Montessori Education for Children Ages 6–12


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Our Elementary students are...

students observing nature at the pond


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 creeks 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 the earth.

Child slicing bananas for snack

Curious Learners

At this age, students start asking questions and exploring 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.


Girls practicing with sandpaper letters


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.



"We love the learning environment at Butler and feel that it is supporting our child's growth in a well-rounded manner."

~ Current Parent, 2021–22 Parent Survey



A Day in the Life of 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 about the Day in the Life of an Elementary Student.

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"Expanded learning outside the four walls of the classroom, provides real-world learning opportunities (class trips, Going-outs) and teaches children to think outside the box."

~ Current Parent, 2021–22 Parent Survey


How is the Lower Elementary Program (ages 6–9) different from Primary?

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.

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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 More About Elementary Academics

How is the Upper Elementary (ages 9–12) different from the Lower Elementary?

The world really begins to open up for the Upper Elementary students beginning with their first overnight excursion to Echo Hill. This bonding (and often the first experience away from family) experience gives students an opportunity for the intensive study of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Students then return and use our ponds and creeks to better understand the connection between our campus and the Bay. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Academic Exploration At Your Elementary Child's Own Pace

The Elementary program at Butler Montessori provides a planned environment and expansive course of study to meet your child’s developmental needs during this crucial phase of considerable intellectual and social growth. Our nature-filled 22-acre campus provides the perfect outdoor classroom for our curious Elementary students. 

Here we will talk about how our Elementary program helps children develop compassion, leadership, and independence, as well as a fondness for exploring their passions and learning how to learn.

Conflict Resolution

The Montessori classroom supports the child in their development of conflict resolution skills, compassion, and responsibility - responsibility to themselves, as well as to their society and others in their group. Through grace and courtesy lessons, children evaluate and understand their feelings, learn to ask for help, critique each other in a fair and gentle way, and explore tools to resolve social conflicts. In this way, children learn to use their talents and their gifts to help others as well as ask for help when in need. 

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Community & Responsibility

In the Elementary, children are practically begging for more responsibilities and opportunities for independence. We delineate jobs or responsibilities and allow them chances to experience consequences if they shirk their duties. You may hear the adults in your child’s classroom say, “Hmmm… I wonder why all of our plants are dying.” Different jobs range from the botanist, caring for all plants in the classroom as well as the class garden, to the environmentalist, educating their peers about the difference between trash, recyclables, and compostables. 

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Outdoor Exploration & Equestrian

Situated on a beautiful, 22-acre campus on the edge of Seneca Creek State Park, Butler Montessori offers students the opportunity to explore, learn, and play in a nature-rich environment. Elementary children take advantage of the outdoor space in many ways, from collecting leaf samples to classify, to jumping rope on the deck, to exploring fauna at the creek, to practicing multiplication in the pavilion. The choices are limitless!

Our Elementary students visit the barn, in small group rotations, for a fun and safe introduction to horses. Children learn the parts of the horse, how to safely interact and care for the horse, and when ready they get a chance to ride a horse. Students that wish to pursue a more intensive Equestrian program can sign up to participate in our Equestrian Program.

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Language, Math, Science, Art, Music, PE, Nature & More!

The Elementary curriculum, called Cosmic Education, allows the children to explore the subject areas as they experience the interrelatedness of all things to do with the universe and its creation. These subject areas are introduced through the five Great Stories.

The five Great Stories are an important and unique group of stories that provide the Elementary children with a “big picture” of life and the world around them. The stories lead children to contemplate the past, discover the present, and imagine the future. At the same time, the children develop an awareness of the natural world and its laws, while also exploring subject areas such as science, history, geography, math, and language. Let's explore how this works.


The first Great Story, the Coming of the Universe, proposes a vision of the reality and immensity of the universe and Earth's place within it. This story introduces the elements and the law and order that guides them. Each element plays an important role in our world and their unique combination prepared an environment unlike any other, a world ready for the first living creatures. This story serves as the foundation for astronomy, earth science, chemistry, and physics. In geography, children will explore the three states of matter, the formation of mountains, the relationship between the sun and earth, the solar system, as well as economic geography.

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The second Great Story, the Coming of Life, introduces Biology. With the help of the Timeline of Life, this story offers children the framework and opportunity for exploring all life on earth – plants and animals. At the end of the story, we find an environment that has been beautifully prepared for human beings. In botany, children explore the needs of plants, the parts of the plants along with their functions and varieties, and plant classification. Biology topics also include the human body, zoology, and ecology. 

Teacher and students working with a timeline on the floor


The third Great Story is The Coming of Human Beings. Human beings have many responsibilities on the Earth, just like the plants and other animals. This story reveals the gifts human beings have that separate them from other animals. We have a mind with great intellect and a heart for extraordinary love. We can imagine things that don't exist and love people we’ve never met! Human beings also possess a very special tool – the hand with an opposable thumb – which they have used to accomplish many amazing things. The third story serves as the foundation for history, social studies, and anthropology. Topics include the concept of time, the needs of human beings, ancient civilizations, and the exploration of cultures.

students in costume for ancient civilizations study


The fourth Great Story, the Story of Communication in Signs, introduces language. With their special gifts and tools, human beings built up a tradition within the environment and altered the environment for their own needs. In order to do this, they needed a language. They needed a way to leave messages over great distances and even through time. They needed a visible language. This story connects history with language and opens up the field of inquiry into language. Children explore the history of language, grammar and syntax, literature, the written language through cursive handwriting, and spoken language through interpretive reading and dramatic productions. 

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The fifth and last Great Story, the Story of Numbers, introduces mathematics. A written language wasn’t enough for early human beings. They needed a different language for their measurements and inventions. This story helps the children appreciate the inventiveness of the human mind and its ability to respond to the specific needs of humans as a whole. It also helps them feel grateful to people who have contributed to human knowledge in the past. This story serves as the foundation for arithmetic, geometry, and algebra. Children explore topics such as numeration, operations (addition, subtraction, long multiplication, and long division), squaring and cubing, common fractions and decimal fractions, area and volume, and word problems.

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Going Out

To support the Elementary student’s growing intellect and developing personality, Going Outs are included as an essential part of the Montessori curriculum. A Going Out is a small group trip undertaken to further explore an area of academic study. Usually, two to three children will plan and organize a trip and arrange for adult supervision and transportation. Going Outs can range from a trip to the zoo to study tigers to visiting the Smithsonian museums to “shadowing” a veterinarian for a day. These are similar to a field trip, the big difference being that they are entirely student lead! Hear more about Going Outs and how the Elementary student grows through these outings over their Elementary years.

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Spanish, Music, Art, and more...

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Children in the Elementary are semi-immersed in a six-year Spanish program. Meeting once a week, children explore how to read, write, and speak the language through songs and movement, simple role-plays and dramatic productions, and small group lessons. 

Learn More About Spanish


Throughout the Elementary years, your child will continue to have the opportunity to increase his or her music knowledge under the guidance of our extensively trained Director of the Music and Performing Arts Program. Through the application of multiple developmentally appropriate European methodologies, the children are engaged in musical games and activities, and learn how to read music, and play ensemble instruments, while also understanding the importance of working together toward a common goal, hence developing teamwork and coordination.

Learn More About Music


Art is a regular feature of your Elementary child’s life and work in the classroom and becomes another way of acquiring knowledge from a lesson. Beautifully colored timelines and impressionistic charts are essential parts of lesson presentations, drawn by students as a means of absorbing new information. Work is illustrated, as in the Primary, but with more sophisticated drawings, designs and use of color as the students mature from age 6 to 12.

Learn More About Art

Biography Day, Ancient Civilization Study, Spring Performance & MMUN (Montessori Model United Nations)

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How this all culminates at the end of Elementary: Portfolio, Assessments & Wrap-up

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See our Elementary in action!

Interested in learning more about our Elementary program? Join us for an engaging virtual tour of our 22-acre campus, captivating Montessori programs, student-run organic farm, and other exceptional experiences that make our school truly one-of-a-kind. With our unique blend of experiential and academic programs, your child will flourish at Butler Montessori!


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