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.
"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."
"The school community at The Portland Montessori School creates a truly inspiring environment that is nurturing and encourages independence and a desire to learn. We see the results of this in our daughter every day."
"I have taught in public schools for the past ten years, including six years in kindergarten, and I can attest that Montessori is different, special, and provides an optimum setting for children's growth and development."
"At The Portland Montessori School, our kids learn to use buttons, tie their shoes, juice an orange, crack nuts and cut bananas, clean up after themselves, identify odd and even numbers, sew, set their place at the table, pour their own milk, understand the value of numbers into the thousands, and identify continents and countries on a map—and have fun doing it all!"
"The Portland Montessori School has given my children such an appreciation for learning and an extensive fund of knowledge. It has been a nurturing, appropriately challenging environment for them to reach their potential."