Skinner’s Elementary School is 1st through 6th grades. The Elementary program includes French lessons five days a week. Each classroom has an average enrollment of 20 students. Skinner is among the few schools in the area that have both a full-time teacher and assistant per elementary classroom. To assure your child’s readiness and to answer any questions, it is strongly recommended that a classroom observation be arranged.


Elementary Curriculum – 

In Montessori, biology is another chapter in the unfolding of the universe to the elementary child. Life on earth is a natural part of the environment, and it is part  of the child’s existence. When studying plants and animals at the elementary, we must always relate the function to the part, or in other words, we must give physiology.

It is the function that explains the reason for behavior, for example: the leaves are the part of the plant that makes the food for the whole plant. Since they need light to perform this, they grow toward the light. The roots have a job of providing the water needed by the leaves for making food. So, the reason the roots grow toward water in the ground is to collect it to send to the leaves to make food.

Biology is not treated just as the studying of plants and animals for the sake of studying alone, but as understanding the relationship between plants and the earth, plants and other plants, and plants and animals. A child becomes aware that plants and animals take from the earth, but they also, give back. With this process of giving and taking, each organism performs a cosmic task. This awareness triggers new explorations and new revelations. Our desire since the child’s sense of responsibility has been built by degrees, in relation to plants and animals, as well as in other areas of the class, she will act responsibly in regards to nature, making choices to reserve the delicate balance between earth and nature. The child will be prepared and equipped with the knowledge and understanding of all the factors involved. The child will know that this is a world that has taken many millenniums for life to adjust, for balance to be reached.  She will know that Humans, unlike animals, have the power to alter the nature of their world. She will be fully aware that life and nature are being asked to make adjustments to the synthetic creations of the Human inventive mind. The child will be aware that the earth’s vegetation is an essential part of life, and that an intimate and essential relationship exists between plants and the earth, plants and other plants, and plants and animals. The awareness of all these factors will make the child realize that, if she must disturb these delicate relationships, she must do so thoughtfully and responsibly, with full awareness that what she does may have consequences remote in time and space.

-This introduction to biology is taken from lecture notes of Margaret Stephensen, the trainer who began the Montessori movement in the United States.

Foreign Language
Skinner Elementary Montessori has developed its own phonetic French program modeled on the phonetic approach of the Montessori method. After a year or two of French phonetics, the students are ready for beginning conversational French and more advanced grammar. Skinner has received national recognition through the National French contest. More about the French program.

Geography (Physical & Political)
The Montessori method breaks geography into two areas: physical and IMG_0219political. In physical geography, children learn about land and water formations, as well as the workings of the earth’s elements upon these. Experiments in erosion, the three states of matter and changes in the earth’s crust reinforce the students’ learning by giving them sensorial as well as intellectual stimuli. Global maps are introduced first, then hemispheres, continents and countries. Students learn about world trade, imports, exports and natural resources. The needs of humanity; food; shelter; clothing; defenses and transportation are represented in such a way that the child understands these are basic needs and why different cultures meet these needs differently.


When we think about the psychological characteristics of the 6 to 9, they are interested in analyzing and finding relationships related to the factual knowledge gathered in the Primary class (2 1/2 – 5 years): these children want to know the reason why. The 6 to 12 year old children take great joy in intellectual activity. Geometry is very well suited for this second plane of development (6 to 12 years). The geometry materials are creative in nature by the way they are constructed, because they give the children numerous opportunities to form their own abstractions. We are not going to get into the laws that govern geometry-theorems, but our materials, in many cases, allow the children to demonstrate the major theorems. Just as with the other subject areas, we are not doing geometry with the children for the sake of learning geometry, but rather our presentations have the overall purpose of providing the children with a structure for their intellectual development. Geometry is a wonderful format for providing the children with the opportunity for logical reasoning, deductive reasoning, and in forming abstractions.

-This introduction to the Montessori Elementary geometry material is taken from the lecture notes of Margaret Stephensen; who is responsible for the Montessori movement in the United States.

At the Skinner Elementary School, the subject of history includes both natural and political history. In natural history, students begin with the evolution of plant and animal life. They learn that life is in harmony with nature and that it progresses by means of heredity, variation, and mutation. The study of political history is the history of man on the earth. It begins with the Stone Age and concludes with the history of their country.

The study of political history introduces the concept of cultural revolution and the process of man-made changes to the world. Students examine artifacts, man’s migration, and the establishment of nationalism.

Children locate old and new civilizations on maps. They discuss the problems man faced in each civilization and how these problems differ in each historical era. Discussions of how religion and art developed help emphasize the development of civilization.

Teaching children italic handwriting is logical because the printed and cursive forms have the same letter shapes. Once a child masters the printed italic, he or she can quickly master cursive italic by connecting the ending strokes (serifs) of the individual letters. This strong similarity between formal and cursive letters makes it possible for students to master cursive writing earlier than if other methods were used. Skinner has received international recognition for its Italic program.

Most of us were introduced to arithmetic as an abstract, intellectual concept. The Montessori method calls for a sensorial approach, initially. These materials are used to introduce the concept of the decimal system. Children progress through the basic rudiments of mathematics from addition, multiplication, subtraction, division, fractions and weights and measures at their own speed. This same approach helps the child move on quickly to the more advanced concepts of squaring, cubing, square roots, non-decimal bases, algebra and geometry.

The three steps to understanding music are absorption, exploration and composition. Absorption is best accomplished through watching and listening. Exploration is accomplished through imitation, singing and directed lessons. elem_musicComposition occurs when the child puts the elements of music (rhythm, pitch, intensity and tonal quality) together. A combination of the intellectual and sensorial approach helps the child move to this final state. The understanding of the basic elements of music leads naturally to the discussion of the same elements in poetry and language.