Lower Elementary (1st-3rd grade)
As students move from Primary to Lower Elementary, they are entering an entirely new plane of development. The 6-9 child is becoming much more aware, and insightful about, the world they live in. They become more socially involved, and are very concerned with justice and fairness. While the 3-6 child focuses on the what and where of life, the 6-9 child is interested in why, how and when. The child's imagination is limitless, as he or she discovers the mysteries of the universe.
Academically, the new Lower Elementary student picks up where s/he left off in Primary. Because the curriculum is a continuum that builds over time, the teacher knows just where the student is with reading and math skills. The first materials that students work with in Lower Elementary are the same as they used in Primary, and that familiarity gives them confidence and comfort as they begin to explore their new class.
Curriculum areas include: Language Arts, Math, History, Social Studies, Geography, Geometry, and Science (including botany, zoology, geology, physics, chemistry, meteorology, etc.).
Upper Elementary (4th-6th grade)
In the Upper Elementary program at the Montessori School of McLean, we build upon and expand the understanding and skills our students acquired in the Lower Elementary and Primary classes as we prepare them for Middle and High School. The 9-12 child still has many of the attributes of the Lower Elementary child, including a need for independence, peer validation and a deep curiosity about why the world works the way it does. They are children with many questions and are internally motivated to find the answers. Our teachers are trained to guide and further develop that desire to learn, and to help each student find his or her own best way of attaining the goals they set for themselves. As their abilities to think abstractly and critically become sharper, providing them with the encouraging, academically challenging, positive environment they need to continue to grow and mature towards their potential remains our primary mission. While supporting our students in the "where they are right now", we are preparing them for the "whom they will become".
Dr. Montessori's Cosmic Curriculum, which she defined as "giving [the student] a vision of the whole universe" all the parts of which form "one whole unity," educates the whole child, meeting his/her needs in a way that is both appropriate and supportive of who the student is as a unique individual. Students continue to explore and learn the fundamentals of mathematics, geometry, pre-algebra, zoology, botany, writing, grammar, etc., but with a greater depth than they have been capable of before, and to analyze what they are learning to determine how they can put it to its best use. At this stage, new concepts are still taught using hands-on manipulative materials, in order for the students to clearly see the how and why of the concept. As they work with the materials, they begin to think about the concepts more abstractly. Much of our work is project based, with practical application of the skills the students learn in the curricular areas. Integrating what they learn and the skills they acquire is a fundamental goal, so students can develop a context for their learning, and begin to see their own way of using the knowledge they have worked so hard to acquire. Our objective is not just to encourage our students to be lifelong learners, but to continue their quest to understand the human condition, and to contribute positively and with a generosity of spirit to the world community, making the best use of the talents that are unique to each of them.
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To get a feel for what Montessori is all about, there's nothing like seeing it in action! The videos below feature students from a range of Montessori schools; we invite you to "step inside" and see what the excitement is all about. You'll also hear unique perspectives from Montessori advocates and other notables.
Learn why the Montessori kindergarten year‚ the third and final year of the Montessori Early Childhood cycle‚ is a foundation for life.
National book award winner Andrew Solomon (Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity) discusses how teaching children to value diversity and accept differences can have a profound impact on society.
John Hunter, creator of the World Peace Game, shares his thoughts about peace education and how Maria Montessori's ideals of the prepared environment and following the child can lead to new discoveries for students and educators alike.
Parents tell you, in their own words, what makes Montessori education special. Go "beyond 2+2" and see the difference that Montessori can make in your child's life.
Take a glimpse at the vibrant and nurturing environment that children of all ages experience in a Montessori classroom.
NBA superstar, Stephen Curry, and his remarkable family, tell us how a Montessori education has helped shape their outlook on life in this exclusive interview. Filmed at the Christian Montessori School at Lake Norman, where Stephen's mother, Sonya Curry, is the head of school.
Accreditation is a rigorous process that MSM first undertook in 1995, and is an indicator of the standards to which it is held in the educational community. It serves as a guarantee that MSM is what it says it is and does what it says it does, that all teachers are highly qualified, and that it is committed to continuous improvment. MSM is currently engaged in its most recent re-accreditation cycle, to be completed in the summer of 2019.
Our AMS Certificate of Accreditation states that this achievement "... is affirmation that the school represents an authentic model of the educational philosophy and practices of Dr. Maria Montessori and demonstrates compliance with the rigorous, qualitative standards prescribed by the American Montessori Society. It is an assurance of the excellence of the school, including its goals, programs, services, facility, financial stability, and vision for the future, as well as its commitment to continued excellence through an ongoing program of self-examination, peer review, improvement, and growth."