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Lower Elementary | Grades 1–3

Lower Elementary Curriculum

Montessori Curriculum for Grades 1–3

List of 13 items.

  • 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 this is never seen as an isolated exercise.

    Reading: We use the Fountas & Pinnell program for reading assessment. 
    The Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment Systems are accurate and reliable tools to identify the instructional and independent reading levels of all students and document student progress through one-on-one formative and summative assessments. The F&P Text Level Gradient™ is the most recognized and trusted tool for selecting books for small-group reading instruction. 

    Writing: Lessons are modeled on Lucy Calkinss work at The Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University’s Teachers College. This state-of-the-art writing program is built on the best practices and proven frameworks developed over decades of work in thousands of classrooms across the country and around the world.

    Handwriting: We use the Handwriting Without Tears program, an easy-to-learn curriculum that makes handwriting mastery joyful for students. Research supports the active teaching of handwriting. Recent findings demonstrate that writing by hand improves creative writing skills and fine motor skills, and elementary students have been found to write more and faster by hand than when keyboarding.

    In grades 1–3 our Language curriculum covers the following:
    • Phonics
    • Word study
    • Grammar
    • Language mechanics
    • Handwriting and fine motor skills
    • Writing
    • Research skills
    • Reading and literature for comprehension
    • Elements of literature
    • Major genres
    • Prose, poetry, plays
    • Folktales, legends, myths
    • Newspapers and current events
    • Sayings, phrases, idioms
    • Oral reading
    • Oral language
  • Math

    We use hands-on Montessori math materials to teach beginning math concepts (such as place value, quantity/symbol association, and concrete addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Children learn through trial and error, self-discovery, and small-group lessons led by teachers. The materials quickly move the child to an abstraction of math concepts, including problem-solving, fractions, borrowing and carrying, graphing, measurement and long division.

    In addition to Montessori manipulatives, we use worksheets that cover the elementary math curriculum, along with various textbooks and workbooks that complement specific concepts and skills.

    Geometry is a fascinating area of Montessori. Actual wooden shapes are used to master the terminology of all of the plane figures and solids. Matching cards are used to introduce types and positions of lines, types and positions of angles, and special characteristics of shapes. Experimentation with other materials leads children to their own discoveries of spatial relationships, including congruence, symmetry, and equivalency.

    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
           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)
    • Human body parts and function
    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
    • Ecosystems
    • Sun and earth
    • Air and weather
    • Land and water forms
    • Map skills (puzzle maps, pin maps)
    Scientific Reasoning and Technology
    Observation skills
  • World Language: Spanish

    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
    • Pronunciation
  • Cultural Studies

    At the Lower Elementary level, students study the Great Lessons as well as the school-wide Cultural Studies themes.

    The Great Lessons, developed by Maria Montessori, 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/span>
    • Story of numbers
      Inly presents a school-wide, three-year rotation of Cultural Studies content—covering Ancient, American and World Civilizations. The curriculum revolves around a central school-wide question (see below). Each level (TO, CH, LE, UE, MS) has its own developmentally appropriate sub-questions that focus the academic lessons and studies. Special events such as cultural festivals, assemblies, field trips and reading lists are planned around these themes.
      Year One: Ancient Civilizations
      The school-wide question is:
      "How and why were ancient civilizations created?"
      The Lower Elementary focus is: 
      "What do we learn from creation stories?"
      "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?"
      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?”
      Read More
    • Geography

      • 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
      • Time management
      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 projects.
    • Visual Arts

      The Inly Visual Arts program seeks to foster creativity, problem-solving and self-expression as it relates to each child's level of development from Toddler to Middle School. Art lessons use a variety of auditory, kinesthetic and visual components. Students are encouraged to experience the art process. Each concept is presented utilizing a variety of 2-D and 3-D materials to help them truly absorb and understand the lesson's objectives. Lessons include drawing, painting, sculpture, collage-making and print-making. Lower Elementary students are taught to recognize and understand the following:
      Concepts of line/shape/form
      • how a connection of point becomes a line
      • how a 2-D shape becomes a 3-D shape-as in sculpture
      • how a closed line of points becomes a line-showing movement, edges
      • expressing feelings
      Concepts of color
      • color terms and definitions: hue, value, shade, chroma, primary, secondary and intermediate colors
      • monochromatic/complementary colors
      • color wheel: the colors and sequences
      Concepts of texture
      • surface variations—implied or actual markings
      • sense varying texture by touch and sight
      • describe textures with words
      • create a variety of textures
      Basic patterns of organization
      • repetition/pattern
      • sequence
      • universal basic structures: radial, spiral, dendritic/branching, orbital, gradient, mosaic, modular chain, grid, waves closure, symmetry and rhythm
      Whole-to-part relationships
      • process of reduction of whole to parts
      • process of construction of parts to a whole
      • grouping by similarities and differences
      • spatial awareness—positive and negative space
      Processes of change
      • sequential process
      • abstraction
      • relationships between objects and symbols before and after change occurs
      • transformation
      • cycles of nature and time
    • 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
      • Melody
      • Harmony
      • Tempo
      • Rhythm
      • Dynamics
      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 Inly 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.
      Our Movement Arts program embraces the philosophy of the school as a whole. At each level, the program is responsive to the needs and interests of the children. The ultimate goal is the joyful discovery of movement and its benefits, both physical and psychological.
      Inly 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 Inly 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.
    • Library & Technology

      In the Lower Elementary years, we stress library skills and include a basic instruction to technology as it relates to classroom work.
      Library class begins in the third year. Third-year students will spend an additional 30 minutes in the Library each week for formal instruction with the Librarian. By the end of the third year, a student should have the following library skills:
      Exit Standards for Library Class:
      • Understand the Inly library operation and how it is organized
      • Be able to define fiction, non-fiction, and biography
      • Locate picture books
      • Identify the basic parts of a book: author, title, illustrator
      • Understand why some books are considered "classics"
      • Ability to identify and use chapter headings, table of contents, and index
      • Use the collection of folk tales and fairy tales
      • Understand the organization of the reference shelf
      • Introduction to the Dewey decimal system
      • Be able to use encyclopedias, dictionaries, and atlases
      • Use the library for simple classroom initiated research
      Exit Standards for Technology Class:
      • Use correct terminology for basic components of the computer system
      • Start and quit programs
      • Know how to open, click, and double click
      • Be able to execute simple text entry and editing
      • Print a document
      • Find a book on a subject using the Inly on-line catalog
      • Use the internet with teacher as guide
      • Basic use of software
      • Exposure to the keyboard "home row"

    Curriculum Map: Lower Elementary

    • LE Curriculum Map 2019–20
      Download the Lower Elementary Curriculum Map above for a snapshot of this year's curricular lessons and cycles. 
    • Lower Elementary Overview
      Read more about the educational philosophy behind our Montessori-based elementary program.
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    Inly School

    46 Watch Hill Drive | Scituate, MA 02066
    Tel: 781-545-5544 | Fax: 781-545-6522
    Welcome to Inly, a private, independent Montessori school with innovative programs that inspire toddlers, preschool and K-8 students to become independent, lifelong learners. Our inviting community draws students from 20 towns on the South Shore of Boston,
    including Scituate, Cohasset, Hingham, Norwell, Hanover, Marshfield, Pembroke, Plymouth and Hull.
    Inly School admits students of any race, color, religious affiliation, national and ethnic origin, and without regard to disability, to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at our school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious affiliation, national and ethnic origin, or disability in the administration of our educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school administered programs.