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Elementary

Montessori Education for Children Ages 6-12

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Our Elementary students are...

#ExplorersforLife

Exploration is woven into daily life in the Elementary. Our 22-acre campus provides the perfect outdoor classroom for their studies. From building forts in the forest to hiking through creek and  trails, students love the sense of adventure and discovery that is a part of their education.  And as they interact with the environment they learn to respect and steward it. That's why every student practices sustainability, supporting our campus and earth.

Curious Learners

At this age, students are starting to ask questions and explore ideas such as: How did the world begin? When did humans develop? How does this machine work? This is why the foundation for all courses of study is the “Great Lessons.” These lessons provide the “big picture” of language, mathematics, astronomy, earth science, geography, chemistry, physics, biology, history, anthropology, social studies, music and art.

 

Community-Builders

During Elementary, children are learning to work in groups and co-exist as a community. Our Montessori classroom is set up to support children by helping them develop conflict resolution skills, compassion, and responsibility. Children learn to use the Peace Table to navigate conflicts. And from Botanist to Environmentalist, every student has a job and a responsibility to their classroom community.

"With Butler, I am continually amazed by what the parents, families, and the community put into this school. That kind of devotion, along with the beautiful campus and dedicated staff and faculty are what makes Butler unique. My child looks forward to school every day, and I look forward to hearing about his continued adventures and growth. "

Jamie
Elementary Parent

A Day in the Life in our Montessori Elementary Classroom.

From hiking to poetry, our students love learning because each day is different. They have the ability to choose "work" that interests them and explore our indoor and outdoor environments. Students learn at their own pace, while developing concentration, focus, independence and leadership skills. Learn more in this video.

Where school doesn't feel like school

A Montessori education gives students a holistic, experiential learning experience without the stress and burnout. Our students graduate academically prepared and ready for real-world challenges

Learn About Elementary Academics

What's Different about our Lower Elementary Program (ages 6-9)?

Our AMI-certified Elementary teachers are trained to support the social and emotional growth of children ages 6-9.  We spark the love of learning by creating a caring and prepared environment for learning. Children develop independence, gain confidence, practice compassion and learn at their own pace.

 

"The most compelling testament to the school can be found in the children. They are gracious, courteous, friendly, empathetic, confident and inquisitive. We feel incredibly fortunate to have found this truly special community!"

Tram
Elementary Parent

How does the Upper Elementary (ages 9-12) learn about the Watershed?

Our students' trip to Echo Hill each year gives them the opportunity to learn about the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Students then use our ponds and creeks to better understand the connection between our campus and the Bay. Learn more in this video.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Typical Elementary Day:

8:45 am: The three hour work period begins. Children are given lessons in small groups during this time or engage in work from previous lessons. Looking around the prepared environment you may see a small group of children practicing long multiplication on the Checkerboard, writing a report about the differences between painted dogs and hyenas in beautiful cursive, baking bread and experimenting with how much flour or how much yeast, embroidering a flower onto a pillow for their beloved pet, or having a snack* and chatting with their friends.

*A hungry child can't focus on lessons so children can choose when to have a snack during the morning session. 

11:45 am: The three hour work period ends. Children put away their work and help to tidy the room.

12:00 pm: Lunch begins. Children help to arrange the tables and set the places.

12:30 pm: Lunch ends. Children help to clean the tables and crumb the floor. 

12:30 pm: Outside Exploration. Children have 22-acres of land on which they play. Depending on the day and weather, with the adults, the children may play on the playground equipment, play soccer on the field, explore the creeks, and so much more. 

1:00 pm: A two hour work period begins. Once a week the children may have Spanish, Art, Music, and/or PE during this time. 

3:15 pm: Student dismissal 

The beauty of the Montessori environment is that teachers have the ability to sense the children's needs and respond to them. 

Although a typical day includes a three hour morning work period (statistically linked to increased focus and concentration), sometimes the children have boundless energy and need an outlet. 

The teacher may decide a hike through the woods would be a better way to start the day or perhaps begin with gardening. 

Many parents come to our school looking for traditional "small class sizes" because they believe a small class size equals more personalized attention.

However, they are surprised when they observe our classrooms to see that a larger group of Montessori children functions much better than a traditional environment.

Here children engage in individual or small group lessons with teachers. They choose their "work" (which never feels like work!) so they're passionate about their lessons and excited to learn every day. 

Although Montessori classroom sizes vary between 17-26 students with an AMI-certified teacher and assistant, it never feels too large. In fact, parents are in awe of the peaceful and meaningful way students engage with each other and the lessons.

On an average day, you'll find a child quietly sitting, absorbed in a math problem. Or you might see the teacher giving a group science lesson at the center table. 

The Montessori approach is child centered and based on the child’s stages of development.

In a Montessori classroom, children of different ages work independently or in a group and seek help from the teacher or other students as needed. Working in this manner facilitates peer-to-peer learning, which allows students to deepen their understanding of the material.

 

…because in real life:

The Montessori method is uniquely suited for preparing students for today’s highly dynamic work environment. Here’s just one example: The Agile methodology has been widely adopted in leading technology and research enterprises.

The similarities between Montessori and Agile are striking. The Agile Manifesto describes it as “a collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional groups promoting adaptive planning, evolutionary development, and rapid and flexible response to change.” This describes what takes place every day in a Montessori classroom.

How do our teachers compare to traditional teachers? Our teachers receive vigorous training through Association of Montessori International and specialize in a particular age group (ex: ages 6-12 in the Elementary classroom).

This allows them to respond to a child's emotional, social, and academic needs and give them the support and love they need to thrive.

Teachers calmly help children resolve conflicts and model behavior for the children. They are kind and caring and know when a child needs a hug or is having a rough day.

We attract and retain the highest level of teacher because they believe in the Montessori philosophy and the benefits to the children. They love being a part of our close-knit community and support our school's mission.  

Montessori teachers guide children through activities, rather than decide and direct what should or shouldn’t be done. Traditional preschool teachers follow a curriculum or a set order of each class instead. 

Montessori teachers follow the individual needs and interests of each child, whereas traditional schools set the same tasks for each child regardless of his or her learning capacity.

Montessori lessons are also extremely active and hands-on, encouraging children to solve problems and learn for themselves. On the other hand, more traditional preschools mostly teach in a way which means the students to learn more passively by listening, memorizing and repeating information.

Montessori teachers respect and even encourage a child to go at their own pace with each activity. In traditional classrooms, it is often expected that all children will complete each activity at the same pace, or stop doing it if not finished within the time allocated.

Yes! If you want a sense of how influential the Montessori method can be, just ask today’s accomplished CEOs, business leaders, innovators, and artists. People such as Larry Page and Sergei Brin (the founders of Google), Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon), Grammy Award-winning artist Taylor Swift, and author Helen Keller all enjoyed an early Montessori education that helped provide them the foundation for their careers.

In many ways, the Montessori classroom mimics the world of work, offering your child practice at developing skills that will serve them well throughout their career.

Your child will be encouraged to develop a sense of teamwork with both older and younger children. And by allowing your child to pursue their education at their own pace, one-on-one, your child can foster the independence, self-discipline, and confidence needed to spearhead work projects, find innovative solutions, and be a leader in their job.

See our Elementary in action!

Interested in learning more about our Elementary program? Visit our beautiful 22-acre campus for a personalized tour of our award-winning green school programs, organic student-run farm, and our experiential academic learning environments.

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