In Maria Montessori International Academy, the Elementary program (grades 1-3) is focused on developing the whole child through interaction with an interdisciplinary curriculum, designed specifically to meet the needs of children at this stage of development. This curriculum is implemented through the use of extensive timelines which allow the child to discover the interrelatedness of all living things.


Language is an important part of the Montessori curriculum. Its treatment as a separate subject come only at the points in which it is necessary to give clarity to the child’s mind – that is, to give each student a conscious awareness of language in order that it may be used more effectively. Once the child has an understanding that writing is a graphic form of language, these special points graduate toward spelling, word study, penmanship, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization, later followed by reading quality literature and creative writing.


In MMIA, elementary students learn how to read, write, and speak French and/or Spanish. Depending upon the curriculum, native French- or Spanish-speaking teachers are conversing daily the respective languages so students can practice their conversational skills with each other. The goal for each child is to read and write in a different language. In addition, the students gain a cultural understanding of different countries.


As in other parts of the Montessori curriculum, a student’s experience with a material comes first, and then the spoken language or naming. This is followed by the symbolic representation or written symbol. In Montessori mathematics, this sequence is referred to as “quantity, symbol, and association.” Such concepts taught include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, squaring, decimals, estimation, and percentages. Also, with Montessori, students are able to grasp a foundational understanding of these concepts.


Geometry lessons are experienced sensorily through manipulation of both plane and solid geometric figures. These materials induce a creative activity that encloses two- and three-dimensional construction of various forms, artistic drawings, and ornamentation. For example, most children would recognize a certain geometric image — with four partially overlapping circles — as a flower. However, to a Montessori child, it is a quatrefoil, a design commonly found in architecture. This is just one of many examples of how the Montessori method integrates several disciplines into one lesson.


Dr. Montessori felt that social studies and science should be integrated into the classroom, as they are in life. Therefore, no clear distinctions exist among any of the various areas included in this section when they are studied in the classroom. This sequence is comprised of a Human Relations curriculum that serves as an organizing center in the “cultural” subjects, especially geography and history. Anthropology, astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, economics, geology, government, philosophy, physics, political behavior, sociology, and zoology are also included.


The teacher aids the child in the development of skill in order that the child may creatively express himself or herself through various media. The teacher introduces geometrical drawings, geographical maps, architecture and physics, which are tightly interwoven with other parts of the overall curriculum. Weekly professional art lessons through the Indianapolis Art Center’s “ArtReach” program are also provided.


Singing provides children with a repertoire of melodies that they can use when producing and analyzing music. The feelings expressed by a piece of music, such as a folk song or composition of a great composer, can be absorbed by children. All Elementary students participate in the Montessori Bells and singing classes to help acquire an ability to read music. Private piano lessons are available after school through a private teacher. Arrangements are made between the families and piano teacher.


“There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of differing ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness. There is respect for the environment and for the individuals within it, which comes through experience of freedom within the community.”
— Dr. Maria Montessori

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