The aspects of the Montessori Method that we love for elementary students are the math curriculum, the language curriculum, and the culture of work.
The hands-on Montessori math materials help students to truly grasp the concept that they’re working on. Not only will elementary students be able to compute multiplication and division problems; they’ll also have an intuitive grasp of what multiplication and division are. In addition to having a deeper understanding of the concepts, the Montessori math curriculum is also broad. For instance, in geometry, students learn about angles, area, volume, circles, polygons, solids, and volume. Lastly, since the math curriculum is contained within the materials themselves, students can work at their own pace, advancing as quickly or slowly as they need.
The language curriculum is also individualized. It is contained in the Montessori language materials which are kept on the shelf in the classroom. Montessori elementary students continue to work on their literacy skills, becoming fluent in reading and writing. They continue to work on their penmanship. And also, they begin to learn about grammar. The Montessori grammar symbols are a wonderful introduction to the parts of speech. Through the grammar curriculum, children will learn that each word has a role in a sentence--which will help them with reading comprehension and with expressing their thoughts in writing.
Lastly, we believe in Maria Montessori’s idea of the aim of education as self-construction. We believe that children are driven by a process of self-formation. And that our role, as educators, is to foster and nurture that growth. This means that children are the ones who are primarily responsible for their learning and development, and teachers are responsible for guiding and fostering and nurturing that process. One example of this can be seen in the Culture of Work that teachers help to establish in the elementary classroom. We help children to see that they are responsible for their own learning, and that they can choose the work that is most interesting to them, and really work hard at mastering the activity. There is no way for adults to do “learning” for a child; only the child can do that. Therefore, we adults must foster a culture of work so that children feel prepared and comfortable in taking on this responsibility for themselves.
In addition to the Montessori math and language curriculum, we also offer three other subjects: history, math, and literature.
In history, we teach the story of humanity from the first people to today. Students will learn history in chronological order, as opposed to the typical approach in public schools which is to teach historical figures and events if and when there is a holiday for it on the calendar. The following is the list of the stories that our students hear about throughout the year: Cavemen, Early Farmers, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Dark Ages, Kingdoms, Explorers, Pilgrims, America, Vehicles, Medicine, Modern Farmers, Electricity, Phones, Computers, Internet. Each story is told in very simple terms so that the students can follow along and understand it for themselves. We also encourage the students to constantly make connections between stories. For example, students can contract the pilgrims who were running away from their King with the explorers who were venturing out for their Kings. Making connections helps students to develop a deeper understanding of the content, and it also helps them to remember it.
In science, we currently use a curriculum called Mystery Science, which is a comprehensive, online, interactive science curriculum for elementary students. Students are drawn to the mystery science lesson for two main reasons. First, the lessons are presented in the form of stimulating video content, with pauses for independent thinking and hands-on activities at the end of each lesson. And second, the narrator of the lessons does a phenomenal job at connecting the content to students in simple terms so that they can understand it themselves. Topics include: Weather Watching, Animal Adventures, Spinning Sky, Power of Flowers, Invisible Forces, Human Machine, Energize Everything, Spaceship Earth, and more.
In literature, students will listen to 6 famous children’s novels each year. They will slowly carve out the concepts of ‘character’ and ‘plot’--to see that characters have certain traits, and those traits drive the plot. Through their study of characters, students will develop an understanding of the human personality; which will help them to better understand themselves and the other people in their lives.
"We were excited to attend a Montessori school because of the child driven educational model. We have three kids, who are all interested in different things and have different learning needs. Atlas Academy is a school that approaches each kid according to their individual learning style and needs. We have loved our experience so far!"
"One of the main reasons we chose Atlas Academy was the fact that they are able to create their own curriculum. Lesson plans are catered towards the students engagement and/or needs, not what has to be taught in a certain time frame. My son loves going to school every day and sharing all the things he has learned."
"When I began searching for schools for my 3 and 6 year old, Atlas Academy stood out for their Montessori based learning curriculum. Their child centered approach was what I have been looking for. The multi-age classrooms appealed to me for the growth opportunity not only for the older children helping the younger ones, but the younger children learning from the older. Mr. G has been a pleasure to work with, guiding me through the process of enrollment and quickly responding to any questions/concerns I have had throughout the school year. Both of my children are flourishing and Atlas Academy, and genuinely excited to go to school everyday."
Our daughter's journey with education had a bumpy start, she was the quiet, smart kid that continued to be overlooked and unchallenged in her academics. As parents, we recognized her talent and drive for education, so we began searching for a school that would provide her with an environment that challenged her and brought her reward in the classroom. Atlas Academy has completely changed the education experience for our daughter. Over the last few months, we have seen her become excited about the things she is learning, and she has begun to express interest in new things. Beyond education, she has found her voice and her independence, she has started to develop her personality and express her own interests in the world around her. Atlas Academy has given our daughter a platform to excel in school, achieve recognition, and participate meaningfully to the classroom each day. Atlas Academy has provided her with the path to success we have been looking for.