Children at the elementary level are entering what Dr. Montessori referred to as the second plane of development. The children flourish during this time as individuals and as contributing members of society. BSS's environment is designed to provide a smooth and rich transition from the early childhood world of absorption of concrete information to a new and exciting stage of reason, relationships, socialization and abstraction. Children at the elementary level no longer learn primarily by absorbing information but by direct application of the conscious will. They are eager to understand and are more conscious of the world around them. The 6-12 age child is no longer interested primarily in facts (what and when) but in questions (why and how). In addition, this age child is an incredible social being. He is concerned with constructing a self-image and wants and looks for feedback from his peers. Our program encourages a sense of community and allows for group work through conversation and exchanging of ideas. We foster concern for others by encouraging sharing, compassion, generosity and helpfulness.
Montessori curriculum at the elementary level is based on students entering a new plane of development: a tremendous imagination, an aptitude for the abstract, a strong sense of morality and justice, and strong need for peer relationships. Individually paced academic progress allows students to explore their interests along with acquiring the mastery of basic skills and knowledge, including: math facts, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, sentence analysis, creative and expository writing, and library research. In addition, The Montessori elementary learning environment reflects activities that provide deeper educational experiences in the areas of mathematics (including geometry and algebra), science and technology, great literature, history, functional and political world geography, civics, economics, anthropology, and areas of art, music, foreign language, physical education and computer technology. Students have opportunities to plan, monitor and assess their own work, thereby further developing their independence and responsibility for their own actions.
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Children at this level (grades 1-3) broaden their horizons through an expanding curriculum. Abundant materials foster optimum development of reading, spelling and writing skills. Math operations emphasize the understanding of process as well as accuracy in computations. Acquired basic skills are then applied in interdisciplinary themes. In science, students research, classify, observe and do experiments. Work in cultural subjects such as history, geography, biology and art includes the study of the needs of people around the world and throughout history. Students learn with a personalized work plan based on their academic assessment. Individual, small and large group lessons are experienced each day. Minimal homework reinforces basic math and language concepts children are working toward mastering in class. Since recent studies indicate that grades are invalid, unreliable, and subjective, children at Bozeman Summit School do not receive grades. Rather, they advance through a system known as mastery learning. This means that students must demonstrate a mastery of concept to be learned before they proceed to the next progressive lesson.
Children in the Upper Elementary level (grades 4-6) cross the bridge from learning by hands-on experiences to having a more abstract understanding of concepts. Concrete materials continue to make an initial impression but students are able to advance to abstraction much sooner than the Lower Elementary students. New thinking brings a growing sense of membership in society. Work on group projects, use of community resources (such as the outdoors and museums) and an expansion in field study become important new elements in the curriculum. Children go to national parks, the Montana Capitol, on fossil digs, attend ecology camps, the zoo and tour American historical sites. Homework teaches practical life skills in monitoring work, meeting deadlines responsibly and using resources efficiently. Upper Elementary students participate in service learning by aiding younger children with their reading, sharing lessons with younger classes and community service projects such as partnering with the local food bank, Pennies for Peace, Pin On Hope for Haiti and more. Read more about service learning.