Lower Elementary Curriculum (Ages 6-9)

Continuing your child’s education in the lower elementary program reinforces positive learning habits. For new students just joining at this level, many enjoy the freedom and responsibility given in the classroom. Students learn that the teacher is not the sole source of information and the students learn that they can depend on one another as a community of learners. Students who have mastered concepts are able to teach those who may still be practicing.

Students work at their own pace and ability, and are given a work plan for the week. Because all students are on their own curriculum, they are typically working on or above grade level. Students do not know if their classmates are ahead or behind, so there are no “smart” kids, no “dumb” kids- they are all just kids working together.

The elementary-aged child wants to know everything about everything! They have a natural desire to explore the sciences, history, and the arts but rather than offering a collection of facts, a Montessori elementary education offers a vision of interrelated knowledge and a love of learning.

Each child is provided with a work plan. The plan provides a direction for the child and allows the teacher to guide him in the concepts he needs to review or learn. This also allows the classroom to follow the Montessori curriculum while continuing to meet (and often exceed) the standards set the state. The workplan and environment may be altered based on each child’s ability to accept direction, his independence and other special needs.

The classroom is organized for the child instead of the adult. From the first day of school, the children meet and discuss guidelines for class rules. Children in the classroom have work responsibilities, help each other and allow the class to run efficiently. The teacher acts as a role model, mentor and guide. She provides lessons that capture the children’s imagination and interest. She also helps the children when conflicts arise, calls meetings to discuss problems with the class in an open forum and communicates the children’s progress to their families.

The teacher gives the children freedom and choice as they exhibit that they are ready for them. Privileges are earned independently, although all children start out with the same rights. If a particular child is unable to handle certain freedoms or responsibilities, the teacher maintains the right to help the child to be successful and safe by taking those away until the child is able to handle himself.

Each child keeps his work in his own record books, which usually are notebooks in which each subject’s work is recorded. The child’s record books and papers are stored neatly in a storage space or cubby. Although children do not have their own assigned work spots, they do have assigned areas in which to keep their things. Materials in the class (such as supplies) are for everyone to use and share. This allows the children the opportunity to learn how to be patient and cooperate with others.

As in preschool, the lower elementary teacher presents the work through concrete, hands-on materials that engage the child. It is also the teacher’s role to help children develop their academic potential to the highest level possible. The prepared environment fosters peace, acceptance for others and independence in a highly motivating atmosphere. This is an extremely successful combination that prepares the child for the upper elementary classroom or any other learning situation.

Specific Objectives for Lower Elementary

Hilltop’s lower elementary (first through third grade) curriculum focuses on language arts, math, science, history and geography. Extra-curricular studies including P.E., Spanish, art, computer technology and music are also incorporated for all students.