Montessori Elementary students are divided into two communities: Lower Elementary for ages 6-9 (comparable to 1st – 3rd grade) and Upper Elementary for ages 9-12 (comparable to 4th – 6th grade).
At Aidan there are two Lower Elementary classrooms containing approximately 25 children each, and one Upper Elementary classroom for about 20 children. Each classroom has one Montessori trained teacher and an assistant, and they are all served by the Art, Music, Foreign Language and Physical Education teachers, as well as a Tutoring specialist and a Library/Media specialist.
The Elementary Montessori curriculum is extraordinarily comprehensive and perfectly suited to the needs of 6-12 year olds. Children this age are intensely curious and very social. A “let’s go find out” atmosphere prevails. Children research answers to questions using classroom materials, the library media center and community resources. While Montessori Toddler and Primary classrooms are characterized by a ‘quiet hum’ as children work individually or in pairs, Elementary classrooms are notable for the sounds of exuberant students working together in groups.
Elementary teachers use “The Great Stories” as a springboard for interdisciplinary learning. Each of these lessons is a jumping-off point to key academic areas. These stories spark the imagination of Elementary students and give them a context for further study. Instead of approaching schoolwork as discrete subjects, Montessori Elementary students discover the interrelationship between topics and understand how math, language, science and history are important. This reflects the way the world really operates and how adults solve problems.
As students move up in the Elementary program, Montessori studies become increasingly complex and abstract as the students' minds and capabilities develop. Students spend more time doing research leading up to a formal exhibition in the sixth year. Upper Elementary students collaborate with their teachers in evaluation of their work as they take on more responsibility for their own learning.
All Elementary students take field trips throughout the year, exploring the wide variety of museums and cultural experiences available in Washington, DC. Upper Elementary students go on a special four day, three night trip to Maryland’s Echo Hill Outdoor School in the fall.
Aidan’s Elementary program is a great place to ‘learn how to learn’ and lay a strong academic foundation.Because these students are together for so many years, they also hone their social skills, develop empathy, and build lasting friendships. Elementary students leave Aidan remarkably confident and poised and ready for middle school and beyond.