The Elementary Program
The MMS Elementary curriculum draws on Montessori approaches and other proven teaching strategies to provide a rigorous academic program.
The Lower Elementary program asks children to begin to take ownership of their learning. In three classrooms, including first through third grade peers, students learn core academic subjects in small groups with teachers, and extend their understanding of the concepts through collaborative and independent work. The curriculum is carefully designed to achieve specific outcomes, and the Montessori methodology is supplemented with Singapore Math, the balanced-literacy approach developed at the Columbia Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project, and nature studies based on scientific resources at Black Rock Forest. Homework begins in Lower Elementary with nightly reading assignments and longer-range projects. During this time, children begin to develop the resilience and learning traits that lead to academic success. They connect personally with their learning, and are given many opportunities for self-expression. With competence comes confidence. The child leaves Lower Elementary with the self-motivation and self-discipline needed to address the more abstract challenges of Upper Elementary.
To learn more about the Lower Elementary curriculum, click here.
In Upper Elementary, students become critical thinkers, learning how to ask questions, evaluate information and ideas, articulate abstract ideas, organize thoughts and information, use technology, and conduct themselves appropriately with adults. The students have blocks of time for independent and collaborative work, consulting with teachers as needed. After-school study hall supervised by classroom teachers is available. Tests are used to assess mastery of skills, to develop the discipline of preparing for exams and for bench-marking purposes. The Upper Elementary play, overnight trips, experiential projects at Black Rock Forest, and seminar-style discussions in language arts and social studies prepare children to be reflective and productive students, considerate friends, and responsible citizens of the world.
The capstone of the MMS experience is the sixth grade year. As the student leaders of the school, sixth graders work with Primary and Lower Elementary children; they speak about the school on admissions tours with prospective parents; they prepare to speak about themselves in school applications and interviews. Entering seventh grade at the city’s excellent ongoing schools, our students are secure in themselves, able to ask questions, navigate new surroundings, and organize their studies because of the MMS preparation.
To learn more about the Upper Elementary curriculum, click here.