Elementary and Junior High (Grades 1 – 8)
Our elementary students enter a prepared learning environment designed to address the psychological characteristics and developmental needs of this age group. Earlier experience in the primary classroom lays the foundation of a basic skill set that allows the student to function in this new setting.
Collaborative learning and a natural attraction to group work cultivate interest and drive incredible intellectual inquiries. Students are encouraged to pursue areas of independent work and study. They also continue to experience the advantage of working together in a multi-age environment. The teacher guides the learning experience and intellectual growth with the aid of the Montessori materials that are designed to facilitate the transition to abstraction, support an atmosphere of intellectual rigor, experimentation, collaboration and challenge.
In addition, the multi-age group setting promotes peer teaching and a healthy social dynamic. It is common to find students who have reached a level of mastery, helping those just getting started.
Curious Minds: A Place to Learn and Grow
The integrated curriculum is one of our great strengths at SMS. The curriculum ties together studies of the physical universe, the natural world and human experience. Each lesson builds on the previous one in a spiral of learning, with the curriculum building carefully over time. This method differs from the traditional model of education which often has compartmentalized subject areas where topics are sometimes covered only once at specific grade levels.
The aim is to motivate the child from within, working with his or her own interests. Freedom is recognized as the foundation of intrinsic motivation and the child’s choices and learning pace are respected. Our Montessori environment and our Montessori trained teachers play an important role in fostering intrinsic motivation by promoting the child’s freedom to choose from their interests and reinforces the responsibility to follow through, as well as the pride experienced when the child has completed what they set out to accomplish.
SMS offers a customized curriculum which takes the child from where they are, allowing them to progress at a pace the meets their individual learning needs. For some, mastery of a given subject or topic may come quickly, and for others, it may mean taking extra time to solidify a concept. Whichever the case, our teachers guide the child through the learning experience ensuring they are well prepared for the next level of learning.
Character education is considered an integral part of the Elementary Program – the foundation which was laid during their years in the Casa Program where Grace and Courtesy lessons taught them how to interact with one another in a respectful and courteous manner. Children learn very early the importance of listening, speaking politely, being considerate and helpful, and contributing to their community. The proper balance of freedom and discipline fosters moral traits of respect, independence, responsibility, and self-initiative. As the children progress to the Elementary level and the social dynamics become more complex in scope.
The freedom and responsibility students have at SMS creates real life opportunities for moral action. At any age and stage, differences between students may arise, providing opportunities to use social skills for understanding one’s self and others. Becoming involved in the larger community in the way of volunteerism and taking an active interest and involvement in social causes that are meaningful to them empower children and teach them that they can make a difference in the world.