Parent Education

Subcategories from this category: MCS Curriculum
Posted by on in MCS Curriculum
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Montessori Cultural curriculum includes learning about Geography, Science, Music, Art, and Yoga. Throughout these studies, our students have become familiar with continents, oceans, and countries including but not limited to specific flora, fauna, flags, and folks.  Montessori cultural education helps students to adapt to their own culture, inspires a love of learning, and offers a new perspective of the world. Within this spectrum, our students get the opportunity to do an in depth study of a particular culture, focusing on specific countries of our world and their uniqueness.


Thursday, April 24th our Elementary and Middle School students will be presenting their cultural studies for MCS’s Annual Cultural Fair from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm in the MCS gymnasium.  Our students’ presentations will remain set up throughout Friday, April 25th until late morning for all those wanting to swing by, view, support, and share in the success and hard work of our students. 
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b2ap3_thumbnail_Raising-Resilient-Children.jpgRaising children in the twenty-first century is a most rewarding challenge. In modern society we have increased access to mass media and greater sprawl within families. Youth are increasingly influenced by sources of information beyond parental control. Thus, our task as parents is to figure out how to balance sheltering our children while still preparing them for the future.

Research has identified many key elements that predict better quality of life in adulthood; academic achievement, absence of medical and mental health problems, financial stability, and rewarding social connections with others. Yet most of us at one point or another face situations that create vulnerabilities in these areas. So this begs the question, how do we bounce back? And more importantly, how do we teach our children to demonstrate the same perseverance when faced with stressors?

Everyday I work with families who are striving to bolster the skills and abilities of their children. They seek to help them to adapt to current stressors and challenges, and to acquire characteristics likely to help them lead a successful life in the future. My method of teaching is based on building resilience.

Drs. Goldstein and Brooks, authors of Raising Resilient Children (2002) stated, “Resilient children can cope effectively with stress, pressure, and everyday challenges. They appear capable of bouncing back from disappointments, adversity or trauma. They learn to develop and set realistic goals for themselves and those in their lives. They are capable of solving problems and interacting comfortably with others. They possess self-discipline and a sense of self-respect and dignity.” Temperamental differences can play a role in how resilient children are, but this mindset can also be taught in everyday interactions.

One of the most inspiring lessons I have learned through teaching others is that there are so many consistencies between the guideposts of Resilient Parenting and the tenets of the Montessori Method. Let’s examine a few:

First, resilience-minded parents teach their children to solve problems and make decisions. This allows children to have a sense that they can control what happens to them. This mentality fosters independence and a sense of responsibility. The Montessori classroom allows children to develop self-reliance by making choices and dealing with the consequences of their choices. Children develop awareness and trust in their decision-making through the feedback loops of choices and consequences.

Second, resilience-minded parents discipline in ways that promote self-discipline and self-worth. This helps children to appreciate mistakes as opportunities for learning rather than indications of failure, furthering the child’s emerging sense of ownership and responsibility. Positive feedback, encouragement, natural and logical consequences are all powerful teaching tools. The Montessori classroom also encourages children to learn from mistakes and successes by allowing for independent decision-making. Children make choices and experiment within a well-prepared environment that promotes creativity, confidence, and a sense of purpose. It is appreciated that children need time and practice to master new skills and that unnecessary help actually hinders development. Montessori truly embraces the “help me help myself” attitude.

Numerous other similarities can be drawn out between the Montessori Method and resilient parenting practices such that I consider Montessori a model of resilient education, with well-trained teachers to serve as additional charismatic, influential adults in our children’s lives during the school day. As parents, we are in a unique position to extend these teachings. Parents can adopt a mindset of resilient parenting “to foster strength, hope and optimism in our children” everyday.

Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

Please join us on March 4th from 6:30pm - 8:00pm as Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., an MCS parent and our school psychologist, shares more about raising resilient children and how a Montessori education supports resiliency.

Tagged in: Parent Education
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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.

  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
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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, <, =, or >, 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
Functions 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
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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 student's 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.

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.
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“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. She spends the majority of her 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.
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Elementary Montessori programs emphasize active learning rather than passive reception of information.

  • The elementary Montessori curriculum builds upon the student’s 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, how to express herself 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.
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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 in for community meetings and lessons. There are 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 so 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.
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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; he learns how to be a leader, a partner and a follower. While collaboration is encouraged, individual contribution and strength is also valued.
  • Exploring Right and Wrong – The 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 United States has approximately 50 million Spanish speakers.  The Western United States including Utah have the highest percentage of Spanish speakers.  Demographic and economic trends, including greater purchasing power among Latinos and Spanish speakers and interconnectedness in the Americas from Canada to Chile, suggest Spanish will grow even more important throughout the century. Additional reasons for learning languages including better access to other cultures and communication possibilities.
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  • The dual language program offers your child the chance to develop communication ability in Spanish and English. This could be difficult at first, but being bilingual may enhance your child’s potential opportunities (jobs, culture, etc).
  • Acquisition of language by children has been studied widely. Children have advantages over adults in language learning. Natural curiosity and a willingness to make mistakes help the child. Adults often hesitate when speaking another language for fear of erroneous pronunciation or grammar. Children, especially young children, tend not to have that fear.
  • Children easily pick up and model accents. Few adults who learn other languages pick up the correct accents. Many children do to the point at which they pronounce as well as a native speaker. Of course, those children generally start to learn the language before their teens with the help of native speakers.
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Every child that is enrolled in the Dual Program goes through the same process of learning. Children who hear other languages spoken at home tend to learn languages faster.  Some ideas for home are:
  • Interact with your child.
  • Learn about dual language education.
  • Encourage your child to speak the second language.
  • Give your child the benefit of the doubt.
  • Do not ask your child to translate. This requires advanced skills that could frustrate your child.
  • Try to avoid comparing your child’s progress to that of other children. Rates of progress differ.
  • Be willing to participate in opportunities to expose your child to Spanish and culture(s)outside school.
  • Praise your child for his or her progress.

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In the dual language class, children are encouraged to evenly divide their time between Montessori works in English and Spanish. One teacher speaks and presents lessons to the children in English while the other speaks and presents lessons in Spanish. Teachers generally speak their native language though the Spanish teachers are bilingual in case a child needs assistance in English. With time, every child in the class will learn Spanish. Children in the classroom have the opportunity to learn how to communicate in both languages. They will experience speaking, listening, reading and writing. Reading and speaking in both languages is necessary to become bilingual, bi-literate and bicultural.

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Raising children in the twenty-first century is a most rewarding challenge. In modern society we have increased access to mass media and greater sprawl within families. Youth are increasingly influenced by sources of information beyond parental control. Thus, our task as parents is to figure out how to balance sheltering our children while still preparing them for the future.

Research has identified many key elements that predict better quality of life in adulthood; academic achievement, absence of medical and mental health problems, financial stability, and rewarding social connections with others. Yet most of us at one point or another face situations that create vulnerabilities in these areas. So this begs the question, how do we bounce back? And more importantly, how do we teach our children to demonstrate the same perseverance when faced with stressors?

b2ap3_thumbnail_playing-working-together.jpg

Everyday I work with families who are striving to bolster the skills and abilities of their children. They seek to help them to adapt to current stressors and challenges, and to acquire characteristics likely to help them lead a successful life in the future. My method of teaching is based on building resilience.

Drs. Goldstein and Brooks, authors of Raising Resilient Children (2002) stated, “Resilient children can cope effectively with stress, pressure, and everyday challenges. They appear capable of bouncing back from disappointments, adversity or trauma. They learn to develop and set realistic goals for themselves and those in their lives. They are capable of solving problems and interacting comfortably with others. They possess self-discipline and a sense of self-respect and dignity.” Temperamental differences can play a role in how resilient children are, but this mindset can also be taught in everyday interactions.

One of the most inspiring lessons I have learned through teaching others is that there are so many consistencies between the guideposts of Resilient Parenting and the tenets of the Montessori Method. Let’s examine a few:

First, resilience-minded parents teach their children to solve problems and make decisions. This allows children to have a sense that they can control what happens to them. This mentality fosters independence and a sense of responsibility. The Montessori classroom allows children to develop self-reliance by making choices and dealing with the consequences of their choices. Children develop awareness and trust in their decision-making through the feedback loops of choices and consequences.

Second, resilience-minded parents discipline in ways that promote self-discipline and self-worth. This helps children to appreciate mistakes as opportunities for learning rather than indications of failure, furthering the child’s emerging sense of ownership and responsibility. Positive feedback, encouragement, natural and logical consequences are all powerful teaching tools. The Montessori classroom also encourages children to learn from mistakes and successes by allowing for independent decision-making. Children make choices and experiment within a well-prepared environment that promotes creativity, confidence, and a sense of purpose. It is appreciated that children need time and practice to master new skills and that unnecessary help actually hinders development. Montessori truly embraces the “help me help myself” attitude.

Numerous other similarities can be drawn out between the Montessori Method and resilient parenting practices such that I consider Montessori a model of resilient education, with well-trained teachers to serve as additional charismatic, influential adults in our children’s lives during the school day. As parents, we are in a unique position to extend these teachings. Parents can adopt a mindset of resilient parenting “to foster strength, hope and optimism in our children” everyday.

Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

Please join us on March 4th from 6:30pm - 8:00pm as Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., an MCS parent and our school psychologist, shares more about raising resilient children and how a Montessori education supports resiliency.

Hits: 130