Why “Across the Ages?”
by Biff Maier, Director of Faculty and Curriculum Development
Every fall we invite our families to an evening when the elders at each level of LMS show representative portions of our curriculum. Why do we do this? Wouldn’t it be more interesting for parents to see a comprehensive review of the curriculum at their child’s level*?
You’d think so. The materials at every level and for every topic are so intriguing that parents certainly would be engaged, and many of them would learn things in a new way. But we offer this event for a different reason. We want to show families of children of all ages that our curriculum is a carefully sequenced, interconnected program. That is the way brains are wired, and that is the way our curriculum is designed. Our teachers are deeply aware of the work going on in the classrooms of students younger and older than their own.
Please join us for this year's Montessori Across the Ages on Wednesday, November 6th @ 5pm
This year you will see:
Calculation begins with counting, and counting begins with the ability to map objects 1:1. Our young students begin adding, subtracting and multiplying with Golden Beads that employ the senses to teach place value and exchanging. Size and weight codes give way to color as lower elementary students calculate by manipulating objects with the Stamp Game, Beadboards, and Test Tube Division. It is a short jump for upper elementary students to extend these materials down into decimal fractions and into operations in bases other than our “golden” base ten. Middle schoolers manipulate cards and objects to discover the patterns of calculations involving positive and negative integers.
Cosmic Education: Systems Thinking
Systems thinking abounds in Montessori classrooms. Our youngest children build the concept as they begin to give up their egocentricity and connect with each other. Children’s House students experience life cycles – of butterflies, pumpkins and radishes. Lower elementary students explore networks of interdependency in food webs and in our economy. Upper elementary students act out the water cycle, following the path of a drop of water. In the middle school, students study the impact of government non-intervention and extra-intervention in economics.
When do we start researching to answer our curiosities? At LMS, toddlers explore their tastes and learn vocabulary every day when they do food tasting. Children’s House teachers encourage and provoke questions, and they keep asking, “How do you know that?” Lower elementary students learn to use structured inquiry when they use prepared question cards for animal research. Upper elementary students use notecards to collect information on subjects of interest, organize the notes into topic webs and outlines, and use it all to create papers and presentations. In middle school science class, students perform lab experiments, recording and analyzing data and writing up reports of their conclusions.
*Come to "Now I get it!" - an afternoon of Montessori lessons at each program level on Saturday, December 7th from 3 - 5pm