the future. The lower elementary child studies the countries, continents, and oceans of the world. He looks at how people have met their fundamental needs for food, clothing, and shelter in all areas of the world over the span history. He considers how plants, animals, and people are dependent on one another in the web of life. Only then is he ready to study his own country, state, community, and time period. By studying the rest of the universe first, and then his own little corner of it, the child is able to find his place from global perspective.