AGES 6–9, GRADES 1–3
Lower Elementary classroom continues to support the physical, social ‐ emotional, and intellectual growth of the child established in the Early Childhood Programs. At Kingsley, there is an increased emphasis on intellectual development as the students prepare to enter the rigorous Upper Elementary program.
The Lower Elementary classroom environment is prepared
with carefully selected didactic materials
that are available to the students for learning. The daily schedule includes whole group lessons and a work cycle during which teachers give small group lessons, and students select work from each of the curricular areas. The classroom teachers carefully monitor the students’ work selection in order to ensure that students are consistently growing their skill sets in all areas of the curriculum. Co-Curricular classes, including Visual and Performing Arts, Spanish, Physical Education, Library, and Technology often take place both during and outside of the work cycle.
The Lower Elementary classroom operates on a three‐year cycle. Students from First through Third grade work together in the classroom, each following an individualized educational program determined by collaborative work between parents, teachers, and students
. Concepts are presented according to a spiraling curriculum, meaning that they are revisited during each year of Lower Elementary in greater depth. In addition, concepts are presented from the big picture to the details, meaning that teachers seek to teach all lessons in context. Finally, the Elementary program represents what Dr. Montessori referred to as materialized abstraction, meaning that all concepts are presented with the most concrete materials first, and then with increasingly abstract materials as students mature intellectually.
In addition to following the traditional principles of Montessori, Kingsley distinguishes itself in several ways. At Kingsley, the arts and sciences are decoupled from the traditional Montessori curriculum, and yet remain integrated with the classroom. For example, the Visual Arts teacher has worked closely with one classroom to plan a unit on the History of Writing. The classroom teachers present historical aspects of the unit while the Visual Arts teacher works to bring the unit alive by having the students create pictographic alphabets on clay tablets. Another way that Kingsley distinguishes itself at the Lower Elementary level is through the design and implementation of a special curriculum for Third Grade students. As they prepare to move to Upper Elementary, teachers provide the Third Grade students with learning opportunities to act as role models and leaders for their younger classmates. In science, the Third Grade students attend a special science class to learn the material. They then present it to their younger classmates in the science lab, under the supervision of the science teacher.