ELEMENTARY

Grades 1 - 6

Curriculum Overview: Grades 1 - 3

    (Grades 4 - 6 Curriculum below.)

The curriculum for children ages 6 to 9 includes:

  • English and Spanish Language Arts

  • Mathematics

  • Practical Life, including Computer and Library Skills

  • Culturals: Geography, History, Sciences of Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, and the Biology of Zoology and Botany

  • Visual Arts

  • Movement (Physical Education), including Music with Dance and Movement with Sports Skills

 

We call this program the Lower Elementary Level.

The Lower Elementary program at Castle Island offers your child an unparalleled opportunity for growth in this new period of life. Designed for children ages 6 through 9, the Lower Elementary is the first half of the full elementary program. In the Primary classroom children worked with the physical and tangible; now they are poised to harness those experiences to explore the universe through the power of their imagination.

Multi-Age Classroom

 

The Lower Elementary program is a three-year cycle. Like the Primary program, children stay with the same teacher for three years, building lasting relationships with the teachers and friendships with children of different ages. The multi-age classroom offers a dynamic social setting where children learn from each other, master skills, and become facilitators of learning for their classmates, creating experiences that build emotional intelligence not possible in traditional single-age classrooms. We know that learning is not linear, and that learners have periods of significant growth, plateaus, and even the occasional regression. In a multi-age classroom, children are typically able to work at their own pace without the added pressure of keeping up with the whole group, or even being held back by the whole group. 

Learning without Limits

 

Your child will study both broadly and deeply, covering many subjects not attempted in conventional schools. Because there is not a rigid schedule or prescribed curriculum that the whole class must follow, your child can focus intensely on her self-chosen work, with minimal interruption. At the same time, she will collaborate with the teacher to ensure that her work is challenging and purposeful – and that basic standards are met. In that way, the teacher is in charge of the minimum scope of work – your child is in charge of the maximum.

Learning Occurs Beyond the Classroom

 

We want the children to be comfortable navigating the world, not just our classroom. So, we have a few excellent books, but not a large collection. As a result, the children must ‘go out’ beyond the limits of the classroom to find the information or resource that they need. Think of it as a Montessori Lower Elementary program in [location], rather than just within the walls of [school name]. A ‘Going Out’ is a planned undertaking by a small group of children. They find a resource in the community, schedule the outing, arrange for their own transportation and supervision (by staff or parent volunteers), prepare themselves for the experience and conduct themselves with dignity while out in public. Each Going Out is an entire course of study on independence, responsibility and good citizenship — to say nothing of the intellectual rewards that children get from such experience.

The Teacher is an “Enlightened Generalist”

 

To quote Bruce Lee: “A teacher is never a giver of ‘truth;’ he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that the student must discover for himself.” We couldn’t agree more. Our AMS credentialed Montessori teachers don’t have a specific area of expertise and we don’t have “specialist” teachers for subjects like art, P.E., or music. Instead, our guides (teachers) have a broad knowledge of all subject areas – more than enough to help your child discover interests in any area imaginable and challenge him to deepen the field of study through research. Instead of giving the right answers, the teacher will ask your child the right questions to inspire him to find the answers for himself.

Learning in Context for Deeper Understanding

 

Unlike in a conventional program with a separate time of the day for each subject, your child will gain a much deeper understanding of concepts by learning in context. The starting point for all courses of study is the “Great Lessons;” these impressionistic and scientific stories give your child the “big picture” of language, math, astronomy, earth science, geography, physics, biology, history, anthropology, cultural and social studies, music and art. Meaningful learning happens when children understand the “why” as much as the “what” – and are inspired to learn even more on their own.

The Format Mirrors Your Child’s Developmental Needs

 

Your elementary age child has a strong drive for social connection. He is starting to develop deeper friendships and a connection to the community around her. Why then, would we want him to learn in rows of desks, confined to a chair, while the teacher lectures the class as a group? Instead, we embrace your child’s natural need for social exploration by giving lessons in small groups and encouraging children to work with a variety of others on follow up projects and research into subjects of intense interest. In a Montessori Lower Elementary program, children help children before adults help children, resulting in teamwork, independence and a true learning community.

Engagement is Essential

 

Real learning occurs when children are engaged – not when the teacher makes a blanket assignment. Curiosity is championed in our Lower Elementary program, and your child is encouraged to explore concepts to a level of detail only limited by his imagination.

Developing Flexibility, Resilience and Grit

 

We believe children learn to be adaptable by supporting them to solve their own problems, rather than solving problems for them. With the help of a supportive adult, your child can, most often, find the solution that is best for him.

Achieving the State of “Flow”

 

Think about how you do your best work. Is it when you are interrupted by others or when you work to an external time table? Probably not. Why, then, is it any different for your child? Our class day consists of long, open ended work periods that respect your child’s curiosity and concentration. She may choose to form or join a group to work with concepts introduced in a lesson. And, because she is free to move around the classroom, it’s not uncommon for ideas to spread; children are stimulated not just by the lessons they receive, but by each other.

Learning as its Own Reward

 

We have high expectations for your child, and believe that rewards and punishments appeal to the lowest levels of his intellect. Given a sticker, he will do her best for a few minutes. Given experiences that help him to believe in himself and his abilities, he will do his very best for a lifetime.

Education for Life

 

The goal of the Lower Elementary Program is to develop the students’ abilities and self confidence so that they are able to take charge of their own learning. Students who have gained an appreciation for the enormous scale and resources of the world through the Lower Elementary program are ready to continue that exploration in the Upper Elementary.

Elementary Math.jpg

Curriculum Overview: Grades 4 - 6

The curriculum for children ages 9 to 12 includes:

  • English and Spanish Language Arts

  • Mathematics

  • Practical Life, including Computer and Library Skills​

  • Culturals: Geography and History

  • Sciences: Life, Physical and Earth 

  • Visual Arts

  • Movement (Physical Education), including Music with Dance and Sports Skills

 

We call this program the Upper Elementary Level.

The Upper Elementary program at Castle Island continues the development forged in the Lower Elementary classroom. Designed for children ages 9 through 12, the Upper Elementary is the second half of the full elementary program. Having learned to take ownership of their own learning, Upper Elementary students are capable and eager for new challenges.

Multi-Age Classroom

 

The Upper Elementary program is a three-year cycle. Like the Lower Elementary program, children stay with the same teacher for three years, building lasting relationships with the teachers and friendships with children of different ages. The multi-age classroom offers a dynamic social setting where children learn from each other, master skills, and become facilitators of learning for their classmates, creating experiences that build emotional intelligence not possible in traditional single-age classrooms. We know that learning is not linear, and that learners have periods of significant growth, plateaus, and even the occasional regression. In a multi-age classroom, children are typically able to work at their own pace without the added pressure of keeping up with the whole group, or even being held back by the whole group. 

Learning without Limits

 

Your child will study both broadly and deeply, covering many subjects not attempted in conventional schools. Because there is not a rigid schedule or prescribed curriculum that the whole class must follow, your child can focus intensely on her self-chosen work, with minimal interruption. At the same time, she will collaborate with the teacher to ensure that her work is challenging and purposeful – and that basic standards are met. In that way, the teacher is in charge of the minimum scope of work – your child is in charge of the maximum.

Learning Occurs Beyond the Classroom

 

We want the children to be comfortable navigating the world, not just our classroom. So, we have a few excellent books, but not a large collection. As a result, the children must ‘go out’ beyond the limits of the classroom to find the information or resource that they need. Think of it as a Montessori Upper Elementary program in the City of Albany, rather than just within the walls of Castle Island. A ‘Going Out’ is a planned undertaking by a small group of children. They find a resource in the community, schedule the outing, arrange for their own transportation and supervision (by staff or parent volunteers), prepare themselves for the experience and conduct themselves with dignity while out in public. Each Going Out is an entire course of study on independence, responsibility and good citizenship — to say nothing of the intellectual rewards that children get from such experience.

The Teacher is an “Enlightened Generalist”

 

To quote Bruce Lee: “A teacher is never a giver of ‘truth;’ he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that the student must discover for himself.” We couldn’t agree more. Our AMS credentialed Montessori teachers don’t have a specific area of expertise and we don’t have “specialist” teachers for subjects like art, P.E., or music. Instead, our teachers have a broad knowledge of all subject areas – more than enough to help your child discover interests in any area imaginable and challenge him to deepen the field of study through research. Instead of giving the right answers, the teacher will ask your child the right questions to inspire him to find the answers for himself.

Learning in Context for Deeper Understanding

 

Unlike in a conventional program with a separate time of the day for each subject, your child will gain a much deeper understanding of concepts by learning in context. The starting point for all courses of study is the “Great Lessons;” these impressionistic and scientific stories give your child the “big picture” of language, math, astronomy, earth science, geography, physics, biology, history, anthropology, cultural and social studies, music and art. Meaningful learning happens when children understand the “why” as much as the “what” – and are inspired to learn even more on their own.

The Format Mirrors Your Child’s Developmental Needs

 

Your elementary age child has a strong drive for social connection. He is starting to develop deeper friendships and a connection to the community around her. Why then, would we want him to learn in rows of desks, confined to a chair, while the teacher lectures the class as a group? Instead, we embrace your child’s natural need for social exploration by giving lessons in small groups and encouraging children to work with a variety of others on follow up projects and research into subjects of intense interest. In a Montessori Upper Elementary program, children help children before adults help children, resulting in teamwork, independence and a true learning community.

Engagement is Essential

 

Real learning occurs when children are engaged – not when the teacher makes a blanket assignment. Curiosity is championed in our Upper Elementary program, and your child is encouraged to explore concepts to a level of detail only limited by his imagination.

Developing Flexibility, Resilience and Grit

 

We believe children learn to be adaptable by supporting them to solve their own problems, rather than solving problems for them. With the help of a supportive adult, your child can, most often, find the solution that is best for him.

Achieving the State of “Flow”

 

Think about how you do your best work. Is it when you are interrupted by others or when you work to an external time table? Probably not. Why, then, is it any different for your child? Our class day consists of long, open ended work periods that respect your child’s curiosity and concentration. She may choose to form or join a group to work with concepts introduced in a lesson. And, because she is free to move around the classroom, it’s not uncommon for ideas to spread; children are stimulated not just by the lessons they receive, but by each other.

Learning as its Own Reward

 

We have high expectations for your child, and believe that rewards and punishments appeal to the lowest levels of his intellect. Given a sticker, he will do her best for a few minutes. Given experiences that help him to believe in himself and his abilities, he will do his very best for a lifetime.

Education for Life

 

The goal of the Upper Elementary Program is to develop the students’ abilities and self confidence so that they are able to take charge of their own learning. Students who have gained an appreciation for the enormous scale and resources of the world through the Upper Elementary Program are ready to explore their place within that world through our Middle School Program (Coming Soon!).