Overview of our Curriculum
The Three Year Cycle
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that schools should give children the sense of belonging to a family and help them learn how to live with other human beings. By creating a bond among parents, teachers, and children, Maria Montessori sought to create a community. In this community individuals could learn to be empowered and children could learn to be a part of families; to trust one another, and to find ways to be properly assertive rather than aggressive. Children that are able to remain in the same classroom for two or three years are able to develop a strong sense of community with their classmates and teachers.
Each age group corresponds to a developmental state of childhood. Around the world, one can find Montessori programs for children in all stages of development: infancy (8 week - 1.3 years), toddler (1.3 - 2.6 years), primary/early childhood (2.6 - 6 years), lower elementary/middle childhood (6 - 9 years), upper elementary/late childhood (9 - 12 years), middle school/early adolescence (12 - 15 years), and secondary/late adolescence (15-18 years). Each level's curriculum and program offer a very logical and consistent extension of what has come before.
Because children in the same developmental stage work to accomplish the same developmental goals, it makes sense for children in the same plane of development to be together within one classroom. Younger children benefit from older role models, and older children gain leadership skills and empathy by working with younger children. The academic materials that were developed by Dr. Montessori have adaptations that can lead a very young child as well as an experienced older child through successful exploration and academic accomplishment. At each level of development, the program and curriculum are logical and highly consistent extensions of what has come before. Thus, there is a never ending educational benefit for the child in that particular classroom.
Cornerstone Montessori School holds this concept with deep regard and we are continually strategizing to facilitate children staying with the same peer group and teachers until their Kindergarten year. When a child is first enrolled at Cornerstone, a determination of appropriate classroom placement is made for each individual child based upon the program needs of the family. There are family circumstances that may change in the course of time that may necessitate a re-evaluation of the best classroom situation for a child, but a classroom change prior to a student's Kindergarten year is rare, with the exception of Summer Camp. There is a possibility that your child will be placed in a different classroom during our Summer Camp as it is a true "summer camp" experience that consolidates programs in order to take advantage of outdoor activities that are only available during the summer. This consolidation of programs also provides us with the opportunity to involve older students (grades 2 -4) and our summer interns (ages 12-15).
Overall, Dr. Montessori's insights about developmental stages and multi-age classrooms have proven effective. Public elementary schools are implementing similar policies where the teacher moves up a grade level with the children or by combining two or three grade levels. This provides better instruction by building on what the students learned the previous year and eliminates the period of time spent having to 'get to know each other' every year. Cornerstone Montessori School offers a unique and important environment where children can establish a positive foundation and an enthusiastic joy of learning, become familiar with classroom routines, build social strong social relationships, and complete three years within the same school.