Maria Montessori envisioned education for the elementary child as holistic, purposeful, and comprehensive. She saw the goal of education as “the development of a complete human being, oriented to the environment, and adapted to his or her time, place, and culture.” There are three key elements in our AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) recognized programs:
1. The Child
All Montessori programs are comprised of mixed ages, in a three to four year age range. There are roughly 10 children of each age in a classroom community at any given time. This mix allows children to be part of a community with younger and older children as well as age peers. The students learn patience and new skills by interacting with and observing children at different stages of development.
2. The Well-Trained Teacher
Children learn in individual ways and at their own pace. The Montessori teacher is a trained observer who will guide each child’s progress in the classroom. Each classroom community at Chesapeake Montessori is guided by one AMI-trained teacher, and one assistant to the teacher. Classroom activities include individual lessons, small group lessons and whole class lessons. Children acquire self-discipline through learning to make choices in their work, learning to plan and manage their school day, and having the opportunity to become deeply involved in their activities. Freedom and responsibility are both developed through purposeful work chosen by the child. Each environment provides appropriate freedom and appropriate limits to ensure a peaceful and busy environment.
3. The Prepared Environment
Montessori classrooms are equipped with specially designed materials to aid the child in acquisition or refinement of skills, to allow exploration of concept, and to make abstract concepts real through work of the hand. Our environments foster a sense of community appropriate to the age of the child. This sense of community grows into understanding of others, a sense of belonging, and a desire to offer help and encouragement to others. Older children are encouraged to apply this sense of purpose to the wider community through service projects.
At Chesapeake Montessori, we offer an educational home for your child from 18 months through 8th grade. We call this span “the Montessori continuum”. Each program prepares the child for the next step in their development. As a student progresses throughout the continuum, each transition is handled with care based upon their readiness. New concepts build upon the foundation established in their younger years.
Young Child Community | 18 – 36 months
Monday – Friday
Half Day 8:30 AM – 11:45 AM
Half Day + Nap 8:30 AM – 3:15 PM
Your child may begin his or her Montessori journey at Chesapeake Montessori as early as 18 months in our Young Child Community (YCC). Some Montessori schools call this the “Toddler Community”. In a traditional school or daycare center, this class would be considered “Pre-K 2”. What makes the Montessori approach different from typical daycare or preschool is that our environment and curriculum are scientifically developed to support the needs of the child as they transition from babyhood to childhood. Independence, separation, social skills, routines, and daily life work are central parts of the young child’s “schooling”. Early foundations for music, language, math, and spatial learning are also established. Click here to explore our Young Child Community Program.
Primary Community | 3 – 6.5 years
Monday – Friday
Half Day 8: 30 AM – 12:00 PM (3 – 4.5 years)
Half Day + Nap 8:30 AM – 3:15 PM (3 – 4.5 years)
Extended Day 8:30 AM – 3:15 PM (4.5 – 6.5 years)
When the young child begins to show signs of readiness to move into a larger, more stimulating environment, the YCC guide will initiate a transition into one of our Primary environments. We have three Primary Community classrooms here at CMS, each with 24-36 children ranging from 3 to 6.5 years of age. Some of our younger Primary students stay for lunch and an afternoon nap rather than going home at noon. When a student is around 4.5 – 5 years of age, they will begin to show signs of readiness to move from Primary “Half Day” or “Napping” to join our “Extended Day” program, and work on more advanced concepts in a second three-hour afternoon work period. The class sizes and balanced mix of ages and genders form a vibrant community of “first plane” students, who independently explore concrete concepts using a wide array of unique tactile materials. The Primary children enjoy music and art incorporated into their daily work, as well as supplemental French and physical education. Click here to explore our Primary Community Program.
Elementary Community | 6 – 12 years
Monday – Friday 8:30 AM – 3:15 PM
It is an exciting transition when a Primary Extended Day child “flies up” to become a first year student in our Lower Elementary. The Lower Elementary class consists of 24-36 children ranging from 6 to 9 years of age. Students of this age are all abuzz with the excitement and big ideas of the second plane. They are blossoming socially, beginning to think abstractly, and are adding intangible ideas and nuance to the concrete concepts they learned in their Primary years. The Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary classrooms both have many of the same engaging tactile materials you see in the Primary environments, but the lessons taught with those materials are much more advanced.
Upon entering their fourth year in the Elementary Program, the child transitions to our Upper Elementary classroom. This class is similar to the Lower Elementary, in that the children are still in the second plane of development and are exploring cosmic education, or the great big stories of the universe. However, these 9 to 12-year-olds have progressed socially, work more collaboratively in larger groups, and are doing even more abstract thinking. With social needs becoming more pronounced, our Upper Elementary guides often guide the students in becoming good citizens in the classroom and beyond. Upper Elementary children dig deep into advanced math, science, and language skills. Both Elementary classes continue with incorporated music, art, and drama, and supplemental French and physical education. Click here to explore our Elementary Community Program.
Adolescent Community Program | 12 – 15 years
Monday – Friday 8:30 AM – 3:15 PM
Our seventh and eighth year students are on the precipice of another highly “sensitive period” in their development. As they become fledgling adults and begin to separate from childhood, they are extremely focused on social needs. Our Adolescent Program was established in 2012 to meet the needs of the Montessori adolescent during this incredibly important time. Currently located in our Elementary building on our main campus, the AP will soon be transitioning to a second campus in Arnold– a mini farm. Montessori pedagogy teaches that the farm school is the preferred model for adolescent learning, as it creates a vehicle for “real work” and true collaboration to happen. At this age, the land and the adults are the materials, and the teenagers move away from the traditional Montessori tactile materials. They are guided by the AP practitioners to run the community democratically, make decisions and disagree peacefully, and manage the class micro-economy, all while continually progressing academically and preparing for eighth grade graduation and the big transition to high school. Click here to explore our Adolescent Community Program.
We invite you to learn more about Montessori education and the life and work of Maria Montessori. The below video was created by Trevor Eissler, a parent of Montessori students and author of Montessori Madness:
Montessori Today, by Paula Polk Lillard
Maria Montessori, A Biography, by Rita Kramer