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Through practical life activities, children acquire many daily living skills that lay a foundation for the rest of the Montessori curriculum. Children develop fine and gross motor skills by performing such activities as folding napkins, polishing metals, washing tables, peeling and slicing vegetables and sewing. These activities help enhance coordination, executive function, motor planning, and powers of concentration. In addition, students become more self-assured, independent and responsible.



Dr. Montessori believed the spiritual formation of the child was central to their development. As embodiments of the Christian faith, Episcopal schools are communities that honor, celebrate and worship God and Jesus Christ as the center of life. Each week children attend a chapel service with instruction from St. Peter's Chaplain. Children sing songs and learn Bible stories to increase their awareness of God's love. All faiths are honored and respected, and the gospel is presented in an open and loving way. As the Elementary children say at the end of each chapel service: "God loves everyone--NO EXCEPTIONS!"

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Children experience the world through their senses. The presentation of the sensorial materials is vital to understanding the language that is used to describe the physical qualities that we experience in the world we live in. Materials that isolate the various visual, gustatory, olfactory, audio, tactile, thermic, baric and stereognostic qualities are matched, contrasted and compared in order to lay the foundation for future knowledge. These lessons refine their senses, giving them a fuller experience of the world. Many of these materials lay a foundation that they will explore later, mathematically. For example, the three-year-old that builds a tower from the largest cube to the smallest, will in the Elementary, use these cubes to work with equations for volume.



A variety of didactic materials are available to the young child in order to present quantity. The concept of numbers is presented in concrete form and move to the more abstract as the child advances. Many of the materials are especially developed for Montessori classrooms and represent materialized abstractions. Children learn to see and touch what a quantity looks like long before they are taught to perform operations with it. This means that math “just makes sense” to Montessori kids, as it wasn’t presented as these squiggles on a page, devoid of meaning. Place value is taught using the Golden Bead Material and the child is able to form quantities through the thousands. Once the child understands the formation of numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are presented. Operations are not performed in isolated groups (just units); the dynamic nature of numbers is an important experience in the Montessori classroom. Many grown-ups that see our math materials sigh, “I wish I had learned math this way!”



A language-rich environment is what the Montessori classroom aspires to be. Nomenclature is presented in all areas of the curriculum in order to build language skills, using the real scientific terms for things. Every object and material in the class is introduced to the child as part of the lesson and the child's first reading experience starts with sounding out a phonetic word. The moveable alphabet helps the child spell and read words, phrases and sentences. They feel they have taught themselves! Pictures and objects with matching labels, books and other prepared materials heighten the child's interest in the written word. Children are also encouraged to write creatively. Poetry and drama are an integral part of the language experience, as is cursive, which our children start off with immediately. Print is introduced later, once cursive is mastered.



History and Geography are introduced through stories, timelines and current events. The seven continents are studied through puzzle maps, the land and water forms and other prepared materials that include artifacts and folders of pictures and articles about cultures of the world. Music enhances our cultural experience as we introduce folk songs and dances and celebrate festivals of the world.



We explore the physical world through observation, research and experimentation. Zoology introduces the child to the animal kingdom, life cycles and children learn to identify and classify vertebrates and invertebrates. Botany introduces children to the plant kingdom and they study plant cycles, germination and nomenclature relating to trees, leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds.



Music is experienced through movement, games and instrument playing, as well as studying different composers each month. The children have performances each semester where they show off the songs they have been learning in class. A new artist is featured each month, moving through a broad representation of the Old Masters, with an eye to exposing the children to a variety of media and types of artists. Art is also an important means of creative expression for the children in the classroom. We paint at the easel, and have a variety of media available on the shelf for the child to choose from. The older children will be able to work with a wider variety of materials and they will study the history of art and the artists and their works in more depth as well.