Lower Elementary (Grades 1-3)

The Lower Elementary program (grades 1-3) is a multi-age environment designed to meet the social, emotional and academic needs of the 6 to 9 year old. The curriculum provides each child with the opportunity to delve deeply into topics and develop an understanding of the relationships between concepts. Students are assessed through daily observations, discourse, essay writing, rubrics and traditional testing.

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Curriculum Areas


Math manipulatives (hands-on materials) are some of the most elegant and intuitive of the Montessori materials. Daily practice with these materials enables your child to begin to move from concrete to abstract reasoning. Research shows the optimum development of mathematical understanding involves linking the two hemispheres of the brain (the right being concrete/experiential, the left symbolic/linguistic). This natural way of learning concepts is fundamental to the Montessori approach to learning mathematics.

Students learn the four operations (addition, multiplication, subtraction and division), fractions, decimals, estimation, measurement, graphing, word-problems, patterns and relationships. Using two and three-dimensional materials, students learn geometric concepts such as lines, angles and polygons, understanding their parts and discovering relationships. When students are ready, teachers introduce them to advanced math and geometric concepts and activities, with each student progressing at their own pace.

The math curriculum at the Lower Elementary level is aligned with and exceeds the Massachusetts state and national frameworks for math instruction.

Language Arts

Language Arts encompasses reading, writing and literature. Reading is the framework upon which all other elementary studies are built. We use a phonetically-based approach to teach students to read by decoding words and to spell by encoding words. Grammar studies provide the mechanics of writing, allowing students to effectively communicate what they know. Through the writing process, children learn to construct high-quality sentences and paragraphs. Our students embrace the creative process of writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry, learning to edit and revise along the way. In Literature Circles, students discuss and analyze themes while developing strong reading comprehension skills. Our goal is for your child to develop an appreciation and love of literature through the study of different genres.


The Montessori curriculum offers endless opportunities for your child to pursue their interests in history and geography and engage in creative project work. Through this work, students gain skills in inquiry, research, note-taking, collaboration, writing and public speaking.  In Lower Elementary, students work with maps and become aware of geography related to cultures around the world. Through the use of timelines, students gain an appreciation for historical events along a continuum from the beginning of time.


In Lower Elementary students become proficient in using the scientific method to answer questions about the world around them. Experiments in life, earth and physical sciences allow your child to view life through the lens of a scientist. Students develop skills in formulating hypotheses, taxonomy, measurement, organization, collaboration, research and public speaking. Students have the opportunity to work independently to design an experiment in which they utilize the scientific method and present their findings at our annual school-wide Science Fair.  

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

The STEM curriculum in the lower elementary grades focuses on engaging students in meaningful activities that encourages them to question, problem solve and collaborate. Connecting the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to real life situations captures the imagination of our young scientists, fostering a love of science and math. Students are provided with many hands-on activities and experiments throughout the curriculum, allowing them to work through the Engineering Design Process and the Scientific Method. Throughout the process, students gain a better understanding of how engineers and scientist think and solve problems.

Exposing students at a young age to the wonders of the natural world engenders a spirit of curiosity and love of learning.


During weekly classes, students begin to develop fluency in Spanish by using thematic vocabulary and simple grammatical structures through the repetition of visual-tactile activities, games, songs, conversation, music, and short sentence writing.

Students will:

  • Practice pronunciation
  • Build listening comprehension skills
  • Converse in Spanish during circle time and when performing skits  
  • Explore Hispanic cultures and traditions through a variety of media


Students in grades 1-3 have class once per week.  Through interactive class discussions, students are exposed to influential works of art from across time.  As they discover the important role that art has played around the world, they see how it reflects the values and way of life of the people who made it.  As they create their own works of art in these new styles, students expand their own artistic skills and visual language.  They also develop a deeper understanding of art history and a greater appreciation for other cultures.  Each spring, students select several works for display in the annual Student Art Show.

Open Art Studio allows students to spend additional time in the Art Room on creative projects they are working on in within their academic curriculum.

Students will:

  • Create art using a wide range of materials including: paint, watercolor, yarn, clay, colored pencils, oil pastels, wire, foil, and wood
  • Learn about the art of influential cultures and historical periods including: Ancient Egyptian art, Greco-Roman art, Medieval & Renaissance art, Native American art, African art, Asian art, and Oceanic art
  • Develop the ability to analyze art and discuss it with confidence
  • Learn techniques that build drawing, painting, illustration, design and sculpture skills
  • Select their own works of art for exhibit in the hallways
  • Share materials and speak about the artwork of others in a respectful manner, building a safe environment in which creativity can blossom


ASM’s Health Program engages students in thinking critically about health and healthy behaviors. Students set individual health goals and track their progress. Topics such as the value of good nutrition, positive decision-making and predicting consequences, and Internet safety are discussed. ASM’s Health Program is taught in collaboration with the Physical Education teacher the School Nurse, and guest speakers.

The  curriculum is based upon the Great Body Shop ®. Teaching methods include lecture, demonstration, projects, discussions, and role playing, among others.  We acknowledge that you are your child’s primary health educator and we value your partnership. Your child will bring home materials so that you are aware of the lessons being presented and be involved in their class work.  

In Lower Elementary, your child learns about emotional health and its relationship to physical health, anatomy and physiology, safety, preventative health measures, exercise and relaxation techniques.  

Library, Media and Technology

The Lower Elementary library program is designed to support independent and assigned reading, writing, research, technology integration, and projects across the curriculum. In addition to weekly lessons, your child will have the opportunity to visit the library to work alone or with peers on inquiry projects. Close collaboration between classroom teachers and the Library Media Specialist help students apply skills they are learning in library class to Montessori curriculum topics in STEM, geography, science, history and literature.

Students will:

  • Research planets, constellations and read stories of the sky in different cultures
  • Conduct country studies for United Nations Day
  • Read biographies and take notes in graphic organizers
  • Learn concepts of computer science using
  • Use iPads for content creation and collaboration
  • Explore literary elements such as character, setting, and plot, write poetry, stories and plays
  • Perform in Readers Theatre
  • Learn keyboarding (third-year students)


Singing, movement and playing instruments are the areas of concentration in weekly Lower Elementary music lessons. While students routinely incorporate music into presentations throughout the year, they also have the opportunity to perform in the school-wide Winter Concert in December.

Students will:

  • Learn to understand elements of music such as pitch, temp0, meter, rhythm and form
  • Sing and play instruments in an ensemble, following a conductor
  • Read basic music notation
  • Explore the science of sound through making instruments like kazoos and box zithers
  • Develop an appreciation for a wide variety of genres of music

Third year students learn to play the soprano recorder and read music notation. Their musical year culminates with a performance at their Moving-Up ceremony in June.

Physical Education

The mission of our physical education program is to provide students with a safe and positive physical environment while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

In Lower Elementary, students engage in a variety of cooperative activities and team oriented games which will develop intermediate locomotor skills and athletic ability. In addition, the students will learn to take initiative, act as leaders, exhibit good sportsmanship and contribute effectively within a team. Lower Elementary students meet twice a week and will learn to play soccer, basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, football, dance, participate in agility drills and adventure games.

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