Program Overview

SMS teaching methods follow the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori by giving each child the freedom of choice and individual learning opportunities. In each classroom, the children work by themselves or with a partner, receive small-group lessons, or join large-group work.

Multi-Age Class Groupings

Each class has students with approximately a three-year age span. This allows younger children to learn by observing older students. And older students have an opportunity to develop leadership skills by serving as role models to the younger children.

Four Program Levels

  • Toddler classes are for children aged 18 months to three years old
  • Children’s House classes are for children three to six years old
  • Lower Elementary classes are for students in first grade through third grade
  • Upper Elementary classes are for students in fourth through sixth grade

Progression and Highlights when moving from Children’s House to Elementary Years [PDF]

Individualized Instruction

Every child is allowed to work at their own level. The Montessori teacher observes each child and their natural interests and abilities to create. The teacher then presents work to meet the academic and social needs and development of the child.

Prepared Environment

In a Montessori classroom, children are surrounded by concrete materials that enhance and explain what they are studying. All items in the classroom are scaled to the child’s size, including furniture, utensils, and the Montessori materials themselves. Children are encouraged to interact with their environment.

Uninterrupted Work Periods

An important aspect of a Montessori classroom is long stretches of uninterrupted work time which recognizes and respects individual variations in each child’s learning process. During the work period, students are given time to work through various tasks and responsibilities at their own pace without interruption. A child’s work cycle involves selecting an activity, performing the activity for as long as they are interested in it, cleaning up the activity and returning it to the shelf, and then selecting another activity. During the work period, teachers support and monitor the students’ work and provide individual and small-group lessons. The uninterrupted work period facilitates the development of coordination, concentration, independence, order, and the assimilation of information.

For more information, visit the American Montessori Society website.

Grace and Courtesy

SMS teachers foster the development of the whole child, engaging children not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well. Students are friendly, polite, and respect one another. In the Montessori curriculum, teaching children these skills is called Grace and Courtesy. Students practice simple lessons such as how to greet others, say please and thank you, and keep work spaces tidy. At the core of these lessons is respect for others, self, and the environment. Students are creative in their work, yet disciplined and focused. They take initiative by choosing their work independently which teaches them self-reliance, and translates in to being a self-confident and joyful learner.

Care and Respect for the Environment

At Shrewsbury Montessori School, students of all ages are given opportunities to perform tasks that promote care and respect of the environment. These opportunities are provided through Practical Life exercises in the Children’s House program and daily jobs in the Elementary program. These activities enable students to care for themselves, take care of the environment, and develop respect for others. Caring for the environment encourages the child to interact with the environment, and exhibit respect and appreciation for their surroundings. This, ultimately, allows the child to find a personal responsibility towards the environment and nature. Activities such as dish washing, watering plants, folding clothes, hanging up a coat on a hanger, tying shoes and sweeping call to the child and offers much towards the development of the personality.

Peace Education

Peace education and conflict resolution is an integral part of the Montessori curriculum at SMS. Everyday experiences in a supportive community allow children to express their needs, feelings, and emotions while also allowing them to develop sympathy, empathy, and appreciation for human differences. Children learn negotiation and conflict resolution skills through daily interactions with others. Children’s House classrooms have a “peace rose” where two students can go to resolve a conflict. Children learn to take turns holding the “peace rose” while speaking about how they feel with the goal of resolving their conflict. With very young children, adults model and coach the children with words they can use. Older students do this independently. Elementary students may participate in classroom meetings where conflicts are discussed, brainstormed, and resolved as a group.

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