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LOWER ELEMENTARY

The lower elementary age group includes children 6-9 years old  (kindergarten through third grade). The lower elementary classrooms include a whole scope of materials the children will progress through in each area of study over the year as they progress at thier own unique pace in each academic area. The teachers prepare individualized work plans for each child every week, and work one-on-one with the children, or in small groups to present lessons according to their development and readiness. Various themes are also explored and studied as a whole group and integrated into many areas of the classroom. Children have time throughout the day to work independently, as well as with others, and with the teacher. Time is split between the indoor classroom and the outdoor classroom, where children track the weather and write in their nature journals, along with enjoying ample time for unstructured, open-eneded play. 

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At the very heart of our school is the commitment to seeing each child as whole, and nourishing each of the parts that make up that whole: mind, body, and soul. The holistic approach we use emphasizes the absolute need of all parts to be nurtured. To this end, we spend a large portion of the day outside allowing children to move freely and exercise their bodies in natural ways that build strength. Time spent in our outdoor classroom also engages the children’s imagination and creativity as they connect to nature and to each other. There is a gentle rhythm to the day with few transitions, that allows for the children to develop deep and meaningful relationships with each other and their teachers. This way of moving through the day lends itself well to taking pause whenever needed to attend to the social and emotional needs of each child. This is done with a strong focus on understanding and practicing peace-making and conflict resolution. These are some of the ways we strive to bring nourishment to the soul of each child, along with always underscoring their worth and purpose. The academic mind is nourished and fed using many of the beautifully and intentionally designed Montessori materials. We also blend in other educational practices and resources that we find beneficial and complementary to the Montessori materials. 

  • Reading Simplified resources are used for teaching phonics and reading, along with the Waseca reading program and sentence building materials. 

  • Language Works program is used to learn and practice spelling patterns and rules.

  • Building Writers by Learning without Tears is used to reinforce and practice writing skills, along with Montessori materials used to teach grammar, mechanics of writing, and word study.

  • Singapore Math workbooks are used to practice mathematical concepts in a more abstract way, after experiencing them in a concrete way with the traditional Montessori materials. 

  • Science themes are taught in a very project-based and topical way, often incorporating what children are experiencing in our outdoor classroom. 

  • Geography is taught using the beautiful and extensive Waseca biomes materials and maps. 

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