Learn to live,
live to learn.
grades 1 – 6
At Escuela del Sol Elementary, fundamental skills are integrated in an interdisciplinary program to nurture creativity and enthusiasm for learning while fostering critical thinking and social responsibility. Learning in an environment of kindness, courtesy, self-respect and consideration for others is crucial to moral development, sense of dignity and academic success.
The Classroom and Curriculum
Escuela’s Elementary program harnesses the developmental hunger for information by throwing open the doors to the whole of human knowledge: the history of ancient civilizations, the mechanics of language, biological and geological classification, the intricacies of physical and political geography, the methods of mathematics from basic operations through cube roots and basic algebra.
During the elementary years children are in a sensitive period for moral reasoning. This is a crucial time to integrate character development, mediation and conflict resolution skills. Each Elementary class holds regular meetings, not only as opportunities to share work and research but also as a chance to work out social problems in a fair and reasonable fashion. Teachers act as moderators and facilitators, helping students learn how to negotiate solutions that respect everyone’s thoughts and feelings to maintain a smoothly functioning classroom community – and develop real-world skills of compromise and diplomacy that will serve them well for years to come.
Classrooms are designed to support group and individual learning, and are equipped with a rich array of materials that stimulate intellectual curiosity and passion.
Two recent studies addressed the academic abilities of Montessori children compared with traditionally educated peers. The first study, conducted by academic psychologists Angeline Lillard (University of Virginia) and Nicole Else-Quest (University of Wisconsin) and published in Science magazine (Sept. 2006), found that Montessori children at age five scored significantly higher on measurements of math, reading and executive functions. Young Montessori children were also more advanced in moral development, demonstrating a greater understanding of justice and fairness. At age 12, Montessori children exhibited greater creativity and use of more complex language skills, responded more positively to social dilemmas and felt a greater sense of community at their school.
A second study published in The American Journal of Education (May 2005) (Rathunde and Csikszentmihalyi) tested the motivation and quality of experience of Montessori and traditional school children of middle school age. Montessori children reported feeling greater energy, passion, motivation and interest in academic activities at school than did their peers at traditional middle schools.