Lower Elementary Program (Grades 1, 2, & 3)
Mastery Learning & Student Agency
A child who looks forward to school each day may seem like a dream, but at Milwaukee Montessori School, it’s our reality. Our students often tell us how much they love their lessons and being in their classrooms. This is the part where you think, “Yeah, right” and click to another page. But there are two reasons MMS students love to come to school.
The first is that we design environments that lead to student agency; which refers to learning through activities that are meaningful and relevant to children, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated with appropriate guidance from teachers. To put it simply, student agency gives students voice and often, choice, in how they learn.
The second reason is that, unlike other schools that “cover material,” and move at the pace determined by a teacher or a school district, our students move ahead when they have mastered the content. It may seem like that could take a long time, but once students are fully prepared to move ahead, they do so at a steady pace because there are no gaps in their knowledge. In fact, mastery is key to accelerating learning and results in a transformative and joyful student experience.
Milwaukee Montessori School’s Lower Elementary (LE) curriculum is built around core academic subjects: Geography, Botany, Zoology, Geologic and Contemporary History, Mathematics, Geometry, and Language Arts. LE Students also receive lessons in Spanish, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Studio Art, Athletics and, in third grade, Technology.
Skills such as reading fluency and comprehension, writing, and math are routinely assessed by the LE teachers and through on-line adaptive technologies. The daily Lower Elementary homework assignment includes 20-minutes of reading aloud from an assigned non-fiction book and 10-minutes of math practice using the ordered triplets technique.
Lower Elementary students and teachers benefit from out-of-the-classroom resources, such as field trips to theatrical performances, food gardens, local cultural exhibits, and participate regularly in community service. A one-hour lunch period includes ample time for socializing and outdoor play.