Still Enrolling For This Year! Desert Sky Montessori’s individualized curriculum allows children to strive for their personal best. Our public charter school includes children from Kindergarten through 4th grade this year, with an additional grade being added each year. Our program will continue to expand to provide a public Montessori education for grades K-8. Call today to get more information or for enrollment information visit our enrollment page to find out more details about available openings.
Montessori education is built upon the belief that all learners are individuals in style, pace, interests and that all children can learn. Montessori classrooms span three years at the elementary level and two in the middle school program. These mixed-age settings provide several benefits to the student. They more closely model real-life situations where people of varying ages and experience work and live together. Children in this setting also benefit from peer tutoring opportunities that naturally occur. Older students mentor and motivate the younger students. The younger students aspire to what the older students can do. Skills are thus reinforced for not only the younger students but also the older students. The benefits of collaborative learning arrangements extend beyond academic achievement. Montessori environments are designed to enable instruction to progress from the concrete, hands-on exploration to concept development to abstract understanding.
The Montessori primary curriculum covers concepts taught to children 3 – 6 years old. The concepts are based on the needs and personal interest of each individual. The following are the main learning areas in a Montessori 3-6 class:
The children are taught exercises from every day life. These materials help the child learn to take care of themselves, so they develop independence and concentration. Examples of practical life exercise are pouring, spooning, spreading, hammering and tying shoe laces.
Montessori sensorial activities are those which develop and refine the five senses – tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory senses. These materials help children learn to express and classify their sensory experiences.
Children in the Montessori primary class are taught language in a sequence of lessons that begins by becoming aware of the different sounds in words. Then they are taught the sounds of the alphabet. They use these sounds to word build with the moveable alphabet and then to read phonetic words.
They are introduced to the different rules in language, so they can then begin to spell and read fluently.
The children are taught to count from one to ten using concrete materials. They then will learn to add, subtract, divide and multiply with materials that help them understand what each of these operations truly means.
The culture curriculum gives our children the opportunity to explore the larger world. The children learn about the people, terrain and animals on different continents. Areas studied include geography, zoology, botany and earth science.
At Desert Sky Montessori our lower elementary classes have 6-9-year-old children mixed together. Maria Montessori explained this developmental level as: “The elementary child has reached a new level of development. Before he was interested in things: working with his hands, learning their names. Now he is interested mainly in the how and why..the problem of cause and effect” In the lower elementary class the teacher helps the children seek out information and provides materials to help them study the universe.
The Five Great Lessons are an important and unique part of the lower elementary Montessori curriculum. They are used to paint a broad picture before moving to more specific study. They consist of:
• First Great Lesson – Coming of the Universe and the Earth
• Second Great Lesson – Coming of Life
• Third Great Lesson – Coming of Human Beings
• Fourth Great Lesson – Communication in Signs
• Fifth Great Lesson – The Story of Numbers
The Upper Elementary class at Desert Sky Montessori will have a mix of 9-12-year-old children. In the 2018 – 19 school year we will have our 9 year olds. We will then grow every year with these children until we have a complete Upper Elementary age range. During this plane of development, the children not only focus on the acquisition of knowledge but are inspired to think and question. There is an emphasis on research and in-depth study. The Montessori trained adult helps integrate the teaching of subjects. ‘Going Outs’ are very important at this age as they make use of community resources and create learning experiences beyond the classroom.