Our elementary program builds on the foundation the child received in a Montessori primary program and expands greatly. We call the curriculum for the elementary child Cosmic Education—it includes the entire universe! Lessons are given to spark the imagination and inspire wonder and interest in each student. Children begin elementary with concrete materials to introduce new concepts. As children move into a deeper learning and understanding, these concepts are become more abstract with the oversight of the elementary guide.
One of the great challenges for an elementary child is learning to balance freedom and responsibility. Learning this balance is a big part of the child’s experience in our elementary classroom. One way we do this is through Going Outs. Going outs are small, child-led excursions. Maria Montessori said that the elementary classroom is a dual-environment: it not only includes learning in the classroom but also authentic learning experiences in the world outside of school. Some going outs include shopping for food to make a class snack, buying supplies for a classroom project, and going out for research in the community. Children are expected to make a list of what they would like to get from the going out, contact chaperones, and plan the event. Another way we help to develop this balance of freedom and responsibility is a child-planned, end of the year camping trip. The children are responsible for choosing where they will go, planning transportation, and helping to fundraise.
We strive for our elementary program to support not only academic development, but social and emotional development as well. Our goal is to develop culturally literate children who have a sense of respect and duty toward themselves and society, and to nurture their innate curiosity, creativity and intelligence.
We give priority placement in the elementary classroom to children with three years experience in a Montessori primary curriculum or who are transferring from another Montessori elementary program. In cases where children do not have this background, the Head of School and elementary guide will confer with parents to make an individualized decision regarding eligibility and enrollment.
"I could write an essay on how my daughter joined PMS in the last year and graduated from her primary class reading chapter books and doing long addition and subtraction with multiple numbers. She’s well beyond her kindergarten peers, and my younger son's pride in his work and love of learning has grown beyond expectation."
"If it's true what Maria Montessori said, that the test of the correctness of an educational approach is the happiness of the child, then this school is succeeding beyond our wildest dreams. Both our boys are so happy to go to school and so proud of their work."
"Our son's vocabulary, spelling, reading and social skills have grown by leaps and bounds under the Montessori method."
"Having entered our third full year at what is now The Portland Montessori School, we have been moved by not only Mr. Curt, whom Beck looks up to a great deal and thinks is the smartest person in the world, but also by the entire staff’s commitment to each child’s development."
"Yesterday my second grader added 61 plus 61 in her head and she's zipping through the Harry Potter series. So while the school doesn’t measure her progress with test scores, I can see how much she has learned, but more importantly, I can see and feel her excitement about learning."