A quality curriculum is necessary to ensure the continuous improvement of the educational program at Montessori Academy. To that end, the curriculum is evaluated, developed, and modified on a continuing basis.
Because of our commitment to preparing students to leave Montessori Academy ready for the next stage of their education, our curriculum is aligned to the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards. The standards stress not only procedural skills but also conceptual understanding to make sure that students are learning the critical information they need to succeed at higher levels.
Although the standards provide a framework of what and when children should learn concepts and skills, their Montessori training determines how our teachers prepare the environment and guide the children in their learning.
Toddler (12 months – 3 years)
Early Childhood, from birth through age 6, is the first of these developmental plans. Toddlers are part of the beginning half of this plane where, as Montessori explained it, children have “an absorbent mind.” From birth until age 3 the children are, without any effort, soaking up everything about their world like little sponges; this is the unconscious, absorbent mind.
Based on the prepared environment and respect for the child, the Montessori Academy Toddler Community nurtures the absorbent mind of growing, active, and curious children. Materials and activities are tailored to skills that are valuable to toddler development and help enable children to care for themselves, the environment, and each other. While attending the toddler program, children have the chance to develop relationships with other children and adults while engaging in stimulating individual and group activities.
Children’s House (3 years through Kindergarten)
Montessori Academy’s Children’s House program allows children to fully explore the Montessori materials and educational activities within a stimulating prepared learning environment. In addition, children develop social skills, independence, self-esteem, critical thinking skills, and a love of learning through their interaction with peers, teachers, and the prepared environment.
The goal of the Children’s Houses is to foster a love of learning and gain an understanding of global citizenship. Students engage in opportunities to develop self-regulation, social awareness, peer relationships, and leadership. Prior to their kindergarten year, students attend a minimum of five half-days per week with the option to attend two, three, or five full days per week. At the kindergarten level, students attend five full days.
Children’s House Curriculum
Lower Elementary (Grades 1-3)
During the Lower Elementary program, students build on their emerging understanding of concrete concepts and skills. They independently explore mathematics, physical science, biology, geography, and history to form a greater understanding of the world in which they live. They work in a collaborative environment to discover their unique interests through the use of daily work plans. As students progress through Lower Elementary, they build upon previous knowledge by revisiting concepts with a wider scope and greater detail.
Lower Elementary students develop fundamental academic skills through the completion of specific work every day. They have the chance to work independently, work with a partner, and work in groups. They practice respect and develop self-discipline while attending structured lessons that help them move through the curriculum at an appropriate level of challenge as they move from concrete concepts to abstract understanding.
Lower Elementary Curriculum
Upper Elementary (Grades 4-6)
Our Montessori Upper Elementary program continues to provide collaborative communities that recognize and support the children’s growth toward adolescence. Students remain in the same classroom for three years, building a close working relationship with their teachers and peers. In an environment of continuity, this unique feature of the Montessori curriculum promotes creativity, builds self-esteem, and allows the development of leadership skills. Older children naturally become mentors for their younger classmates and children in Lower Elementary and the Children’s Houses.
The overall goal of work at the upper elementary level is to support, guide and challenge children in the years from 9-12. Students in the Upper Elementary program follow a comprehensive curriculum structured around a three-year continuum. Montessori materials are used at the upper elementary level to introduce new concepts, and children at this age often move to paper and pencil practice more rapidly than when they were younger. Textbooks are introduced at this level and teachers continue to prepare hands-on learning experiences.
Upper Elementary Curriculum
Middle School (Grades 7-8)
Our Montessori Middle School program supports students as they begin the transition from childhood to adulthood. Students are introduced to new information and new ways to process that information. Direct experiences, including field trips and simulations, are an important part of the curriculum. Student work is graded in all subject areas.
Students read for information in science, history, literature, and math. Textbooks, other print media, and online resources are used along with direct instruction, discussion, and research. Writing instruction focuses on writing for different audiences, for different purposes, and using different media. Math instruction includes pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and, for those who are ready, Geometry.
Middle School Curriculum
+ Extended Day (ExCEL) Program
Montessori Academy of Chambersburg offers both before and after school childcare, as well as a summer program, that compliments our academic school programs with an emphasis on creative arts, dramatic play, movement, and socialization in a relaxed atmosphere.
The ExCEL Program, which is offered during the school year, provides extended care for working parents on either a contracted or drop-in basis. Snacks are provided in the afternoon. Childcare is available from 7:00 am to 8:30 am and from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Please note, that in the case of a weather-related delay or early dismissal, the ExCEL program is not available.
MESA, Montessori Academy’s summer program, is available from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm. Children are welcome to participate in all or part of that time as best fits their schedule. Children may attend for the full summer or specific weeks that best fit the family’s schedule. Children are required to bring their own lunches. Themed weekly activities include stories, experiments, crafts, water play, and much more.
For more information on these programs, please contact the office at email@example.com.
+ Portrait of a Graduate
THEY ARE GLOBAL CITIZENS. Montessori Academy graduates are members of a broader community. They are civic-minded, taking care of their environment and embracing diversity. They are students of the world, leading others to make a difference through appreciation and empathy
THEY ARE LIFE-LONG LEARNERS. Embracing Montessori philosophy, they are self-motivated and proactive learners. They are excited about and vested in their own learning and enjoying sharing their innovative thinking with others.
THEY ARE CRITICAL THINKERS. Being able to reason and filter information from the world around them, Montessori Academy graduates are confident when creating solutions or posing ideas. They listen to others thoughts and opinions and form their own. They make connections between what they have learned and apply these to real-world concerns.
THEY ARE TRUE COLLABORATORS. Appreciating others’ strengths and valuing their opinions, Montessori Academy graduates are team players that can work with adults and children of any age. They are confident in their abilities, have a healthy sense of self, and believe their contributions matter. Their moral and ethical behavior enables them to work with others to resolve conflict.
THEY ARE MONTESSORIANS FOR LIFE. Their self-motivation, resourcefulness, constructive work habits and the relationships they have formed enable them to take on big challenges throughout their education. These lessons never stop shaping who they are and who they hope to be.
+ Explore Montessori
Montessori Academy, guided by the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, immerses students in a diverse community that values creativity and nurtures each student’s social, emotional, and academic growth.
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I learn.
Our philosophy is based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s scientific observations of young children in the early 1900’s. Dr. Montessori saw these children’s almost effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, as well as their tireless interest in manipulating materials. Every piece of equipment, every exercise, every method Montessori developed was based on what she observed children do “naturally,” by themselves unassisted by adults. Children’s optimum development academically, socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually occurs when they can use purposeful materials in an uninterrupted time frame.
The child has to acquire physical independence by being self-sufficient; he must become of independent will by using in freedom his power of choice; he must become capable of independent thought by working alone without interruption. The child’s development follows a path of successive stages of independence, and our knowledge of this must guide us in our behavior towards him. We have to help the child to act, will and think for himself. This is the art of serving the spirit.
Beginning her work almost a century ago, Dr. Maria Montessori, through scientific observation of children, developed this educational approach based on her understanding of children’s natural learning tendencies as they unfold in “prepared environments” for multi-age groups.
The Montessori Environment contains specially designed, manipulative “materials for development” that invite children to engage in learning activities of their own individual choice. Under the guidance of a trained teacher, children in a Montessori classroom learn by making discoveries with the materials, cultivating concentration, motivation, self-discipline and a love of learning.
Today, Montessori schools are found worldwide, serving children from birth through adolescence. In the United States, there are more than 4,000 private Montessori schools and more than 200 public schools with Montessori-styled programs.
The Key Philosophical Messages of Montessori
- Deep respect for children as individuals.
- Multiage classes allow teachers to develop close and long term relationships with their students and to know each child’s learning style well. The multiage structure encourages older students to become role models, mentors, and leaders to younger students.
- Integrated curriculum is carefully structured and connects subjects within programs (history and cultural arts) to maximize the opportunity for learning. It builds to support children’s progress from concrete to abstract learning.
- Independence is nurtured and leads children to becoming purposeful, motivated, and confident in their own abilities.
- Peace and conflict resolution are taught daily and children learn be part of a warm, respectful, and supportive community.
- Through experiences, interactions, and environments, in a very real sense each child creates the adult that is to be. Character Development is a central focus of the AMS Montessori curriculum.
- Hands-on learning is central to the curriculum in all programs and leads to children being engaged rather than passive with their work.
- The environments are responsibly and carefully prepared with multi-sensory, sequential, and self-correcting materials to support self-directed learning.
- Teachers, children, and parents work together as a warm and supportive community.
- Self-expression is nurtured in all children. Children experience art, music, poetry, theater, writing, and other forms of creative arts with confidence and passion.
+ Montessori vs. Traditional Learning
|Emphasis on: cognitive and social development||Emphasis on social development|
|Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom||Teacher is center of classroom as “controller”|
|Environment and method encourage self-discipline||Teacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline|
|Mainly individual instruction||Group and individual instruction|
|Mixed age groupings||Same age grouping|
|Grouping encourages teaching and helping each other||Most teaching done by teacher|
|Child chooses own work within limits||Curriculum structured for child|
|Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materials||Child is guided to concepts by teacher|
|Child works as long as he wishes on chosen projects||Child generally allotted specific time for work|
|Child sets own learning pace||Instruction pace usually set by group norm|
|Child spots error by feedback of material||Errors usually pointed out by teacher|
|Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of success||Learning is reinforced externally by repetition and rewards|
|Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration||Few materials for sensory exploration|
|Organized program for learning care of self and environment||Less emphasis on self care instruction|
|Child can work where he chooses, move around and talk at will (yet not disturb work of others); group work is voluntary||Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to participate, sit still and listen during group lessons|
|Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process||Voluntary parent involvement|