The Lower Elementary Classroom (Grades 1-3)
The lower elementary classroom is where skills really begin to take shape. The students use the habits they learn in kindergarten of organizing themselves and managing their time to build a solid foundation of essential language and mathematics competencies.
The development of reading skills is nurtured through a sequentially designed language program, which includes manipulative word work with letters (Moveable Alphabet), pictures, and objects. Word work, spelling rules, and phonics lessons are often included in a Montessori reading program. Writing skills are fostered through a comprehensive grammar program, spelling work, sentence analysis, and research skills.
Skill development in mathematics is aided by a multitude of materials, which make abstract concepts concrete. The sequence of mathematics materials allows children to progress at their own rate. The full complement of mathematics materials covers everything from place value and operations to fractions and geometry.
Cultural studies (science and socials) are the heart of the Montessori program. Through stories and inquiries, students are presented with a big picture of the world in which they live and opportunities to ask and answer questions about it. The Great Lessons are the hub of the cultural wheel, taking students back in time and beyond the place in which they reside. As respected Montessorian Michael Dorer says “stories have the powers to illuminate, elucidate, motivate, spark creative imagination, and touch the spirit of the children.” The stories that are the basis of the Great Lessons are supported by illustrated timelines. Additional activities found in cultural studies include Puzzle Maps, the Botany Cabinet, and nomenclature cards, which support research. Many cross-curricular activities are explored through cultural studies including but not limited to art, mathematics, and language arts.
All the lessons presented in the lower elementary classroom are informed by the B.C. curriculum as well as the scope and sequence of the Montessori curriculum.
Teachers in the Montessori program have both a B.C. teachers' certificate and Montessori certification, which requires two and a half years of additional training following a bachelor's degree.