The Lower Elementary Communities
In our three Lower Elementary classrooms, we serve children in first, second, and third grades. Each class has approximately 25 children and two Montessori-trained teachers, one Spanish dominant and one English dominant. LAMB’s three Lower Elementary classes, located at Missouri Avenue, are named the Incas, Yorubas, and Maoris. LAMB’s elementary communities were named for groups of indigenous people around the world. Trained special education inclusion teachers also support each classroom in order to ensure that we are meeting the individualized needs of all learners.
Students in the lower elementary communities explore their world through the Montessori curriculum, known as the Cosmic Curriculum, for children ages 6-12 years old. Montessori elementary teachers present interpretive stories, demonstrations, and charts – the Great Lessons – in order to spark student interest and passion for learning. The subjects are interwoven so students can see the connections among the fields of biology, botany, astronomy, math, language, geography, anthropology, music, social studies, art and other areas in the curriculum. Children study how all living things have an important role in the web of life and how all things on earth are connected. They practice stewardship of resources and the environment.
LAMB elementary students have the opportunity to work independently or in groups, and they have the option of choosing their own work within guidelines established by the Montessori teachers. This freedom builds students’ sense of independence at the same time that it promotes accountability and responsibility. Each student has an individual work plan which is used to track progress through the curriculum. Teachers make daily observations to take notes, provide students with feedback and guidance, and determine future lessons based on student interest.
The Lower Elementary classrooms are dual language immersion, with the children and teachers learning and communicating in both English and Spanish. In general, the Spanish immersion work cycle takes place in the morning and the English immersion work cycle takes place in the afternoon. Students learn to speak, read, and write in both English and Spanish; they use cursive handwriting for Spanish and print for English. Students participate in weekly art, music, and physical education classes.