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“To consider the school as a place where instruction is given is one point of view.

But to consider the school as preparation for life is another. 

In the latter case the school must satisfy all the needs of life.”

      Maria Montessori

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The mission of the Montessori Community School is to provide a rich, educational experience that guides and nurtures the natural unfolding of the whole individual and inspires a lifetime passion for learning and peace.

The Montessori Community School has been established to encourage and promote the intellectual, physical and social development of children. The Montessori philosophy emphasizes the development of the child in a carefully prepared environment.  A prepared environment is one in which the child is able to develop freely at his or her own pace, unhindered in the spontaneous unfolding of his or her natural capacities. This occurs through the manipulation of a graded series of self-correcting materials designed to stimulate the senses, and eventually one’s thinking, leading from perception to intellectual skills.  Responsible freedom and inner self-discipline are encouraged.  The joy of learning is emphasized and the child is helped to develop a positive self-image.  We nurture self-worth.  We affirm that self-worth is the crucial ingredient for the full expression of a person’s potential.  We strive to base every interaction between community members on this principle  -- from how we discipline, to respecting personal learning styles and stages of development.  This is the very fabric of our community and our educational methods.  The social development of the children in the class is greatly emphasized.  It takes place naturally as the children learn to respect each other and become affectionate and cooperative.

The Montessori Community School offers a traditional, comprehensive Montessori curriculum including Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Geography, History, Science, Spanish, Creative Movement/Dance, Music, Art, Computer Technology,Winter Sports, and Environmental Expeditions.  Learning extends beyond the classroom through field trips, visitors, and community service.

Our Elementary program is split into two levels.  Lower Elementary includes six to nine year old children (grades 1st – 3rd) and Upper Elementary includes nine to twelve year old children (grades 4th – 6th). At the Elementary level emphasis is placed on the students' natural focus on social development and provides a safe environment to explore their developing moral compass. A majority of the time, lessons are given in small groups.  The Elementary curriculum is rich and inviting. Along with moving at their individual academic pace, students practice important life skills including, but not limited to: time management, self regulation and direction, peaceful conflict resolution and contributing to the greater community.  

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The teachers create and adapt the environment with this community of children in mind.  They modify the selection of educational materials available, the physical layout, and the tone of the class, to best fit the needs of the children. Our Montessori teachers serve as observers and guides in the classroom. Many of our teachers have been with us for over a decade and have more than ten years of experience with the Montessori Method.

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”- Maria Montessori

The Elementary Student

 

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The elementary Montessori program and curriculum is structured around the very specific needs and characteristics of students between the ages of six and twelve years.

  • Reason & Imagination - The inquisitive nature of the elementary student provides the fuel for the research and exploration focus of elementary Montessori. The elementary student wants to know the “why?” and “how?” The six- to twelve-year-old is able to use both reason and imagination to explore and understand increasingly abstract concepts.
  • Exploring Society – While the early childhood student was primarily focused on the construction of the individual, the elementary student begins to explore his place in society. Opportunities continuously present themselves for the student to observe or participate, moments in which to lead or follow.
  • A Need for Togetherness This is the age of clubs and groups. The elementary student explores friendship and cooperation; they learn how to be a leader, a partner, and a follower. While collaboration is encouraged, individual contribution and strength is also valued.
  • Exploring Right and WrongThe six- to twelve-year-old student is actively developing his moral conscience; “That’s not fair!” is heard over and over again in the elementary classroom. Every student may know the rules, but keeping them is another matter. Problem solving techniques are modeled and fostered in the Montessori program. Community brainstorming for solutions and rules helps form the elementary Montessori classroom’s code of conduct.
  • Freedom & Discipline – Independence and inner discipline continue to develop in the elementary years. The six- to twelve-year-old student is capable of increasingly complex and numerous responsibilities, and needs opportunities to exercise judgment and demonstrate self-conduct. Everything from classroom management to the student’s work stems from the student’s freedom to choose and think. Mistakes and failures are viewed as learning opportunities.

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The Elementary Classroom

Students learn best within an environment prepared to nurture and enhance each student’s unique development.

  • Multi-Age Groupings – Elementary Montessori classrooms are comprised of multi-age groupings. This is the practice of teaching students of different ages and abilities together, without organizing either the curriculum or the classroom by age or grade designations. The students remain in the same classroom, with the same instructors, for several years.
  • Classroom Areas – The elementary Montessori classroom is divided into distinct curriculum areas: Science, Geography, History, Art, Math, and Language. Many of these subjects are then organized into separate skill areas. There is a large floor area for spreading out work, and gathering for community meetings and lessons. There are also tables for individual and group activities. The students have notebooks for recording their work and folders to store ongoing projects. Group supplies are located in a central area. A message board displays the day’s schedule as well as reminders and announcements. A wide variety of plants and animals are located throughout the classroom. Arrangements of cut flowers often decorate the tables and music is almost always playing in the background. Replicas of artists’ work adorn the walls. Cleaning materials are accessible to the students since they are custodians of their classroom.  A library is located nearby and available for the students to visit in order to support their research and interests.
  • Materials – The wealth of materials in each area allows the students to follow their own interests. Materials are arranged as to allow sequential progress in skills. Usually there is only one example of each material to encourage turn taking and patience. Materials and their activities vary from individual work, to partner work, to group activities. The materials are aesthetically pleasing with a great many being teacher-made. Many of the materials employ an internal control of error so as to encourage self-monitoring and foster independence in the elementary student.

The Elementary Montessori Teaching Method

Elementary Montessori programs emphasize active learning rather than passive reception of information.

  • The Elementary Montessori curriculum builds upon the students' early childhood experience. The Montessori materials continue to play an important role as the student transitions from the concrete to the abstract.
  • Lessons involve exploration and hands-on experiences. The student in the Elementary classroom learns by doing hence the classroom is rich in materials, resources, movement and conversation.
  • The curriculum is individualized. The needs, ability, interests, and skills of each student are taken into consideration when lessons are planned and knowledge assessed. The Montessori student will receive extra help or direction on areas where she needs it and move rapidly through other areas where she excels.
  • The Elementary Program teaches the student how to think clearly, how to research, and how to express themselves in writing and speech.
  • The program fosters independent work as well as group effort.
  • The multi-age classroom creates an atmosphere of non-competition, making it possible for the student to work at her own pace, unrestricted by traditional grade standards.
  • The program supports a variety of learning styles.
  • Elementary Montessori education integrates all the different areas of study rather than compartmentalizing them.

The Montessori Teacher

“Follow the child” – as Dr. Montessori asserted, the Montessori teacher focuses on the whole child, and not on the daily lesson plan. Dr. Montessori wanted to create a clear distinction between the role of the Montessori teacher and that of a traditional teacher.  She coined the new title “director” or “directress” for the adults in her classrooms and as the name implies, their role is that of a director of activities. Nowadays the term “guide” is more commonly used. The Montessori classroom is a student-centered environment rather than teacher-centered. The teacher is rarely the center of attention. They spends the majority of their time in individual or small group activity or observing the progress of the students.

The Montessori Guide:

  • Tailors lessons and activities to suit the student’s learning style and abilities.
  • Prepares the classroom environment to promote autonomy amongst the students.
  • Maintains an investigation and discovery approach when presenting topics rather than giving facts and figures.
  • Is trained to assess knowledge and achievement through observation of the student.

The Elementary Curriculum Overview

Different from a traditional school setting where teacher-directed curricula determines the daily lessons, the Elementary Montessori students choose their own work. Under the guidance of the teachers, the Montessori students select activities that reflect their ability levels yet present opportunities to practice and perfect skills. Students and teachers work together for large blocks of uninterrupted time within a classroom that is rich in resources.  The students work at their own pace while the Montessori teachers observe and facilitate the learning process. The curriculum’s goal is to encourage students to become active learners rather than passive participants in education. 

The Elementary Montessori Curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students between the ages of six and twelve. Elementary students have an increasing ability to abstract and to imagine; the curriculum engages the students in activities that utilize these affinities. While the curriculum builds upon the students' early childhood classroom practice, it expands to include experiences, opportunities and instruction that are appropriate for the students’ developing minds.  The Montessori materials continue to play an important role as the students transition from the concrete to the abstract. The teachers’ lessons involve exploration, research and hands-on experiences that guide the students in developing their reasoning minds.

 

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Elementary studies include Geography, Biology, History, Language, Mathematics, Science, Music, Movement, and Art. Studies are enriched through field trips, visitors, and workshops that support the curriculum and expand the learning outside of the classroom into the community. 

 

Mathematics

The Elementary Montessori Math Curriculum takes the students through a series of precise exercises using specifically designed materials that support the students’ emergent abilities to abstract. Using hands-on manipulative materials the students in 1st – 3rd grade are given tools by which to do their math work and so acquire a concrete understanding of math skills and knowledge. This solid foundation allows a smooth transition to abstract understanding and application of math skills during the 4th – 6th grades. 

 

 

  Lower Elementary Upper Elementary
Numbers Linear counting, sequencing, place value through millions, before & after numbers, , skip counting, ordinal & Roman numbers, one-step word problems, patterns & relationships Factors & multiples, rounding numbers to nearest 10s & 100s, prime numbers, squaring and cubing, estimating, multiple-step word problems
Operations + - x / of whole numbers, regrouping, missing values, inverse operations, memorization of numerical patterns Large operations in all 4 operations (including long division, multi digit multipliers), operations involving decimals, memorization of tables, percentages, averages
Fractions Identification of fractions, addition & subtraction with common denominators, multiplication & division of fractions by whole numbers, equivalencies Mixed numbers, + and – of fractions with unlike denominators, simplifying fractions
Measurement Standard and metric units of measurement for length, mass & volume Perimeter, area, capacity, word problems
Time Telling time to the minute Elapsed time, 24 hour clock, word problems involving time
Statistics Interpreting data, block and bar graphs Line graphs
Geometry Classification of solids, quadrilaterals, triangles and polygons, study of lines & triangles Study of circles, congruency & symmetry, use of protractor and compass
Money Coin value, totaling amounts Making change, word problems involving money

 

Language

The Elementary reading curriculum is designed to incorporate phonics, whole word, and phonetic exceptions.  Lower Elementary students progress through a leveled reading program using the Pink, Blue, and Green Montessori reading exercises while additional materials and experiences allow them to perfect their reading skills, develop their fluency and comprehension. The Grammar and Vocabulary materials allow the students to assimilate an understanding of the structural rules that govern the English language. Literary elements are explored during Group Literature.  Lower and Upper Elementary students practice writing on a daily basis in classroom journals that cover a variety of writing forms.  In Lower Elementary, Writer’s Workshops are held throughout the year to target specific writing skills. In Upper Elementary the different varieties of writing and writing skills are integrated into their cultural, science and literature studies. Our goal is to help the students become comfortable using writing as a communication skill.  Students learn to think clearly to research, and to express themselves with confidence and clarity in writing and speech.  

 

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  Lower Elementary Upper Elementary
Reading Reading readiness, phonic skills, guided reading, sight words, contextual clues, S.S.R. (Silent Sustained Reading), vocabulary Shared reading, dictionary skills, fluency, expression
Comprehension Responding to questions regarding Story-time book (sequencing events, recapping & summarizing, identification of character, plot & setting) context clues & main ideas Continued study of main ideas, sequencing & context clues, assumptions/inferences, following written directions & instructions
Penmanship Metal inset exercises, D’Nelian print & cursive, spacing, left justification, neatness Mastery of cursive
Spelling Unconventional to conventional, leveled spelling works Conventional spelling lists, spelling demons, vocabulary, spelling rules
Mechanics Ending punctuation, capitalization, commas Apostrophes, commas, quotation marks
Composition Complete sentences, journaling, picture prompted stories, modeled writing, editing Journaling, character & plot development, proofreading, revising, publishing
Study Skills Categorizing, table of contents, index, beginning reports Outlining, note taking, organizing information, skimming, advanced reports, paraphrasing
Grammar Parts of speech, parsing Sentence analysis, verb tenses
Speaking Poetry presentations, in-class reports, drama, story-telling Poetry presentations, in-class reports, drama,   story-telling

Research Skills

In the Elementary classroom, research skills and the preparation of reports are major components of the educational program.  In Lower Elementary, students begin learning the skills needed to research areas of interest or assigned topics, and how to communicate their learning through reports—both formal and informal, written and oral. These skills continue to be examined and employed in Upper Elementary.

 

A special series of lessons, called the “Great Lessons,” are presented each year.  These beautifully told stories give an overview of the formation of the universe, and provide the student with an understanding of the human's place in time and space.  The Great Lessons provide the foundation for study in Geography (How the world came to be and the development of life on Earth), Math (The development of mathematics), Language (The development of language and writing), and History (The story of humans).  The students are given the broad story and proceed to fill in the details during the course of their Elementary years through subsequent "key" lessons.  The intent of the Great Lessons is to create in the students a sense of admiration and wonder.  They will then be compelled to discover more on their own.

 

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Cultural Studies

The Elementary Montessori curriculum uses the term “Cultural Studies” for History, Geography, and the Sciences.

 

  Lower Elementary Upper Elementary
Physical Sciences Process of scientific inquiry, Experiments, Three states of Matter, Studies of the Earth, Solar System Process of scientific inquiry, Experiments, Physics, Chemistry

Life

Sciences

The Five Kingdoms, External parts of Animals, External parts of plants, Body Systems The Five Kingdoms, Classification, Internal functions of animals, Internal functions of plants, Body Systems & Functions
History Days of the week, months, timelines; Study of civilizations, Vertical studies of the fundamental needs of man – clothes, shelter, transportation, defense, communication; US & State History Earth History Timeline, Study of ancient civilizations, US & State history, World History
Geography Identification of continents, oceans and countries; Map reading and making; Biome studies; Land & water formations; Studies of countries Longitude & Latitude coordinates, Scale, Biome Studies, Identification of world land & water formations, Study of countries, states & regions

Science

The Elementary Montessori curriculum includes the Physical and Life sciences. Studies in this discipline follow a three-year rotation.

 

Lower Elementary

 

  Year One Year Two Year Three
Life Sciences Fossils, Life cycles, Flowers & Herbs, Germination, Digestive System Classification, Vertebrates, Trees, Circulatory System Food Chains, Invertebrates, Fruits & Vegetables, Recycling, Skeletal System
Physical Sciences Rocks & Minerals, Sun & Stars, Simple Machines, Magnetism Faults & Earthquakes, Solar System, Light & Sound Continental Drift, Volcanoes, Moon, Electricity & Heat

Upper Elementary

 

  Year One Year Two Year Three
Earth Science Atmosphere Hydrosphere Lithosphere
Body Systems Nervous System Respiratory System Reproductive System
Physical Science Chemistry Physics Astronomy
Biology Plant Kingdom Animal Kingdom Protista, Monera, Fungi

 

Geography & History

Our Elementary students are exposed to a global cultural perspective, learning to understand and appreciate a multicultural world.  The students participate in an annual Cultural Fair each spring, which is a culmination of that year's continent or history focus.  For example, if Africa is our continent focus for a particular year, each student would undertake in-depth research on a particular country and develop a multi-dimensional presentation for the Cultural Fair that is representative of their country (i.e. traditional foods, clothing, instruments, written reports, 3-D representation of topographic features, rivers and mountains, etc.).  When our Upper Elementary students were studying the Vikings and Ancient Rome, they designed costumes, made traditional tools and food, developed video presentations, and wrote in-depth reports to showcase their studies. The Cultural curriculum is examined in three-year cycle. 

 

 

Lower Elementary

 

  Year One Year Two Year Three
History Inca & Maya, Colonial America, Utah’s Statehood Ancient Egypt, Middle Ages, Frontier Studies Explorers, Native Americans
Geography North & South America, Mountains & Caves Europe & Africa, Lakes & Rivers Asia, Australia & Antarctica, Deserts

Utah Studies

State Mineral, State Gem, State Flower, State Fossil, Surrounding States State Tree, State Fish, State Animal, State Bird, Great Salt Lake State Fruit, State Vegetable, State Insect, State Symbol, State Motto

Upper Elementary

 

 
  Year One Year Two Year Three  
World History The Aztecs  The Vikings Ancient Rome  

American History

Colonial America

Transcontinental Railroad

Westward Movement – Mountain Men, Pioneers

Utah Statehood

Native Americans  

Geography

Physical Studies –         North & South America,       Country Study - USA Cultural Studies –                   Europe & Africa,                   Country Study – Ireland Economic Studies – Asia & Australasia, Country Study – New Zealand  
Utah Physical Studies Political Studies Economic Studies  
             

 

Practical Life

The main focus of Practical Life at the elementary level is guiding the student toward responsible independence in action and thought.  Students learn to manage their work and time using a log to plan their day.  Once the students are familiar with using a logbook, they learn to evaluate their own work and then practice goal setting. At the Lower Elementary level students plan a day at a time while at the Upper Elementary level they create a week’s plan.

 

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Elementary students care for classroom animals, provide basic maintenance of their classroom, and learn skills such as flower arranging and knitting. Business ventures include creating products for the monthly market and managing a staff food service business. Practical Life in both Lower and Upper Elementary include school and community services and chores. These include managing our school-wide recycling and composting programs, and creating annual campaigns to help our community have more of an awareness on issues such as waste management.

 

 

Students are encouraged to fully participate in their learning process by doing research and discovering information for themselves. 

 

                                   The Elementary approach to classroom management is to help the students learn that they are responsible for what they do and that their actions have natural consequences.  Students are involved as much as possible in the development of the Elementary Code of Conduct.  Whether a problem involves only two students or the whole class, we teach the students a “Work it Out” method to help them to become problem solvers.  Problem solving techniques are modeled and fostered.  One of the techniques that the teachers use is called “Teacher Theater,” where they model appropriate conflict resolution.  The classroom also has an Agenda Book that provides the students with the opportunity to raise issues that are significant to the Elementary community.

 

 

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                                   Community brainstorming for solutions and rules helps form the Elementary Classroom Code of Conduct.  The students are given increasingly complex and numerous responsibilities, and many opportunities to exercise judgment and demonstrate self-conduct.  Mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities.

 

Each year, the Upper Elementary students are given the opportunity to define the values that they will adopt and practice as a class. Recent examples include the values of responsibility, respect and tolerance.  Upper Elementary students also participate in Socratic Dialogue, which involves open-ended discussion on topics that influence the world around them, as well as the exploration of new ideas. 

 

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Great Outdoors Environmental Program ("GO")

Throughout the year, Upper Elementary students and third year Lower Elementary students participate in an environmental education program called, “The Great Outdoors.” This program combines classroom and field studies in local environmental issues and ecosystems. Environmental expeditions involve observations and studies of local biomes and Salt Lake City's water systems as well as conservation and ecological service projects such as the Bear River Cleanup.

 

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Art
Art Supplies are available in the classroom for students to select as part of their daily work. Students also have an Art Specialty class, where they refine basic art techniques such as pattern, design, texture, shape and line, and learn more advanced techniques such as perspective, medium, shading, dimension, transparency, overlapping, and printmaking. During the Spring Art Showcase, our students have the opportunity to share their artwork with our school community.

Each month, the students study the life and work of a famous artist.  We rotate these artists over the following three-year cycle:

 

Lower Elementary

 

Year One Year Two Year Three
Gustav Klimt Vincent Van Gogh Leonardo da Vinci
Piet Mondrian Georges Seurat William Morris
Norman Rockwell Paul Klee Edvard Munch
Andrew Wyeth Grandma Moses Frida Kahlo
Mary Cassatt Henri Matisse Frank Lloyd Wright
John James Audubon Roy Lichtenstein Katsushika Hokusai
Jackson Pollock Ansel Adams Pablo Picasso
Gilbert Stuart MC Escher Dorothea Lange
Andy Warhol Georgia O’Keeffe Claude Monet

Upper Elementary

 

Year One Year Two Year Three
Giotto di Bondone Limbourg Brothers Michelangelo
Carl Linnaeus Fra Angelico Gustave Courbet
Lorenzo Ghiberti Albrecht Dürer Edgar Degas
El Greco Rembrandt van Rijn Berthe Morisot
Winslow Homer Edouard Manet Paul Gauguin
Auguste Rodin C.M. Russell Salvador Dali
N.C. Wyeth Henry Moore Louise Nevelson
Victor Vasarely Christo Wassily Kandinsky
Diego Rivera Méret Oppenheim Joseph Stella

 

Music

Students have a Music Specialty Class, which provides formal instruction in music.  Using ORFF instruments and recorders, the students learn to keep a steady beat, play rhythm rounds with non-pitched instruments, and read music on the staff.  The students have the opportunity to share what they have learned in Music Specialty Class with our school community during the annual Spring Performance.

 

Each month, the students study the life and work of a famous composer.  We rotate these composers over the following three-year cycle:

 

Year One Year Two Year Three
Miles Davis Beethoven Aaron Copland
John Philip Sousa Elton John Johann Pachelbel
Ferde Grofé Wagner George & Ira Gershwin
Cole Porter Prokofiev Irving Berlin
Duke Ellington Vivaldi Meredith Monk
Rodgers & Hammerstein Gilbert & Sullivan Frederick Chopin
Scott Joplin Enya Marvin Hamlisch
John Williams Mozart Aretha Franklin
Bob Marley The Beatles The Beach Boys

 

Dance

Students have a Dance Specialty Class, which provides formal dance instruction.  In Dance Class, students work on dance elements such as high and low space, slow and fast energy, positive and negative space, tempo changes, different energy levels, high and low planes, and mirroring.  The students refine their locomotion skills, which include sliding, galloping, skipping, jumping, crawling, and rolling.  The students have the opportunity to share what they have learned in Dance Specialty Class with our school community during the annual Spring Performance.

 

Theater

The students study elements of theatre and have the opportunity to participate in our annual Montessori Community Theater performance, which is attended by Kindergarten and Elementary school students and parents.  Poetry recitals occur throughout the year, and at the end of the school year, the students present small skits and songs based on their classroom studies.

 

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Physical Education

Physical education is an important part of the Elementary Montessori Curriculum.  Emphasis is placed on body awareness and physical fitness through playing cooperative games and practicing Yoga. Elementary students also spend a great deal of time hiking and exploring the great outdoors on field trips throughout the year.  Students also have at least 30 minutes of outdoor playtime daily where they may choose to play on the playground, organize their own sports or creative activities, or just relax.

 

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Winter Sports Program

Each year, Elementary students take part in a five-week Winter Sports Program.  The students have the opportunity to take skiing or snowboarding lessons at Brighton Resort.

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Field Trips

Field trips enhance the year’s curriculum.  The students extend their learning beyond the classroom by making several off-campus trips each month to locations such as art exhibits, hiking trails, theatre productions, museums, cultural exhibitions, local farms, and nature preserves.  The students also make frequent visits to Salt Lake City area libraries throughout the year to choose books for classroom reading time or for research projects.

 

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Technology

Computers are introduced to the Elementary students when they are ready to publish their writing and research.  Students learn how to word process, save, and edit their work.  The use of the Internet is carefully supervised.  Students learn how to access online dictionaries and encyclopedias.  Keyboard skills are also introduced, typically during the third year of Lower Elementary.  Upper Elementary students develop skills in Word processing, Power Point presentations, video and photography, and classroom blogging.

 

Home Assignments

Each month, Lower Elementary students are given a Home Assignment, which is typically a project involving library research and hands on learning.  Students are not given "busy work".  Home Assignments are designed to extend and enrich the curriculum, challenging the students to think and explore.  For example, as part of their Egyptian studies, our Lower Elementary students made Egyptian paper, traditional dolls and scarabs.  As part of their medieval studies, the students designed castles out of a material of their choice, labeling all of the parts of the castle. 

 

Testing

We do not use standardized testing as a means of evaluating student progress.  Our method of evaluation includes detailed recordkeeping on each student and direct observation of the application of skills and concepts introduced to each student throughout the year.  Elementary parents receive two written evaluations, and participate in two student-led Parent/Teacher Conferences each academic year.  This method of evaluation enables the student to master a concept or skill before progressing and allows us to identify and address any learning issues that may be preventing that student from moving forward.  It also allows students to move forward rapidly in areas where understanding comes easily and take more time to comprehend areas that may be more difficult for them.

 

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Freedom and Responsibility

Montessori Elementary students are guided in taking on an important role in their own education.  They often have the freedom to choose work partners and topics of study, learning to balance freedom with responsibility.  This nurtures adaptability, negotiation, compromise, problem solving, time management, and respect for others and the environment.  They develop leadership skills by making important decisions on projects related to their elementary community life, as well as giving presentations and voicing their opinions in community meetings throughout the year.

 

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Community Life

Students learn to become active, positive contributors to their school community, and many events throughout the year such as Elementary/Middle School Community Meetings and the Fall and Spring Elementary/Middle School Camping Trips provide ample opportunity for the students to practice these skills and to develop a strong sense of community.

 

Outcomes 

The outcomes of the Montessori Elementary Program are:

  • Students learn how to learn
  • Students become independent
  • Students are active learners
  • Students learn to manage their time
  • Competency and skills in all areas of the curriculum

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Montessori Elementary students find deep personal satisfaction in learning through their own efforts.  They do not compete against each other for grades, or expect external rewards for their work. Students learn to trust themselves and their own judgments.  More importantly, they can acknowledge mistakes and work to correct them in an atmosphere of support and respect. The students take ownership of their work and their environment, and develop self-direction. They develop an innate drive to learn and a natural love for learning that lasts a lifetime. 

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This year, our Spring Campers did an in-depth study of the moon. Camp started out with the history of the moon. Students learned about how the moon formed and how the moon and the ocean relate. Next, students learned about the phases of the moon, making a phases of the moon viewer and doing a light and shadow experiment.

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Each day the students have done amazing, creative art projects, crafts, and experiments revolving around the moon. When students learned about spacecraft, they made and launched rockets outside. They also watched the first landing on the moon.

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Next came a day of learning about astronauts. They learned about what a space suit and space food is like and why. Students created their own space packs and enjoyed pretending they were on the moon and cruising around in space.

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The last day of camp featured the surface of the moon. Students learned about moon rocks, mountains, and craters. They also learned about what the absence of gravity means. Students were able to create their own moon sand and make textured paintings of the moon. We would love to thank all the teachers and staff who worked during camp and made it such a success. We would also love to thank the students who came, explored, and created such a wonderful atmosphere and brought such an enthusiasm to this past week. 

"Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core." - Maria Montessori

Lastly, a special thank you goes to our Spring Camp Director, Ms. Corey Day. Thank you for planning and implementing such a creative, fun, educational, and organized Spring Camp. Your skills and talents are unmatched. We are blessed to have you.

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MCS Lower Elementary students, 1st - 3rd Grade, created art pieces for the University of Utah's Eccles Institute of Human Genetics Building. The showing is on the 3rd floor atrium of the building. This building houses the Department of Human Genetics, Molecular Medicine, USTAR,  [2007 Nobel prize winner Dr. Mario Capecchi], and many other researchers.  
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Amy Fought, our Lower Elementary Art Teacher explains, "At Montessori Community School we have enjoyed exploring paint and color with our creative art installations of 'Shapes and Silhouettes.'  Working in groups of two or three, students got together to practice the style of Wassily Kandinsky, famous for his abstract art. "
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"We spent time emulating a few of Kandinsky’s famous pieces that focused on repetitions of circles. Although art often focuses on the foreground, or “positive space,” we chose to bring to life our background, or “negative space,” by choosing bright and colorful shapes to paint, as Kandinsky did."
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"The students were given only the primary colors (magenta, yellow, and blue) to begin with, and they created their own beautiful variations of colors to create layers upon layers of their shapes.  They then overlaid their work with a tree silhouette of their choosing, drawing and cutting a simple picture that would not detract from the beauty of their background.  The result was a beautiful set of pieces that shows the ingenuity and creativity of young minds."
 
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Please find Spring Camp registration forms on the credenza by the stairs in the lobby. Spring Camp will run Monday, March 30th - Friday, April 3rd. 

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During Spring Camp, the students will learn all about the moon! Please look over the daily schedule above.

 

Download the forms here:

Spring-Registration.pdf

Spring-Camp-2015.pdf

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This year's Winter Camp has been themed around a Winter Wonderland. Students have had many creative arts and craft activities. One of the favorites was the Snowy Owl Pinecones pictured above.
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Students also got the chance to play outside with their friends. Blowing bubbles in the snow made for a great learning activity. The students loved chasing, popping, and watching the bubbles float to land on the snow- Would the bubbles freeze, or not?
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Also, learning about some of Winter's greatest wonders and works of art, the Northern Lights, students created their own beautiful art using the aurora borealis as inspiration.
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Dear MCS Parents,
 
We wanted to share a quick update about how things are progressing here at the school.  Most of the staff have been here cleaning, taking inventory of damaged or ruined materials, and moving materials in preparation for Monday.  There is a lot of cleaning to do still before the materials can be taken to the church (our official temporary location) and the classrooms there prepared.  
 
Thank you again to all who have offered to come to the school to help.  There are already a lot of staff who are here trying to work around the cleaning staff so we do not feel we can direct many more hands.  Thank you for the kind offers. We have been informed that there are families who are still looking for child care for their children.  If you are willing to help in this capacity please let us know and we will try to get you in touch with families who are still searching for child care.  
 
The following updates might be helpful:
  • We've had another confirmation that we are not dealing with sewage or pesticide contaminants. There are no microbial issues and the water does not pose any health risk.  The water that flooded the school contained soil, dirt, bark, etc. but the word "contamination" in this sense simply means the items are dirty.  
  • We are still waiting for information about the boiler repairs. There is nothing new to report and the boiler is not currently working.
  • Our power has been restored. (YAY! Light has been very helpful.)
  • The road outside the school is torn up and is closed at both ends of the block.  We are hopeful that they will lay new asphalt on Thursday or Friday and the road should open over the weekend.
Keep checking Facebook, the website, and email for updates.  
 
Many people have asked how they can make financial contributions.  If you would like to make a donation please go to our website (www.mcsslc.com) and visit "Flood Relief Fund." 
 
 
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Students learn about Blacksmithing while watching a presentation on a chain being made.
 
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Students learn how to churn cream to butter, how cows are milked, and how to care for different farm animals. Students also got to enjoy each other during a wagon ride. Thank you to the wonderful parent volunteers!
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The Early Childhood Aspens class posing for a picture after they picked their pumpkins.
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Picking Pumpkins!
Each student was able to pick and bring home their own pumpkin. It is so fun to see the different shapes and sizes of the pumpkins each child chooses!
 
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The students loved visiting the aquarium. It has been one of the most fun field trips of the summer. We spent a lot of time observing in the Shark Tunnel and the Touch Pools. Many students were quite taken with the octopus, turtles, and clown fish. 
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The Penguin exhibit was so much fun! We were able to see and hear a presentation on penguins and enjoyed watching their feeding time. We learned that penguins really love fish! We were also able to cross the netted bridge in the aquarium's 'Journey to South America' exhibit. 
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Measuring up with Megalodon and the penguins from around the world was a wonderful experience. The students were so proud they were almost taller than the Emperor Penguins, the tallest penguin in the world. 
There were many other school groups there that day, but our Montessori students were the best! 
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A happy welcome to the new families entering Montessori Community School.  Parents, you will soon discover that being a part of a Montessori community is encompassing and the efforts you make towards supporting the Montessori approach will determine the success your child has in this environment. Below is an article by Edward Fidellow which will give you several tips to embracing your new role as a "Montessori Parent."

And so begins your journey......

Becoming a Montessori Parent by Edward Fidellow

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There are seven simple steps to becoming a Montessori parent. When we say simple we don’t mean that they are not challenging. It is a lot like the definition of bull riding. “The object is to keep the bull between you and the ground.” Simple – but challenging.

The first step to becoming a Montessori parent took place when you enrolled your child in a Montessori program. That in itself is a challenge. Most of us weren’t raised in a Montessori school. The whole concept is foreign and takes a bit of courage to step out of the norm and our comfort zone. We may have chosen the program because it wasn’t like our school experience (which is why we chose it.) Or we chose it because we saw something unique in a Montessori child we knew. Or we were just plain lucky and stumbled on to a Montessori school and were fascinated by what we saw. Even then we had to deal with the question, “If this is so great, how come the whole world isn’t lined up outside the door to enroll?” (Which is the same question Montessorians keep wondering about too!) But you made a complex and challenging decision to become a Montessori parent. And here you are. So how do you get the best out of your decision? You go to step two.

You begin to understand the core philosophy of what Montessori is all about. Fortunately, you don’t have to become a Montessori teacher to be a good Montessori parent. (You don’t have to know how to manipulate all of those materials and you don’t have to keep fifteen children from climbing the walls.) The most significant Montessori concept is to respect the child. I can almost hear the wheels turning “Of course I respect my child, I love them very much that’s why I have them in Montessori, I want the best for them.” Of course you love them – but respect is different. Respecting the child is first, to respect the nature of children. Children are not mini adults waiting to be molded. They are like tadpoles and caterpillars that have their own form and function of life waiting to become what they are intended to be. We are often impatient for them to become because we don’t realize that childhood – with its curiosity, playfulness, messiness and all – is part of the process of them transforming themselves into the adults they will become. We have to respect that process – which doesn’t mean they always get to do what they want. One of the operative words in Dr. Montessori’s writing is the word “train”. We do need to train our children but we need to train ourselves “not to destroy that which is good” in the nature of our children. The second part of respect is to respect the personality of your child. Your child is not a blank slate. They are already imbued with the unique characteristics of who they are. The artistic bent is already there. The math bent is already formed.The leader, the follower, the giver, the taker, the extrovert, the introvert are already dna’d into your child. Right or left handed, right or left brained are already formed.

So how do you cooperate with nature? You become an observer. That is the next step in becoming a Montessori parent – you train yourself to observe. What does your child gravitate to? What gives them great joy? What occupies them endlessly? These are all clues to who your child is becoming. You are fortunate that you have a trained helper in your child’s Montessori teacher. Your next parent conference should ask more than what has she done but who do you see her becoming. It is hard to cooperate with nature if you are not aware of the nature of your child.

Our third step is to become their champion. I know. I hear you say, “Of course, I’m their champion. I love them.” And so you do. But are their goals your goals? Translation: Do you have goals for them that do not take into account who they are. (There are many jock fathers who do not have jock sons.) Yes, you have many wonderful goals for them to be caring and loving, honest and faithful, upright, truthful, etc – and these are worthy, significant and meaningful goals which they should attain to. But the expression of their lives – career, vocation, work – is best met and fulfilled according to their gifts. When your five year old says, “I want to be a fireman.” He may be reflecting the latest book or television program he’s seen. However, if you continue to ask the why questions, “Why do you think that would be a good job? Why do you think that you would enjoy that?” you may discover that your child is not drawn just to the excitement but to the fact of wanting to help people or he likes the aspect of being part of a team. All are important clues to his personality. Your child needs you to champion and encourage his personality (especially, if it is different than yours.)

The fourth step is to practice what they learn at school – grace and courtesy. Please and thank you, may I, excuse me, please forgive me and a host of other considerations practiced (and modeled) at home will go a long way to giving your child every advantage in life. People respond favorably to a child with great manners.

Fifth, practice independence. Independence is the ability to be self-governing and that comes from making choices, living with the consequences and having responsibilities. As often as possible give your children choices. “What do you want for breakfast, cereal or eggs?” “Do you want two spoonfuls of carrots or one?” (Don’t offer choices where there are no choices. “Do you want carrots? They say no and you serve them anyway.) Give your children chores they can accomplish – making their beds, putting dirty clothes in the laundry, dishes in the dishwasher, etc. Chores build responsibility; responsibility builds independence; independence builds confidence.

Sixth, give them the gift of time. Give them time to accomplish their chores. Give them time to be children. Give them time to breathe. Give them your time.

Seventh, practice humility. They have a lot to learn from you. What is easy for you as an adult is mystifying and beyond challenge for them. Let your words be seasoned with grace. Look for the good in what they do. Their motives are often pure; their actions imperfect. Yet, we have a lot to learn from them also. And when you are wrong (when, not if) practice the humility of saying, “Please forgive me.” It will not destroy your authority or their respect for you. It will teach them one of the great lessons of life – when you fail, whether it’s in a relationship, school, career or life – own the failure and start over again – to succeed another day.

Becoming a Montessori parent is to become the best parent you can be.

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Summer Fun Pictures: Classic Fun Center, Water Slides, Roller Skating, Hiking, Great Outdoors, Waterfalls, Trail Blazing, Experience of a Lifetime

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Our toddlers love lunchtime! They are always curious to see what each friend brings. 
 
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They are responsible for getting their lunch out of their cubby and preparing their food (with assistance from teachers when needed). 
 
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When lunch is finished, our toddlers are able to pack up their lunchbox, clean up their eating space, and return their lunchbox to their cubby. What darling, responsible little ones we have here at MCS! 
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b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2014-07-17-at-8.34.33-AM.pngSummer fun continues at Montessori Community School! Early Childhood visits the Tracy Aviary. 
Explore. Play. Learn. Educate. 
 
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Thank you to our wonderful Summer Adventures Camp Teachers and Staff for making fabulous field trips such a success! 
 
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Our Toddlers, ages 18 months to 3 years, are having a very busy and productive summer.  We are always amazed at these little ones and all they are capable of!  
 
MCS still has space in our Toddler program for fall.  Give us a call to schedule a tour and learn more about the magic of Montessori at the Toddler level.
 
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Many working parents are looking for a safe and healthy environment for their very young children. Options for child care are limitless and varied in what they have to offer a young child.  However, current research shows us that the most crucial part of a child's development happens in the unconcscious absorbent mind, from 0-3 years old.  That being said, why wouldn't any nurturing parent want the most prepared and beneficial environment for their child?  This article, Montessori Infant-Toddler Programs; The Best Beginning, from The Montessori Way will help you determine if a Montessori Toddler program is the best fit for your child. 
 
"This is a time of great sensitivity to language, spatial relationships, music, art, social graces and so much more. If, during this time, the mind is stimulated by the child's exposure to a rich environment, the brain will literally develop a much stronger and lasting ability to learn and accomplish."  Read more...
 
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