Lower Elementary: Grades 1 – 3
In the Elementary program at VMS, the students learn and develop skills that they will use throughout their academic and professional life. In addition to the academics of elementary, the students learn to work with others, collaborate to find solutions, and work within their classroom community to establish an environment that is respectful and peaceful for all its members.
The Montessori curriculum is designed so that each child is allowed to progress at a rate that encourages mastery of a subject, while allowing further exploration of a child’s special interests. Each day, the students create their schedule of the day which includes daily activities such as math, spelling, language arts and cultural activities. In addition, they may need to include activities based on lessons they have received, or materials they need to complete. The flexibility in a school day allows the students to complete their schedule in any order. At any time you may see students working individually at a table or rug, working with other students on a project, attending a lesson given by a teacher, or helping another student in the classroom with an activity. The students are free to move about the class to ask questions, get materials and supplies, or just check in with a friend.
Language Arts includes reading, phonics, literature, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, word study and writing. The Language Arts curriculum is also integrated throughout all the other areas of the curriculum. The Montessori math curriculum, along with the unique Montessori materials provide a solid foundation of math concepts and operations. Through the use of the Montessori math materials the students understand how numbers are manipulated through the various operations of math, and then apply this understanding as they progress to working without materials, mastering concepts abstractly.
The Cultural curriculum, which encompasses Biology, Botany, Zoology, Geography, History, Earth Science, Life and Physical Science, and Ecology, is a rich part of every Montessori classroom. It begins in Lower Elementary where the students are introduced to the “5 Great Lessons”, The Creation of the Universe, The Time-line of Life, The Time-line of Humans, The History of Language and The History of Math. Through these lessons, the students begin to understand how the world is connected and came to be over millions of years. Discussions, individual interests and research are all fostered through the Cultural curriculum and its many lessons throughout the Elementary years.
Each week the students also enjoy Spanish, Physical Education, Art and Music. These are wonderful enrichment classes that introduce the students to new experiences or activities that can foster new interests in each individual child.