"The objects surrounding the children should look solid and attractive to them, and the children's house should be lovely and pleasant in all its particulars....It is almost possible to say that there is a mathematical relationship between the beauty of their surroundings and the activity of the children; they will make discoveries rather more voluntarily in a gracious setting than in an ugly one."


-Maria Montessori

  • Upper Elementary Curriculum Overview

    The Upper Elementary curriculum is a dynamic continuation of the work and studies from the previous levels. This next level of education guides the students as they move away from more concrete, fact-based learning, into an age of abstraction and reason. Fueled by exceptional strong imaginations and a desire to understand how things work, the Upper Elementary Students are well prepare for a curriculum that challenges them with advanced ideas in literature, history, science, mathematics, and language.

    As the students continue through what Dr. Montessori called the Intellectual Period, they develop intellectually, socially and morally, as active participants in their classroom communities and their own learning. Hands-on learning, coupled with more abstract work, discussions, and experiential education, create a balance of learning experiences for the active minds and bodies of the Upper Elementary student. Group work is highlighted throughout the curriculum, to create a productive and positive outlet for their very social students. Ongoing independent work is also vital, and allows students to challenge themselves, hone organizational skills and build a solid foundation of academic skills.

  • 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. With a more sophisticated level of language comes greater refinement In Its use. While students continue to benefit from concrete experience with concepts in grammar and mechanics, they explore the study of language as an on-going creative process of research, ideas, and imagination.



    Word study


    Language mechanics

    Handwriting and fine motor skills


    Research skills

    Reading and literature for understanding

    Elements of literature

    Major genres

    Prose, poetry, plays

    Folk tales, legends, myths

    Newspapers and current events

    Sayings, phrases, idioms

    Oral reading

    Oral language

  • Math

    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.

    The use of mathematics arose thousands of years ago as a tool to meet a fundamental need for order and as a practical aid in daily life situations. Only later were rules applied. 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.


    Reading and writing numbers

    Ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, millions, billions

    Comparing numbers

    Greater than, less than

    Introduction to estimation


    Ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, millions, billion


    Static addition

    Stamp game

    Bead frame

    Without materials


    Word problems


    Dynamic addition

    Stamp game

    Bead frame

    Without materials


    Word problems



    Static multiplication

    Stamp game

    Bead frame


    Without materials


    Word problems


    Dynamic multiplication

    Stamp game

    Bead frame


    Without materials


    Word problems


    Geometric multiplication

    Powers of numbers

    Ten to the power 1-6

    Powers of two cube

    Explore powers

    Exponential notation


    One set of multiples 1-6

    More than one set of multiples

    Least common multiple


    Static Division

    Without material


    Word problems


    By two

    By four and five

    By 25

    By nine

    Dynamic division

    Test tubes

    Without material


    Word problems


    Problem solving/word problems

    One step

    Two step

    Multiple step



    Greatest common factors

    Factor trees

    Prime factors




    Changing improper fractions to mixed numbers and vice versa

    Adding like denominators

    Subtracting like denominators

    Adding and subtracting mixed numbers with like denominators

    Adding with different denominators

    Subtracting with different denominators

    Multiplying fractions

    Multiplying mixed numbers

    Dividing fractions

    Dividing mixed numbers




    Reading writing decimals tenths-billionths


    Decimal board and cards

    Without materials



    With decimal board

    Without materials

    Word problems



    With decimal board

    Without materials

    Word problems



    Geometric multiplication

    Without materials

    Without materials

    Word problems


    Without materials

    Word problems

    Changing decimals to fractions and fractions to decimals


    Fraction to decimal

    Decimal to percent

    Percent to fraction

    Word problems



    Number line

    Negative snake addition

    Negative snake subtraction

    Comparing Integers

    Rules for functions

    Word problems



    Concept, language, and notation

    Ratios as an indicated division

    Problem solving with ratios



    Concept, language, and notation

    Cross multiplication

    Problem solving using proportion


    Introduction to algebra

    Concept of equation, balancing equations

    Isolating the unknowns

    Order of operations

    Word problems

  • Science

    The Upper Elementary Science curriculum is based on the Full Optic Science System. FOSS is a hands-on approach to science that is compatible with the Montessori philosophy and motivates and stimulates curiosity. Students learn to think scientifically by investigating, experimenting, gathering data, organizing results, and drawing conclusions based on their actions and observations. Follow-up questions to weekly experiments motivate students to think about new ideas and help them realize connections to other areas of study. Recall questions get them to remember Information. Integrating questions get them to process information. Open-ended questions get them to infer, create, solve problems. Thematic questions help them realize connections between scientific Ideas and processes. Check out the Upper Elementary Science web site to see dally lessons.


    In addition to these FOSS modules, students study both environmental and ecological science in preparation for a four-day overnight trip to Nature's Classroom.



    Life Science


    Food and nutrition

    Human body

    Nature's Classroom experiential field trip


    Physical Science

    Physics of sound

    Magnetism and electricity

    Levers and pulleys

    Mixtures and solutions


    Earth Science

    Solar energy

    Land forms

    Nature's Classroom experiential field trip


    Scientific Reasoning and Technology



    Models and design

  • World Language

    All Upper 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.


    Upper Elementary Focus:


    Verb tenses

    Basic writing skills

    Games and interactive activities

  • Cultural Studies

    CMMA 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.

  • History

    Year One: Ancient Civilizations

    The school-wide question is:


    "How and why were ancient civilizations created?”


    The Upper Elementary focus is:


    "Why does oral tradition exist?"

    "Why did some civilizations thrive and some fail?"

    "How did religion shape civilization?"

    "How did social structures shape civilization?"

    "What makes an ancient civilization ancient?"

    "What can we infer from the artifacts we find?"

    "What Inventions were created to improve the life styles of early cultures?"


    Year Two: American Civilization

    The school-wide central question is:


    "How and why has American civilization changed? The Upper Elementary focus is:

    "What does it mean to be an American?"

    "How has Immigration Influenced and changed American civilization?"

    "What events have changed America?"

    "How have the ideas of peace and freedom shaped democracy?"

    "How has war shaped and changed democracy?"

    "Do heroes and heroines Impact our lives?"


    Year Three: World Civilizations

    The school-wide central question is:


    "How and why do world civilizations connect?"

    The Upper Elementary focus is:


    "How are cultures around the world similar and different?"

    "What cultural challenges might one face as a guest or host?"

    "How do people from different cultures tell stories?"

    "How are various countries governed?"

    "Can world civilizations coexist in peace?"



    Physical geography

    Political geography

    Economic geography

  • Practical Life

    Community Service

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


    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

    Time management


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

  • 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.


    Upper Elementary focus:


    Memorization of longer form songs and multi-part harmony

    Creating own compositions for voice, instruments, and groups

    More advanced drama exercises and art and music integration

  • 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.



    Upper Elementary Focus


    Advanced locomotor and axial movement skills

    Yoga fundamentals

    Creative self-expression through dance and movement and composition

    Group dynamics in team activities

    Basic movement analysis

  • 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, basketball, and flag football building to the ability to scrimmage and play games.



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