Lower Elementary

ssmaA Shining Stars Montessori Academy Lower Elementary education is tailored for each child. It also covers more than just the traditional academic curricula area; it is an education of the whole child: cognitively, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.  The curriculum follows the child instead of forcing the child to follow the curriculum along with every other child at the same time. By following and studying the child, teachers can match their efforts and provide appropriate jobs and environments tailored to the child’s developmental needs. 
Lower Elementary serves in many ways as a continuation of the foundation built in the Primary classrooms. New work is added to help the student continue to progress, ensuring growth across the physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual realms. Montessori materials are laid out in an organized fashion throughout the classroom, at levels that are appropriate for children in this age range. The entire classroom is designed with the children’s needs in mind.

Math concepts at Shining Stars are aligned with the Common Core and presented in a logical sequence, beginning with the concrete and leading to the abstract.  Understanding takes precedence over memorization, which develops through repeated work with the operations. Through student work with the Montessori and other supporting materials, LE students are introduced to advanced mathematical concepts.  Operations are presented in the following order: addition, multiplication, division, and subtraction.

Geometrical concepts that are introduced at the sensorial level in the Primary Program, are explored further through the use of Montessori materials in Lower Elementary.  The study of geometric solids, lines, angles, basic shapes, plane figures, polygons, and quadrilaterals form an important foundation for further exploration of geometrical concepts.

Language studies include multiple forms of learning in the Montessori Lower Elementary classroom.  Reading and writing are widely used forms of language development both through formal activities and daily interactions in all forms of communication. Students also focus on vocabulary development and word study. Through introduction to research, students also learn about paraphrasing, applying appropriate grammar and conceptual analysis, as well as developing oral presentations and performances to share their learning. All language curriculum is in alignment with Montessori standards and the District of Columbia Common Core State Standards.

ssmaScience & Cultural Studies including the “Great Lessons”
In the Lower Elementary classroom, science and cultural studies are a central part of the Shining Stars Montessori students’ learning.  Lessons are planned in both history and geography.  Science lessons span the areas of geology, botany, zoology, physical science, and the scientific method. The Lower Elementary classroom also includes the “Great Lessons”: the Coming of the Universe, the Coming of Life, the Coming of Humans, the Coming of Language, and the Coming of Numbers.
Peace Education
The peace curriculum is a central part of Shining Stars Montessori Academy education.  The focus of the lessons include problem-solving among peers, the cause of conflicts and why some conflicts lead to violence, as well as considering alternative solutions and problem-solving techniques. 

Field Trips/"Going Out"
Maria Montessori called for “going out” to be an integral part of the elementary child’s education. Nature walks, field trips to Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, the Smithsonian museums, Frederick Douglas House and the National Colonial Farm in Acoceek are just some of the places we visit over the three-year cycle of the Lower Elementary Program.

ssmaCommunity Service
Students are encouraged to bring forth areas of need in the community they are interested in making better.  This helps develop awareness of the needs of others in their community.  

Music (Instrumental & Voice)
Music is an integral part of the Montessori philosophy. Consistent exposure to musical instruments, musical note work, and rhythm and melody work are a core part of the Shining Stars Academy philosophy of holistic development of the child. 

Regular art lessons are included in the Lower Elementary classroom.  Lessons span the scope of visual arts, including drawing, painting, and sculpting.

Physical Education/Health and Wellness 
In addition to extracurricular physical education options, regular physical education is included in the Lower Elementary classroom.

World Language Exploration at SSMA
Spanish is taught for 90 minutes each week as part of the afternoon work cycle with the children learning everyday terminology and grammar that they will need to converse in the classroom.