Structure of the Program
The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim therefore is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to tough his imagination as to enthuse him to his inmost core.
The GSCM lower elementary program serves children ages 6-9 (grades 1-3). There are two self-contained lower elementary environments each with a full-time Montessori directress and a full-time assistant. A Montessori-trained support specialist works in both environments to help identify individual needs of the children and adjust curriculum accordingly. Curriculum specialists include: art, music, Spanish, and PE teachers, an Intervention specialist, and an Orton-Gillingham tutor. Students spend a 2 hr. work cycle in the atrium each week with 2 certified catechists.
The prepared environment for the lower elementary program is in the main school building on the upper level. Two self-contained classrooms offer a full array of Montessori materials. The environments are connected and students move freely between rooms during lunch and at select “community” times. The outdoor playscape is utilized by students each morning and during recess.
Who is the Lower Elementary Child?
The lower elementary child (ages 6-9) is at the beginning of the second plane of development, moving from infancy to childhood. It marks a major transition of growth into a new child. The sensorial child of the first plane now transforms into the reasoning elementary child. Physical development is rather steady, but there are large strides in intellectual development moving from the concrete to the abstract. The elementary child’s growing imagination is the key to presenting cultural subjects that give a vision of the universe. This becomes the basis of the cosmic curriculum around which the entire elementary experience rotates. The elementary child begins to ask “WHY?” and desires to know how the world works and how it all fits into God’s universal plan of Creation.
Elements of GSCM’s Upper Elementary Curriculum
5 Great Lessons
Integrated Cultural Studies
Language rich environments
Orton-Gillingham lessons (phonics and spelling)
Structured Word Inquiry
Excellence in Writing program
Integrated reading throughout curriculum
Emphasis on Montessori materials
Decimal system and theory of numbers
Mastery of addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division facts
Mathematics applications (money, measurement, statistics, time, etc.)
Based on sensorial works in Preprimary
Vocabulary, concepts, application
Workshops and outings based on curriculum content
Student work plans
Assigned work and choice work
Research and projects
Level II Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Art/music 1x per week
Spanish 2x per week
Fine Arts Fair
Education between the ages of six to twelve is not a direct continuation of that which has gone before, though it is built upon that basis. Psychologically there is a decided change in personality, and we recognize that nature has made this a period for the acquisition of culture, just as the former was for the absorption of the environment.