The goals of the curriculum of the elementary program of the Montessori Country Day School are based on the philosophy and pedagogical methods of Maria Montessori. At the center of this philosophy is the importance of an individualized education that values the strengths and unique abilities of all students. Children are inherently interested in learning. A Montessori program builds on this curiosity, with the goal of teaching students how to learn on their own, not to teach them. French, art, gym, music and library classes are incorporated on a weekly basis.
The Montessori philosophy and method necessarily shapes the way that the classroom and curriculum are structured. Thus, important characteristics of our elementary program include.
- A holistic approach to the curriculum, integrating subjects in a thematic way that leads to an understanding of the world, nature, and the human being.
- An emphasis on strong academic preparation as well as on personal and practical life skills.
- A curriculum that allows for a self-initiated focus in areas of interest and is not strictly age-based.
- The integration of multiple age groups into one classroom.
- A celebration of pluralism in our local communities and throughout the world; through the study of multiple cultural traditions, geography, history, and language the program will encourage open-minded acceptance of all peoples.
- Curriculum that integrates experiential, hands-on learning with a progression to understanding of abstract concepts.
The curriculum conforms to state regulations by including all required subjects (every year: English, reading, spelling, writing, math, science, social studies, health, physical education, art, music, and at least
once every six years: history of the U.S., history of Pennsylvania, geography, civics, safety education). But more importantly, as noted above, the curriculum is modeled on the Montessori philosophy and method.
There is an emphasis on integrating subjects thematically across disciplinary lines; this integration includes subjects such as art, music, and physical education. In accordance with Montessori philosophy, students
move from an experiential understanding to an increasingly abstract understanding of subjects. While the philosophy and methods follow those with which the children are familiar from pre-school, there is an
increase in structure and formal expectations in the elementary program. Although students continue to be self-directed and motivated, the curriculum includes more demanding and structured expectations than the
pre-school/pre-kindergarten/kindergarten program. Research shows that children coming out of Montessori elementary schools have an extremely strong preparation in academic fundamentals and are well equipped to
learn in many different environments. Our goal is to create and support students who are well trained in academic disciplines. We want our
students to love learning, value knowledge, and practice creativity. Our goal is to develop responsible, critical, confident, powerful, and caring members of society. Our hope is to provide an environment that encourages all of these characteristics, supporting our students, as they become goal setting, achieving individuals. Students are taught to think clearly, research topics, express themselves in writing and speech, and put their knowledge to practical application. French, Spanish, music, and art are offered, formally, once a week in both the Primary and Upper Elementary classes. Health and physical education are offered formally each week. Initial conferences are scheduled in October and followed up with written progress reports in February and June. Conferences with your child’s teachers can be requested at any time.
- First Grade Program (Age 6 years by October 31st or a previous kindergarten student at MCDS)
- Second Grade Program (Age 7 years by October 31st or a previous first grade student at MCDS)
- Third Grade Program (Age 8 years by October 31st or a previous second grade student at MCDS)
- Fourth Grade Program (Age 9 years by October 31st or a previous third grade student at MCDS)
- Fifth Grade Program (Age 10 years by October 31st or a previous fourth grade student at MCDS)
- Sixth Grade Program (Age 11 years by October 31st or a previous fifth grade student at MCDS)
2023-2024 school-year rates and policies can be found on the Primary and Upper Elementary registration forms under the “Registration” tab.