Our Programs - Upper Elementary
In the upper elementary classroom (fourth through sixth grade, or ages nine to 12), content is not presented in “course subject” form; instead, ideas and concepts are explored across the breadth and to the depth demanded by the child. For example, flowers are not just observed in books or through the window. The flower (possibly cultivated by the child) is brought into the environment, touched, named, identified by parts, compared and contrasted with other plants (temporally and historically), reviewed within its life cycle, located in the world, etc. Thus, education is more about experiencing and relationships than dissemination of isolated facts from a pre-selected course of study. The senses are engaged whenever possible, aiding in the child’s natural capacity to learn.
In the natural order of development, the child is now more capable of understanding the abstract and visionary elements of life. Thus, in the upper elementary, the child is further transitioning from concrete to abstract appreciation of life. The educational process continues to follow the child through its inherent flexibility and adaptability. The teacher remains the facilitator or guide, assessing and then challenging the child’s natural curiosity.
Social development takes on a more prominent development at this age. Individual morals and values are further established, particularly within the framework of peers. The sense of self is expanded beyond personal experience. Abstract experiencing through literature, arts, etc. further develops and can modify the child’s sense of self. Decision-making skills and problem-solving skills are self-tested, and success is qualified as learning from both the positive and negative experiences of life.
Advisors in the Upper Elementary program serve as a critical link between home and school. Each Upper Elementary student is paired with an advisor and usually remains with that person for the duration of their time in the program. Advisors maintain a big picture view on their advisee's social, emotional, and academic experience and serve as the first point of contact for families when questions about school arise. During the three-year Upper Elementary cycle, advisors and students form a bond that sets the foundation for learning and growth.
The 9-12 teaching team embraces their responsibility to educate the whole child as they meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of each of their students. They provide an environment where children are engaged in their education, feel safe to learn, and are able to communicate their needs and feelings with the teaching staff and their peers. The ultimate goal is for students to have the skills they need to be successful when they leave the environment.
A 9-12 Overview
Grade-Level Lessons Children at this age want to know why the Universe is as it is, how it came to be that way, and are ready to dig into a deeper layer of understanding. Lessons are meant to answer those questions, develop the critical-thinking habits to find their own answers, and to spark curiosity. Most lessons are taught in groups by grade level, and some have multi-age groupings. These follow a consistent weekly schedule and last approximately 45 minutes. Assignments are given that need to be completed by that lesson the next week. Teachers have lessons with all students all three years which helps build community, facilitate learning, and strengthen teaching teams.
Work Time/Assignments When students are not in direct lessons, they have work time to choose what assignments to work on and plan their day. The consistent schedule allows children to learn how to manage their time, ask questions of teachers one-on-one, work with peers, and build strong executive functioning skills. Freedom of movement and choice are part of every day. This empowers children to take ownership of their education and build strong work habits.
Accommodating Different Skills/Interests Our goal is to set children up for success, challenge them to build new skills and knowledge, and to help them build confidence and competency in many areas of study. There are accommodations made on assignments for children with an individual plan. There are learning extensions that are available for students particularly interested in a subject area. Those learning extension ideas might come from the teacher, from the materials on the shelves, or from the student. We strive to challenge and foster creativity and a continued love of learning.
Completing the Cycle
Concrete to Abstract Montessori materials and curriculum are the foundation of all TNSM programs. Students work with hands-on materials to help integrate new concepts on a deep level, though they move to abstraction more quickly at this age. The (9-12) program also pulls in resources from many outside sources and introduces students to technology- typing, Microsoft Office, and Google.
Senior Project This is a capstone year long research project each 6th grader completes. They choose a topic, spend months researching, write a 10-35 page paper, and become experts on their topic. This work culminates in a formal presentation to a large public audience where they present their topic in a 3-7 minute speech along with their PowerPoint presentation. Some past topics: Sharks, Google, Alfred Hitchcock, Quantum Physics, Galapagos Islands, Neil deGrasse Tyson, History of Baseball, The Simpsons, and so much more! They work through this project with one-on-one editorial support from their homeroom teacher. They receive individualized writing lessons and are ready for any research writing project they will encounter in the future. It has been wonderful to hear from so many alumni who have entered professions as adults that directly relate to their Senior Project topics.
Standardized Testing All (9-12) students take one standardized test each semester. This serves as another type of assessment for teachers, but is primarily practical life practice with test-taking skills. We use either the MAPS Growth tests which are nationally-used, standardized tests.
Head of School - Hanane Zayer
Hanane Zayer has been at C'E Montessori for four years and is our Head of School. Her work centers around maintaining a top-tier Primary and Elementary program while creating cohesion through the curriculum and in our Montessori practice. She supports our teaching staff in developing curriculum and creating the best possible study paths for children at our school. She drives social initiatives at our school. In this, Hanane works hard in creating and maintaining a school environment that is inclusive to all children, teachers and people and works with our neighborhood and communities to partner for the good of the community at large. She organizes our yearly STEM Fair, inviting schools in Williamsburg, and Montessori schools beyond to participate in the event. She also coordinates our school spelling bee and prepares us to compete each year in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She was born and raised in Queens and her family comes from Morocco. She is an experienced Elementary trained Montessori teacher but has also worked at more traditional schools in NYC and in Charlotte, NC. She loves cartoons, board-games, rugby and gardening.
Elementary Teacher and Coordinator - Ashton
Ashton is a Lead Elementary teacher. They are responsible for the Math and Science curriculum in our Elementary school and its alignment with the cultural curriculum in our Primary program. Like many other Montessori Elementary programs, C’E Montessori does not include screens in the 1st-4th grade classroom. Ashton has used different resources like Cubetto and First Lego League to ensure that children at C’E Montessori are coding and experimenting with robotics as early as Kindergarten. They use and develop a problem solving curriculum featuring the design cycle to constantly challenge students to ask questions, find problems, hypothesize, test, and try to come up with solutions to every kind of problem on a daily basis. They are originally from Alabama, where they graduated as an Elementary Level teacher at Auburn, and has lived and taught in New York City now for three years.