• Lower Elementary Curriculum Overview

    The Montessori curriculum is taught from large scope to small, moving from big­ picture understanding to a focus on details. The children continue to work with concrete materials to explore academic areas, quickly discovering abstract methods to utilize.


    Dr. Montessori referred to the elementary stage as the Intellectual Period. The child, entering a period of uniform growth, focuses on mental explorations. Given an open and rich environment, there are no limits to what the child may learn and explore. Dr. Montessori saw this time as a critical time for expansive education, giving the children lessons and questions to guide their explorations of culture, science, mathematics, language and social rules and morals.

  • Language

    Language is the foundation upon which we build all other elementary studies. We present the child with the practical tools for encoding and decoding words, sentences, and paragraphs, yet It Is never seen as an isolated exercise,


    • Phonics
    • Word study
    • Grammar
    • Language mechanics
    • Handwriting and fine motor skills
    • Writing
    • Research skills
    • Reading and literature for understanding
    • Elements of literature
    • Major genres
    • Prose, poetry, plays
    • Folktales, legends, myths
    • Newspapers and current events
    • Sayings, phrases, idioms
    • Oral reading
    • Oral language
  • Math

    Students use materials to work toward the abstraction of math concepts, naturally formulating rules and formulas themselves. Traditionally, the study of mathematics starts with the rules and the drills follow. According to the Montessori method, the rules are points of arrival, not departure. Through the student's own effort, Internalization of abstract concepts is achieved.


    As students transition from Lower to Upper Elementary, they will experience a sense of familiarity with most of the manipulatives, and be introduced to new ones. Once they internalize a specific math concept, they can then move on to abstract problem solving. In addition to the manipulatives, we use Montessori Made Manageable, which is a sequential set of worksheets that cover the elementary program math curriculum. They are used for both classwork and homework in a supplementary nature, along with various textbooks and workbooks that compliment specific concepts and skills. Traditionally, the study of geometry is undertaken in later years as an abstract series of rules, theorems, and propositions. Maria Montessori saw geometry as firmly rooted in reality, and built a curriculum for Lower Elementary students that uses concrete, sensorial experimentation, leading students to concepts through their own creative research. Although sophisticated in content, geometry at the upper elementary level continues to be well grounded in concrete experiences with manipulative materials. In this way, etymology is discovered, relationships and concepts are explored and researched, and the child's conclusions serve as a basis for theorems, proofs, and formulas.


    Number sense

    Number sequencing

    Place value


    Math Operations












    Telling Time

    Hours, minutes

    Passage of time





    Adding same denominators

    Adding different



    Identify coins

    Coin value

    Adding money


    Math facts




    Word Problems


    Problem Solving


    Geometric solids








  • Science

    The Lower Elementary science curriculum is deeply integrated with the cultural studies curriculum and the presentation of the five Great Lessons which center around themes of progress and interdependency. The stories present not only the changes the earth has undergone since its beginning, but also the ways in which each new animal or plant affects all others. Maria Montessori wrote, "Let us give [the elementary children] a vision of the whole universe...all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity."


    Life Science

    Biology (kingdoms of life, systems of the human body)

    Botany (classification of plants, form and function of plants, parts of plants, interdependencies of animals and plants)

    Zoology (classification of animals, form and function of animals, parts of the animal, interdependencies of animals and plants)


    Physical Science

    The process of scientific inquiry

    Composition of the earth

    Three states of matter

    Laws of attraction and gravity

    Balance and motion


    Earth Science


    Sun and earth

    Air and weather

    Land and water forms

    Map skills (puzzle maps, pin maps)


    Scientific Reasoning and Technology


    Observation skills

  • World Language

    All Lower Elementary students take Spanish. The Spanish program is designed to enable students to speak and write their basic thoughts and questions in a second language. The curriculum utilizes a combination of speaking, writing, and activities that are often based on music, art or Total Physical Response. Students learn to express themselves in a second language environment that promotes confidence and creativity.


    Lower Elementary Spanish curriculum covers:

    Use of existing classroom materials

    Routine activities are carried out in Spanish

    Greetings, numbers 1-100, day/month, food

    Cultural topics


  • Cultural Studies

    Cultural studies In the Lower Elementary classroom flows from themes developed in what Maria Montessori called the Great Lessons. These lessons, presented with highly impressionistic stories and materials, offer the child a panoramic view of the universe and a sense of humanity across time. The great questions that arise from this view then serve as a blueprint for further study in all cultural areas.


    The Great Lessons include:

    Story of the universe

    Coming of life

    Coming of humans

    Story of communication

    Story of numbers


    The use of hands-on materials, coupled with developing reading, writing, and research skills allow the elementary student to ask and attempt to answer questions no less profound than "How did the world begin?" "Where did we come from?”  and "Why...?" The hands-on experience at this age prepares the child for future abstract thinking in upper elementary, where he gets to understand that which is not directly contacted by the senses.

  • History

    MMA presents a school-wide, three-year rotation of content so special events such as cultural festivals, assemblies, field trips, and reading lists can be thematically planned for the whole school. Each year, a central question is posed and each level has its own sub-questions that focus the lessons and studies. Each level delves into the year's subject according to its appropriate developmental capabilities.


    Year One: Ancient Civilizations

    The school-wide question is:

    "How and why were ancient civilizations created?"


    The Lower Elementary focus is:

    "What is an ancient civilization?"

    "What stories do artifacts tell?"

    "What inventions helped ancient civilizations develop?"


    Year Two: American Civilization

    The school-wide central question is:


    "How and why has American civilization changed?


    The Lower Elementary focus is:

    "What is immigration?"

    "Who are the Immigrants in America?"

    "Why do people Immigrate?"

    "What events and people caused change In America?"

    "What is a hero?"


    Year Three: World Civilizations

    The school-wide central question is:


    "How and why do world civilizations connect?"


    The Lower Elementary focus is:

    "What causes people around the world to live differently and the same?"

    "What traditional ceremonies are practiced throughout the world?"



    Physical geography

    Political geography

    Economic geography


  • Practical Life

    Physical skills

    Coordination of fine motor and gross movements

    Balance and exactness of movement

    Sensory awareness


    Respect and care of environment

    Indoor environment

    Caring for plants and animals

    Caring for the classroom and coat areas

    Food preparation



    Outdoor  environment




    Grace, courtesy, and etiquette

    Extending kindness and empathy to others

    Sharing and taking turns



    Care of self

    Health and safety

    Nutrition and food preparation

    Time management skills

    Organizational skills

    Problem solving


    Students practice these life skills by coming to lessons prepared and keeping track of both class and homework assignments.


    Community service

    We believe that service beyond the classroom promotes respect and awareness beyond our global community. All elementary students participate in school-wide project

  • Music

    The music curriculum combines individual and group work with work designed to appeal to a variety of learning styles. This directly relates to our philosophy of enhancing the Montessori philosophy with other innovative methods. The music curriculum also offers significant opportunities to build community through our numerous performances, field trips, and assemblies.


    Elements of music







    Introduction of two-part rounds, harmony memorization of longer form songs


    Recognition of notes on the staff and reading and writing note values

  • Movement Arts

    The ultimate goal of the CMMA Movement Arts program is to assist all children along the path to lifetime physical fitness, which aligns with our holistic mission. The benefits of this journey are many: health, longevity, positive body Image, Improved overall self­ esteem, and increased energy and concentration in all areas. All students from toddler to middle school participate regularly In Movement Arts classes and activities. Movement Arts at CMMA embraces the philosophy of the school as a whole. The program, at each level, Is responsive to the needs and Interests of the children, and the ultimate goal is the joyful discovery of movement and Its benefits, both physical and psychological.


    CMMA Movement Arts seeks to benefit ALL children, not just those with particular interest or talent in this area. Volumes have been written about the connection between body Image and overall self-esteem, as well as the dangers of introducing children to competitive sports at an early age. Care is taken to keep the emphasis on fitness and fun, as opposed to Individual superiority of skills.


    Lower Elementary


    Combined locomotor and axial movement skills

    Increased ability in manipulative skills

    Creative self-expression through dance and movement

    Exploration of space, time, force and body mechanics

    Awareness and control of movement

  • Athletics

    All CMMA sports curriculum units include stretching, running, basic movements, and games, Students participate in skill building games focusing on developing team building, learning individual strengths and areas for development, self-discipline, coordination, balance, endurance, sportsmanship, overall fitness and skill building for specific sports.


    Students are introduced to a variety of games and exercise, throwing and catching, relay races, obstacle courses, and drills. They also learn the fundamentals of soccer and basketball, building to the ability to scrimmage and play short games.

"The secret of good teaching is to regard the child's intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming Imagination."


-Maria Montessori



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