Elementary curriculum
Primary approaches to instruction
• Large group presentations
• Small group activities
• Individual lessons
• Real life learning experiences
• Project based learning
• Individual projects
• Student notebooks & portfolio
Science and culture
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The Montessori science curriculum seeks to cultivate children’s natural curiosity and allows them to discover answers to their “why” questions. Science concentrates on the process: hypothesis, procedure, observation, data analysis, and conclusion. This approach teaches the thinking behind using a logical discovery or testing method and uses data to evaluate results to arrive at a thoughtful conclusion.
Each child attains a basic knowledge of zoology, botany, matter, energy, earth science, astronomy, human development, and personal health. Hands-on experience with the natural world and scientific materials and apparatus help promote learning such things as animal classification, environmental processes, earth forces, botanical components, and rock types. Sustainable science is a large part of the curriculum in learning about plants and water systems. The Montessori curriculum encourages respect for our world and an understanding of our place in the natural order of things. The ultimate goal is the development of an ecological view of life and a feeling of responsibility for the earth.
Biome study
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Our primary students begin to deepen their relationship to the environment through the lens of biomes. Biomes express the relationship between the sun, plants, animals, soil, air, and water. The balance of these six factors informs the development of the different biomes or environments on the Earth. As a result, they are greatly influencing cultural diversity. The biome curriculum helps students understand the world around them through concrete experiences observing seasonal changes, animals, plant life, etc. Students compare and contrast different biomes, looking at the balance of each element.
Geography
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Students receive lessons in political and economic geography, as well as scientific geography. Students continue to build on mapping skills introduced in the Primary classroom; identifying and labeling continents, countries, capitals, oceans, rivers, mountains, important landmarks, and cardinal directions. Integrating our study of biomes, students begin to Identify human characteristics of places, biomes, continents, and countries. Attention is given to identifying the 50 states of the U.S. and the corresponding capitals. Our Geography curriculum enables students to use maps and other symbolic tools and technology to acquire knowledge that enriches the vocabulary of geographic features and organizes information about people, places, and environments. Units work from the larger concepts to the smaller, which is reflected throughout the history curriculum.
History
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The Great Stories: The Creation of the Universe, The Coming of Life, The Coming of Humans. Students begin to understand basic concepts of past, present, and future and humans' fundamental needs and their relationships to biomes and cultures. We explore ancient civilizations, Understanding historical timelines, US history, Important world events, and specific attention to New York City's history during this time. US history spanning North America's colonization through the 13 Colonies and Revolutionary War, Civil War, Westward Expansion, Industrial Revolution, Great Depressions, World Wars, through modern history. The Fundamental Needs of Humans by various categories (biome, geographical location, time period, technological advances, ancient civilization, etc.) are identified and explored.
Mathematics
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Math begins with one of Montessori's Great Lessons, The History of Numbers. Students begin their journey through mathematics by building the foundational concepts of quantities and numbers; quantities and values to 10, teens, 1-100, writing numbers, greater than/less than, odd/even, formation of numbers to the millions, sequencing, and order, ordinal positions, estimation, and rounding. Once the foundation is built, students begin to deconstruct numbers and quantities by using place value to represent whole numbers and decimals. This leads children into fraction concepts introduced to vocabulary, improper/mixed, nomenclature, representation. Students use all four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) with fraction manipulative materials, decimal fractions, money, simplification of fractions, equivalencies, and Greatest Common Factor. An in-depth exploration of the Greatest Common Factor (GCF), Lowest Common Multiple (LCM), prime and composite numbers students begin to learn about multiples. Fractions are revisited throughout the elementary years with new concepts introduced, such as unlike denominators, mixed numbers using all four operations.
Language
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In the language curriculum, Montessori's Great Lesson is told through The History of Language. Language Arts in the Montessori classroom is easily the most integrated discipline in Montessori education. The concepts of language are required in all the other disciplines in order to obtain the information presented. With this in mind, Hopscotch Montessori's Language Arts curriculum is focused on the development of language with an emphasis on spoken language (pronunciation, vocabulary, fluency, etc.), then writing and analyzing language. Our students focus on the structure of language to more fully understand using language as a way to interact with their social and academic environment.
Students begin to spell using the moveable alphabet to develop phonological awareness, letter-sound knowledge, and building word recognition strategies. During this phase, children are in an emergent reading phase as they build knowledge of sight words, fluency, and independent comprehension. Specific attention is given to word study skills; the main idea, finding details, cause, and effect, making inferences, predictions, context clues, making connections. Students are exposed to a variety of texts, non-fiction, and fiction, using reading as a tool for building knowledge. Additionally, students explore poetry, creative writing, and literature. Throughout these activities' students build vocabulary, reading comprehension strategies, figurative language, perspective building, and most of all, a pleasure for reading.
When it comes to writing, students begin constructing words, then sentences, and then large compositions. Students learn to evaluate their own writing by editing and proofreading through their composition of the original text. An emphasis is placed on writing structure, understanding margins and formats, Paragraph structure: topic sentence, supporting details, and conclusions. Cursive wring is presented and offer as a secondary form of writing. Creative writing activities will incorporate various elements of study and genre, the application of figurative language concepts. Students analyze and critique persuasive positions, develop well-crafted, multi-paragraph essays, and compose essays for various purposes. Writing supports, such as graphic organizers and outlines, with attention to citing sources appropriately for non-fiction essays.
Word study, spelling & mechanics
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Word Study, Spelling, & Mechanics is presented through lessons that give students a clear understanding and use of compound words, suffixes, prefixes, antonyms, synonyms, homophones, homonyms, homographs, contractions, possessives, classification, guide words, dictionary, and thesaurus usage. Punctuation is reinforced through self-editing and peer editing experiences as students become proficient with their attention to capital letters, periods, question marks, exclamation points, quotes, commas, and apostrophes. Grammar and Sentence Analysis presents students with the nine main parts of speech and their functions. By classifying nouns by qualities: common and proper, singular and plural, concrete and abstract, collective students will learn the organization and writing structures. Sentence analysis breaks down the ability to identify and use conjugate verbs in the past, present, and future. They are identifying the subject, predicate, and direct object of sentences and their functions. Students construct and diagram sentences with Montessori materials and traditional sentence diagramming as part of their foundational writing practice.
Art
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Art is found in all areas of our curriculum. However, specific time is given to the development of skills and the creative process. Hopscotch students explore various mediums such as painting, drawing, charcoal, watercolors, and other non-conventional materials such as recycled or repurposed items. Also, students study different artists and the techniques used to refine skills, create various effects, and become familiar with art appreciation. Art is integrated into the curriculum via thematic or emergent curriculums. Students imagine ways to use art to represent their understanding of concepts and express themselves through free expression and prescribed means. Students create projects big and small and use principles found in Reggio Emilia to guide projects based on their ideas, curiosities, and construction. Elementary students present their work to peers and exhibitions throughout the school.
City is our classroom
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Hopscotch Students participate in the daily functions of the classroom, whether it’s visiting the florist to purchase flowers, picking up office supplies or bringing their research outside the classroom. Students incorporate purchase planning, managing money, and navigating the city as part of our “City as Our Classroom” curriculum with real world application.
Second language
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Second Language exposure is part of the Elementary curriculum. Students are exposed to a second language during afternoon classes two days a week. The curriculum is increasing in proficiency and skills as they grow into through elementary program. Our goal with introducing a second language is not only for children to have the benefit of communicating in a second language. Our primary goal is to develop flexible thinkers. We know children can learn to see things from different perspectives when they are able to use a wider range of vocabulary or discover deeper meanings in everyday experiences. Children learn to hear poetry, music, and even conversations from different points of view. The result is children begin to expose their brains to decode familiar concepts and make connections to larger themes.
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