The 12-Acre Classroom!

Lower & Upper Elementary

Lower Elementary (grades 1-3) & Upper Elementary (grades 4-6)

The child’s developmental transition from concrete to abstract thinking is at the core of our Elementary Montessori program. For example, a younger student will transition from initially working primarily with manipulatives in math to representing their thinking with written numbers in Lower Elementary. Students this age are intellectually ready to apply more and more sophisticated abstract thinking such as the use of symbols of letter and numbers. This allows them to think, absorb, and express their learning at increasingly higher levels as they move through the Elementary program.


Our Montessori Elementary programs are constructed as 3-year cycles and consist of seven major integrated subject areas:

  • Mathematics: Facts, Operations, Place Value, Story Problems, Numeration, Measurement, and Problem Solving
  • Language: Word Study, Grammar, Reading and Comprehension, Spelling, and Writing
  • Science: Botany, Zoology, Chemistry, Physics, and the Montessori Great Lessons
  • Geography & History: Based around an in-depth continent study, exploring culture, language, and history.
  • Practical Life: Cooking, Gardening, Community Jobs, Animal Feeding and Care
  • Art: Multiple techniques and media are explored, with projects centering around our continent study
  • Music & Drama: We put on two performances a year – a winter holiday concert and a spring musical/drama.
  • Physical Education: Physical Skills, Movement, Games, and Sportsmanship
The Elementary programs incorporate the Montessori philosophy of open work time. At this level, eliminating as many transitions as possible frees up time for students to be more fully engaged with their learning and work. The schedule incorporates more small group and whole group lessons which are organized by the level of development of the students. Subjects are integrated, with students demonstrating their learning in several areas through their work on major projects. Mornings include dedicated reading time as well as uninterrupted work time. Afternoons often have special instruction in Spanish, P.E., art, gardening, cooking, and performing arts.

The Upper Elementary three-year cycle explores themes. Each year there is a week-long trip to one of three outdoor environmental learning centers around western Washington.

elementary students
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