The focus of the Lower Elementary grades is to develop skill in reading, writing, expressive oral language, math, social skills, and to begin presenting the foundations of social studies and science. Our view of child development is that education is an internal process whereby children learn through experience. At McGuffey Montessori School, children find joy in work; that they naturally learn with their hands; and that confidence, resilience, and independence develop through practicing and perfecting skills. Our approach is ego-supportive and nurturing, so that children can develop the confidence to be articulate and inquisitive, as well as academically competent.
The McGuffey path rests on the awareness that through practice, a child can miraculously integrate all of life’s little lessons into a growing consciousness. Our lower elementary students experience living and learning everyday at McGuffey on a slower, deeper plane that we call “Learning to Learn.”
Young children develop their academic potential at different rates and times. One kindergartener may be ready to begin reading, while another is not yet developmentally ready. At McGuffey, students learn to read when the time is developmentally appropriate, not when the rest of the class is moving at a predetermined pace. This promotes success and confidence, and eliminates frustration and failure. Reading is taught using either a phonetic awareness approach or a whole-word approach, depending on the learning style of the individual student, as well as his/her developmental stage.
In the Lower Elementary grades, students are given sensorial materials isolate a defining quality such as color, weight, shape, texture, sound, temperature or smell, encouraging children to distinguish, organize and describe their experiences and impressions. They then “journal” these experiences and impressions; first in artistic ways, and later through written expression.
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