What does it mean to be Montessori?

Written by Sherrie Snipes-Williams

On April 8, 2014

Did you know…? Did you know that one of our four CPNLC schools is a Montessori school? What does that mean? Well, the Montessori model is a different method of teaching. Rather than being grouped by age in grades, students from multiple grade levels are all in the same class, but have individual learning plans. Students in grades 1-3 are considered “Lower Elementary” and grades 4-6 are “Upper Elementary.”


Technology and Arts Infusion While the students are busy working on their artwork, they take turns using an iPad application called “Art Studio.”  They experiment with the different tools to create art with the iPad.  James Simons’ 5th and 6th graders will soon begin a photography course with volunteers from non-profit organizations, YoArt! and Enough Pie.  They will be using iPads to photograph and interview people in the community surrounding James Simons Elementary School.

93Celebration of Life In the Montessori model, birthdays are viewed as a Celebration of Life.  In the ceremony, the student walks around the sun, holding a globe to symbolize the number of years he/she has been alive. Pictures of the student are shown from each year of his/her life. This is also a great opportunity for parents and families to share their child’s life by telling the story of their child.  The ceremony is often accompanied with a read aloud story, On the Day You Were Born.

The Stamp Game 
is a series of games used in the Lower Elementary Montessori classroom to teach the decimal system. It is slightly more abstract because the hierarchies of numbers (1,000’s, 100’s, 10’s, 1’s) are the same size and the symbol and quantity are combined into a single piece.  


94VanGogh  Student artists at James Simons are currently learning about Vincent VanGogh and his artwork.  At the center of the lessons is VanGogh’s most famous painting, “Starry Night.”  Under the direction of art teacher Lea Wagner, students are creating their own versions of “Starry Night” and are painting their pieces using watercolor pencils.