Sammamish Montessori School’s rigorous elementary program is designed to maintain continuity with the Montessori preschool and kindergarten programs while meeting or exceeding state grade level curriculum standards. Students are stretched to achieve their potential, not limited to a grade level, and never pressured to compete against other students. Every child in this class works at his/her own rate and the curriculum is designed to accommodate all abilities within this age-range. All children will be academically challenged and encouraged to work at their level and above.
We provide a continuing strong academic curriculum where children’s work is closely monitored with a low ratio of students to teachers. A fundamental tenet of the elementary program is that children will learn to manage their own time and think for themselves both logically and creatively under the guidance of credentialed Montessori elementary teachers, supported by specialist Music, Computer, and Spanish teachers.
The elementary period is one in which the child has an insatiable appetite for knowledge and, thus, the goal of our teachers is to create an environment that encourages the pursuit of excellence in all facets of the child’s work; to stimulate a sense of curiosity and to encourage the development of independence and individual responsibility.
Students are encouraged to explore topics they find interesting and apply those interests to assigned work, so developing the necessary self-discipline and responsibility required to reach conclusions and satisfy their curiosity all the while drawing upon and honing their academic skills. They discover for themselves the organization, laws, and order that exist within our universe.
Lessons begin with a distillation of the “big picture’ of the interdependency of all life on earth. Elementary students start out discovering our place within the universe and branch out to vast and continuing lessons in science, history and human culture. Students are encouraged to do their own research and analyze what they discover. Subject matter is not separated into curriculum areas; everything is interrelated. Literature, art, music, dance, drama, history, social issues, political science, economics, architecture, science and the study of technology all complement one another.
The elementary language arts program places great stress on the development of strong skills in composition and creative writing. In the elementary grades, students move beyond the foundation laid in their primary years and delve further into interpretive reading, oral fluency, comprehension skills, penmanship, the origin of writing and the study of language: grammar and syntax, creative writing, research skills, story writing, sentence analysis and sign language. While they study the theory of grammar, spelling and sentence analysis, they are also expanding their knowledge of written language. Weekly spelling work, tailored to each spelling group, incorporates grammar and sentence writing, dictionary work, penmanship and vocabulary building, and culminates in a weekly quiz.
During the elementary years the focus is on the development of research and writing skills. By gathering information from books and the Internet they learn to prepare written reports. Children are given the opportunity to read a wide range of classic and contemporary books and materials. They are also encouraged to share their own stories, plays, and poetry with others.
Elementary students encounter more abstract and complex problems involving patterns, graphing, fractions, computation, estimation, money, time, word problems, measurement, geometry, and pre-algebra. Students learn from hands-on experience by applying math in a wide range of projects, activities, and challenges.
While the focus of the math curriculum is on accuracy and ensuring a full understanding of mathematical concepts, students are also challenged to develop speed in arithmetic computation. Students work on ‘math facts’ (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) in a number of different activities that are designed to help internalize mathematical relationships and also take a weekly timed math quiz where speed and accuracy are the goals.
The goal is to develop a global perspective, and the study of history and world culture forms the cornerstone of the curriculum. Elementary students build upon the concrete knowledge they have already acquired and study physical, political and social geography in depth. Physical geography starts with the study of the formation of the earth, the emergence of the oceans and atmosphere and the evolution of life. Elementary students study the customs, housing, diet, and dress of cultures around the world often using the resources of our international student community.
History comes alive through hands-on experiences. Students might recreate artifacts from the past using clay, wood, leather, etc., churn butter, work with a map and compass, learn folk songs and dances, learn to prepare and sample dishes from all over the world and read folk tales. Students begin to follow current events and become aware of the workings of local, state and federal governments. During election years they follow the candidates and discuss the issues of the day. The students are given the opportunity to explore, understand and lay the foundation to become full and active members of the adult world.
Given the integration of curriculum areas, science is threaded through much of the work students do in the Montessori elementary program. In addition one day each week is dedicated specifically to the study of science providing students the opportunity to participate in hands-on science labs led by our specialist Science Teacher, our Montessori Teachers or sometimes guest scientists or engineers.
Following the scientific method, students learn to formulate a question, conduct background research, make a hypothesis, conduct the experiment, analyze the data and infer a conclusion, then communicate the results, in written and/or oral form.
Students delve into a wide range of experiments and lessons that address basic and complex concepts in biology, physics, chemistry and engineering. For instance, students study electricity, magnetism, chemistry, energy – renewable and non-renewable – as well as energy conservation, human and animal anatomy and physiology, genetics, microbiology, plant anatomy, and physiology.
This is an important part of our international studies program. Spanish is the main second language taught by a native-Spanish speaking teacher every week working on oral and written language.
Singing, rhythm, movement, music appreciation, and music history are taught by a specialized Music teacher who works with elementary students in groups each week. Students also begin to read music as part of lessons learning to play the recorder.
The Montessori bells are part of the elementary classroom. The children first match and then grade two sets of bells according to pitch. Students often progress to compose melodies, which they write down. Learning notation with manipulatives is part of the bells material.
Private piano lessons are also available on-site as an extra-curricular option.
Elementary students work in our computer lab regularly each week under the guidance and supervision of our computer lab teachers. Students work on a variety of math, critical thinking, geography, keyboarding and many other programs. Several computers are also available to students for use in the classroom to research, or type up poetry, reports and make presentations. Elementary students work with a variety of programs ranging from memory games, problem-solving skills, and creative thinking to money math, reading, grammar and spelling, measurement, telling time, geography, patterns, sequencing, history, fractions, multiplication, division, science, graphing, data analysis, decimals, unit conversion, logic, and geometry.
Elementary students participate in a range of activities from group games such as kickball, soccer, and four-square, which allow for discussion and practice of good sportsmanship, to jump rope, hopscotch and other “backyard games” to climbing on our climbing wall, yoga, relay races, and other imaginative games.
Class times: 9AM to 3:15PM (Morning drop off starts 8:45AM; afternoon pick-up ends 3:30PM. Extended care available 7:30AM-8:45AM and 3:30PM to 6:15PM as needed.)
Tours and observations available throughout the school year
Contact Director Janet Villella if you are interested in learning more about our elementary program. We welcome parents who wish to tour the facility and observe our elementary program in action. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425-883-3271.