Three, four, and five year-old preschool and kindergarten students attend
mixed-age classes daily for a three-hour morning or a three-hour afternoon
session. There are 24 children in a class with one teacher and one classroom
assistant. Kindergarten students attend free, as in any other public
school. There is a tuition fee for three and four year-olds.
In the Preschool/Kindergarten program, much emphasis is placed on the
development of the child’s personal responsibility and independence
in the classroom. This applies to using materials and to showing respect
for the people in the environment, both staff and students. Children
choose their own materials from open shelves filled with self-correcting
materials and work at their own pace. Over time, the children develop
a learning community in which they are able to work for extended periods
of time in deep concentration with few interruptions.
Activities in the classroom are grouped into five main areas:
PRACTICAL LIFE: These activities help the child develop organizational,
fine-motor, and large-motor skills. They involve care of self, care
of the classroom, exercises of grace and courtesy , and refinement of
physical movement. The child cuts, pours, polishes, sorts, washes, rolls
rugs, ties laces and says "please", "thank you",
and "excuse me". The child is gaining control of his physical
environment and his movements in it. He is also learning to work with
others in a peaceful manner.
SENSORIAL: These materials help the child fine-tine the senses: hearing,
sight, touch, smell. The child practices classifying and ordering sounds,
colors, smells, textures, sizes, and weights. The ability to sense differences
in objects and classify by a variety of characteristics helps the child
develop keen senses and patterns for organizing information in her mind.
MATHEMATICS: Montessori math materials are hands-on, self-checking materials
that have been carefully developed to allow the child to experience
abstract math concepts in a concrete way. Through independent work with
a wide variety of colorful materials, the child learns the concepts
of number, symbols, operations, basic facts, and geometry.
LANGUAGE: This work includes oral language development, writing, reading,
the study of grammar, creative dramatics, and children’s literature.
Children develop basic skills in reading and writing by working with
sandpaper letters, moveable alphabets, and other hands-on materials.
CULTURAL SUBJECTS: The classroom also offers the child a wide variety
of materials and activities to study history, geography, science, music,
art, and physical education.
PCMS Elementary Program
The elementary program is divided into two levels: Lower Elementary
and Upper Elementary. We have three lower elementary classes with first,
second, and third grade students in each class. Our two upper elementary
classes are for fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students. There are usually
about 24 students in each class with one teacher and one classroom assistant.
Lower Elementary: In the lower elementary class, first, second, and
third grade students work together in small groups and individually
to complete their work. Some work is specifically assigned by the teacher
for a child or group of children, other work is chosen freely from the
shelves according to the child’s interests and abilities. At any
one time, there will be many different activities going on, and most
children will be using manipulative materials along with paper and pencil.
Most lessons are given to small groups of children at a special lesson
table. At times, the whole class gathers for a group lesson or activity.
The children are responsible for budgeting their time to complete their
assigned work and chosen work according to the class guidelines. While
working, the children talk quietly and move about the classroom as needed
to accomplish their goals. Older children help to guide younger children
and provide positive role models.
Upper Elementary: In the upper elementary class, fourth, fifth, and
sixth grade students work together. As in lower elementary, the children
individually and in small groups, move about and talk quietly as they
work. Although there are still many manipulative materials, these older
children spend much more time researching in books, writing, and creating
project presentations. Science and social studies, in particular, are
studied through independent research. The teacher may give a brief introduction
to a topic, then the children seek out information from a variety of
resources in the classroom, the library, and on the computer. Budgeting
time wisely and working independently are crucial skills put into use
continuously as deadlines for both chosen and assigned work may extend
over days or even weeks. As in Montessori classrooms at all levels,
a warm community feeling is fostered as the older children provide positive
role models and guidance to the younger children.
The curriculum is a combination of special Montessori topics and perspectives
carefully blended with the standards set by the State of Ohio. That
is, we teach what is taught in public schools all over Ohio, but we
approach it differently. We use an integrated curriculum, global perspective,
and many hands-on materials.
Integrated Curriculum: In a research style of learning, elementary children
work in small groups on a variety of projects which spark the imagination
and engage the mind. Lessons given by the teacher direct the children
toward activities that help them to develop reasoning abilities and
life skills, including mastery of basic skills (reading, writing, math)
and cultural knowledge (science, social studies, music, art). The day
is not divided into small segments for the various subjects. Rather,
the day is divided into two lengthy work cycles. The children work independently
for extended periods of time on specific skill development and on larger
work that integrates those basic skills with cultural study. A program
of extended work periods under the guidance of one teacher sets the
stage for a fully integrated curriculum.
Global Perspective: Elementary age children have a natural desire to
understand the universe and find their place in it. We help the child
know the universe by guiding him to look outside himself to the whole
world, to the long line of people who came before, and to those who
will come in the future. The lower elementary child studies the countries,
continents, and oceans of the world. He looks at how people have met
their fundamental needs for food, clothing, and shelter in all areas
of the world over the span history. He considers how plants, animals,
and people are dependent on one another in the web of life. Only then
is he ready to study his own country, state, community, and time period.
By studying the rest of the universe first, and then his own little
corner of it, the child is able to find his place from global perspective.
Montessori Middle School Program
The middle school class at PCMS is a unique blend of Montessori philosophy
and traditional academia. It is intended to be a two-year bridge between
the Montessori elementary years and formal high school education.
The middle school year is divided into five thematic cycles. These cycles
are each approximately six weeks long, and they integrate the given
theme into all of the disciplines of study. Since it is a two-year program,
seventh and eighth graders work both cooperatively and collaboratively
during Natural World (the Sciences) and Social World (the Humanities).
Grammar and vocabulary studies are separated into two courses (one for
each grade level), while mathematics is grouped based upon individual
readiness and mastery. Types of activities target all of the learning
modalities, and they are balanced among individual, small group, and
class projects, lessons, and/or activities. Additionally, there is a
great emphasis on individual student accountability, organization, and
responsibility for work while also fostering the development of a community
within the classroom and the need to mutually respect, support, and
honor one another.
Each day begins with a Community Meeting. This is followed by a literature
discussion with the whole class. The independent work cycle in the afternoon
is two hours long. Students must plan their work and be accountable
to both a planning partner and the class for the work that will be accomplished
that day. During the afternoon work cycle, math lessons are given. Lunch
at the middle school level lasts one hour; this allows for the socialization
process to take place with minimal infringement upon academic work.
After lunch, thirty minutes are devoted to Personal Reflection through
journal writing focusing on social, emotional, and physical growth and
issues important to adolescence. The morning work cycle is also almost
two hours long with a special emphasis on small group work, class lessons,
and class activities that need uninterrupted time to be accomplished.
After each learning cycle there in an "in-between week" called
Immersion Week. Studies show that this allows the adolescent mind "to
rest and recover," as well as the chance "to start over"
at the beginning of a new learning cycle. During these weeks throughout
the school year, students have the opportunity to literally become immersed
in extended activities such as community service projects, service learning
or internships, musical performances, and participation in an end of
year Adventure Trip. Often it is in these moments that some of the best
memories are made and the most learning occurs. The world is opened
up to the adolescents as they are given a chance to see outside of themselves,
to experience new challenges, and to offer a helping hand to neighbors.