Below is a description the Cypress Junction Montessori’s curriculum in the core academic areas, illustrating how we will prepare students to achieve the Next Generation Sunshine State and Common Core Standards.

Cypress Junction Montessori will use the specialized education program of the Montessori Method to guide curriculum. All of the core academic areas are fully integrated using a cross-curricular approach, resulting in an authentic Montessori education that mimics the nature of society. Integrated curricula tend to make the study of individual subjects or ideas more relevant and related, creating a natural and authentic education. The eccentricities of Montessori education are what make it innovative and effective.

Montessori education is also unique in the manner in which the school day is structured. Each student participates in the community by defining and pursuing his or her own needs and interests. It is truly student directed, teacher-facilitated education which allows for more freedom and personal ownership of the process. For example, students choose their work plan— deciding which assignment and tasks to complete according to their own individual styles. Group work is included in addition to individual work. Group work joins students together for opportunities to approach tasks with their peers. In these groups, students will learn to work cooperatively toward a goal while mentoring each other and being guided by the classroom teachers.

The Montessori curriculum provides an array of specially developed materials and lessons. These encourage children to construct abstract concepts using concrete materials, models, and experiences through self-directed activity, peer collaboration, and teacher interaction. These core materials become less evident as students progress through higher grade levels and begin transition to symbolic and abstract conceptual understandings..

Cypress Junction Montessori strives to meet the following goals for each student:

Development of the Student – Students will see their education as an incredible intellectual and personal journey. They will be independent, confident learners who meet rigorous standards of academic and personal achievement, be excited by and crave learning, and be motivated to take the next steps in their education, community, and work beyond the school.

Academic Achievement – Upon completion of the 8th grade, students will be able to demonstrate proficient or advanced competencies in Core Subjects: Reading, Written and Oral Communication, Mathematics, Science, History and Social Studies, and Geography as defined in the school’s mastery checklists and the Florida Standards. Students will demonstrate habits of self-discipline, intrinsic motivation, persistence, intellectual risk-taking, and independence.

Personal Achievement – Upon completion of the 8th grade, students will be able to evaluate and reflect on their work according to defined criteria. Students will be able to plan and work toward achievable goals through self-directed activity. They will demonstrate Montessori-based values of grace, courtesy, respect, empathy for others, and responsibility.

Community Awareness – Students will understand their place within large communities and be able to contribute productively through peaceful attitudes, effective conflict resolution, creative problem solving, responsible action, and purposeful follow-through. Students will have contributed positively in collaboration with communities through projects and events.

Social Development – Upon completion of 8th grade, students will comprehend and appreciate community in different contexts (global, local, school, classroom) and demonstrate respect for all people and cultural aspects in diverse communities. Students will integrate and apply academic competencies, problem solving, and critical thinking skills to improve a community. Students will apply conflict resolution skills to achieve progress for individuals or a group.

The Great Lessons

During each successive level of education,Cypress Junction Montessori students will interact with Montessori’s Five Great Lessons in increasing depth. These lessons and timelines form the backbone of the History, Geography, Cultural Studies, and Sciences and enhance learning of Mathematics and Language Arts. They are broadly engaging stories that highlight universal themes and encourage vital connections between science and human affairs. The Great Lessons serve to integrate and unify classroom-learning experiences and to inspire children’s sense of wonder, curiosity, and motivation about the world around them.

Montessori Great Lessons:

The Story of the Universe

Timeline of Life

Timeline of Early Humans

The Story of Writing

The Story of Numbers and Mathematics

Language Arts: Great Lesson-The Story of Writing/The Story of Language

Language Arts in the Montessori classroom is easily the most integrated discipline in Montessori education. The concepts of language are required in all the other disciplines in order to obtain the information presented. With this in mind, Cypress Junction Montessori’s Language Arts curriculum is focused on the development of language with an emphasis on writing and analyzing language. Montessori students will focus on the structure of language, to more fully understand using language as a way to interact with their environment.

Handwriting

Control of the hand in preparation for writing is developed through many exercises, including specially designed tasks in the use of the pencil. Such exercises begin with very young children and extend over several years so that mastery is gradually, but thoroughly, attained.

The young children practice making letters from the time of their first initial “explosion into writing” at Primary level:

The use of the knobbed cylinders early in the primary curriculum helps the child develop his/her pincer grip which is necessary for writing.

Moveable Alphabets made up of easily manipulated plastic letters are used for the early stages of phonetic word creation, the analysis of words, and spelling. They facilitate early reading and writing tasks during the period when young children are still not comfortable with their own writing skills. Even before the children are comfortable in their handwriting skills, they spell words, compose sentences and stories, and work on punctuation and capitalization with the moveable alphabets (Primary).

At first, by tracing letters into sand.

Later, by writing on special tilted, upright blackboards: unlined, wide-lined, and narrow-lined.

Later, by writing on special writing tablets, students become comfortable with script.

Cursive writing (Primary)

Word Processing (Primary)

Calligraphy (Upper Elementary)

Composition

At an early age, before handwriting has been mastered, the children compose sentences, stories, and poetry through oral dictation to adults and with the use of the moveable alphabet. Once handwriting is fairly accomplished, the children begin to develop their composition skills. They continue to develop over the years at increasing levels of sophistication.

Preparing written answers to simple questions.

Composing stories to follow a picture series.

Beginning to write stories or poems on given simple themes.

Preparing written descriptions of science experiments.

Preparing written reports.

Learning how to write letters.

By grade three, research skills and the preparation of reports become major components of the educational program. Students research areas of interest or topics that have been assigned in depth, and prepare formal and informal, written and oral reports.

Creative and expository composition skills continue to develop as the children advance from level to level. Students are typically asked to write on a daily basis, composing short stories, poems, plays, reports, and news articles.

In the Upper Elementary and middle school grades, quality literature is used as a springboard. Students will write frequently, putting their thoughts and ideas into written form. Cypress Junction Montessori believes in order to be a successful student and ultimately a successful member of society, one must be able to write in a clear, concise and effective manner. The only way this can happen is if students write often and with feedback given from the teacher and their peers. Middle school begins a point in writing when students can begin to offer each other feedback on their writings, creating a writing community that helps each student grow and achieve.Cypress Junction Montessori will focus on the recursive writing process, teaching students that the best writing happens with thoughtful preparation, numerous revisions and eventual publication of their work in some fashion. The methodology for such publications might include student sharing, portfolio submissions, dramatic interpretation, publication in a student literary magazine, or exhibition. In addition,Cypress Junction Montessori will offer students the chance to write freely in a journal that allows them ample time for reflection on their process as a student. Continuing in the Montessori tradition, writing will flow through all the disciplines, as students seek knowledge, ask questions and ultimately put that knowledge to work for them.

Spelling

Children begin to spell using the moveable alphabet to sound out and spell words as they are first learning to read. They ‘take dictation’ spelling words called for by the teacher as a daily exercise. The sequence of spelling, as with all language skills, begins much earlier than is traditional in this country, during a time when children are spontaneously interested in language. It continues throughout their education.

Learning to sound out and spell simple phonetic words.

Learning to recognize and spell words involving phonograms, such as ei, ai, or ough.

Developing a first “personal” dictionary of words that they can now spell.

Learning to recognize and spell the “puzzle words” of English: words that are non-phonetic and are not spelled as they sound.

Studying words: involving compound words, contractions, singular-plural, masculine-feminine words, prefixes, suffixes, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms.

Grammar

The study of grammar begins almost immediately after the child begins to read, during the sensitive period when he/she is spontaneously interested in language. It continues over several years until mastered. The idea is to introduce grammar to the young child as he/she is first learning how to put thoughts down on paper, when the process is natural and interesting, rather than waiting until the student is much older and finds the work tedious.

We introduce our children to the function of the parts of speech one at a time through many games and exercises that isolate the one element under study. Montessori has assigned a geometric symbol to represent each element of grammar. (For example, verbs are represented by a large red circle.) The children analyze sentences by placing the symbols for the appropriate part of speech over each word.

Once students have mastered the concrete symbols for the parts of speech, they perform more advanced exercises for several years with grammar boxes set up to allow them to analyze sentences by their parts of speech.

Sentence analysis: simple and compound sentences, clauses, verb voices, and logical analysis of all sorts of sentences are studied using many different concrete materials and exercises. This normally begins about age 5 and continues over several years.

Students continue their study of language from the mid-elementary years onward, reviewing as well as engaging new concepts and skills: tenses, moods, irregular verbs, person and number, the study of style, the study of grammatical arrangements in other languages.

These grammar studies begin in the early elementary years of Montessori and are fleshed out in proportion to the student’s grade and ability. Cypress Junction Montessori will continue with this type of grammar instruction in the Upper Elementary and middle school classes by using materials that help the students represent their sentences in a linear fashion— highlighting the parts of a sentence, learning to manipulate those parts and expanding upon simple sentences and grammar into more complex. Grammar instruction will be integrated into both literature and composition and will progress in complexity as the student progresses in understanding. Using grammar as a way of better understanding the rules of writing can assist students in fluency both in reading and writing. To further the work of the student as grammarian, a close look at other writers and why they use the syntax and diction they choose can assist the students in escalating their compositions.

Literature

In the Lower and Upper Elementary classes, students will experience literature through read aloud, reader’s theater, and small language groups. As their reading ability increases, students will be encouraged to select high-quality literature from the classroom libraries to enjoy during independent reading.

As Cypress Junction Montessori grows to include students in grades 7-8, we may choose the Junior Great Books series (produced by the Junior Great Books Foundation), as a methodology for interacting with the texts. Shared Inquiry is a specific type of instruction that seeks self-reliant thinkers as a goal. In addition, Shared Inquiry reflects the Montessori tenets of using literature as a way of interacting with cultures, self and the learning community. In Shared Inquiry, the teacher acts as guide to encourage discussion that begins with a concept of theme learned in the reading selection that then continues into the development of those themes through free thought, composition, conversation and demonstration. Shared Inquiry allows the student the space to not only hear his or her peers’ response to the reading selection, but it also allows the student the ability to engage in discourse about topics that span beyond the superficial plot summation, reaching into deeper concepts. Beyond the Shared Inquiry, Cypress Junction Montessori expects the students will seek out research projects based upon the reading texts they encounter. In the Montessori classroom, outside research via personal interview, internet research or books/periodicals is common and expected from the students. When Montessori students discover a topic or an idea that piques their interest, the next logical step is to find out any information they can about this topic.

Mathematics: Great Lesson – The Story of Numbers

While mathematics is a fairly straightforward subject from which little deviation from theory is possible, the Montessori approach to mathematics is unique. Montessori curriculum addresses the eight Florida Standards Mathematics Practices as mapped in the Florida Standards Correlation – Appendix N. Students will use a range of Montessori materials to extensively explore the Mathematics Practices moving progressively from the concrete to the abstract.

The Cypress Junction Montessori mathematics curriculum will be:

Tactile. Montessori mathematics at the preschool and elementary school levels uses specific manipulative materials for instruction. Indeed, students are engaged in such concepts as exponents, binomials and trinomials at the age of three, though the practice of the theory comes incrementally as they mature in their mathematical abilities. Montessori mathematics presumes children are capable of understanding complex mathematical concepts if they are presented in the proper manner. For example, students begin work in the Primary level classroom with factors, exponents and ratios through the use of the pink tower. The work begins as a tactile exercise during which students stack blocks in exponentially increasing size; they handle these blocks carefully and through this tactile stimulation integrate the concepts of an object increasing in size exponentially. In the Lower Elementary classroom, these concepts become more fully realized as students begin working with numbers instead of blocks, and by the time they reach the Upper Elementary classroom students are able to work with exponents in a theoretical manner.

Cypress Junction Montessori students who move up from the elementary level to the secondary level will have been introduced to such practical mathematics as described above. This tactile mathematics will continue with the addition of more abstract word problems dealing with algebraic and geometric concepts. For those students for whomCypress Junction Montessori is the first exposure to a Montessori environment, mathematics will prove to be enlightening and collaborative as the more seasoned students demonstrate mastery of the mathematics manipulative materials. For students who require remediation, the use of manipulatives should prove to reinforce abstract concepts in a concrete manner.

Collaborative. In addition to being tactile, the mathematics curriculum is collaborative. Students will work together in groups in order to learn the mathematical concepts presented in the lessons, drawing from each other’s strengths to help overcome deficits. In addition, this collaborative learning addresses the social and psychological needs of the student as well as serving to reinforce the importance of interdependence and community. Since the classroom is multi-aged, collaborative mathematics learning also becomes an assessment tool. When students are comfortable enough with the subject to teach it to another student, it demonstrates mastery with that skill or concept, as well as serving to further instill the concept in the student’s mind.

Integrative. Mathematics is also incredibly integrative in the Montessori classroom. Using practical application of mathematics, students use the other disciplines in order to complete projects and tasks. For example, students might use mathematics in order to solve a particular question in their science classes, or students may need to compile statistics for their service-learning project. In addition, they could use mathematics for construction during a practical life lesson.

Progression of Concepts

Students are typically introduced to numbers at age 3: learning the numbers and number symbols one to ten, the red and blue rods, sandpaper numerals, association of number rods and numerals, spindle boxes, cards and counters, counting, sight recognition, concept of odd and even.

Introduction to the decimal system typically begins at age 3 or 4. Units, tens, hundreds, thousands are represented by specially prepared concrete learning materials that show the decimal hierarchy in three dimensional form: units = single beads, tens = a bar of 10 units, hundreds = 10 ten bars fastened together into a square, thousands = a cube ten units long ten units wide and ten units high. The children learn to first recognize the quantities, then to form numbers with the bead or cube materials through 9,999 and to read them back, to read and write numerals up to 9,999, and to exchange equivalent quantities of units for tens, tens for hundreds, etc.

Linear Counting: learning the number facts to ten (what numbers make ten, basic addition up to ten); learning the teens (11 = one ten + one unit), counting by tens (34 = three tens + four units) to one hundred.

Development of the concept of the four basic mathematical operations: addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication through work with the Montessori Golden Bead Material. The child builds numbers with the bead material and performs mathematical operations concretely.

(This process normally begins by age 4 and extends over the next two or three years.) Work with this material over a long period is critical to the full understanding of abstract mathematics for all but a few exceptional children. This process tends to develop in the child a much deeper understanding of mathematics.

Development of the concept of “dynamic” addition and subtraction through the manipulation of the concrete math materials. (Addition and subtraction where exchanging and regrouping of numbers is necessary.)

Memorization of the basic math facts: adding and subtracting numbers under 10 without the aid of the concrete materials. (Typically begins at Primary level and is normally completed by Lower Elementary.)

Development of further abstract understanding of addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication with large numbers through the Stamp Game (a manipulative system that represents the decimal system as color-keyed “stamps”) and the Small and Large Bead Frames (color-coded abacuses).

Skip counting with the chains of the squares of the numbers from zero to ten: i.e., counting to 25 by 5’s, to 36 by 6’s, etc. (Primary) Developing first understanding of the “square” of a number.

Skip counting with the chains of the cubes of the numbers zero to ten: i.e., counting to 1,000 by ones or tens. Developing the first understanding of the concept of a “cube” of a number.

Beginning the “passage to abstraction,” the child begins to solve problems with paper and pencil while working with the concrete materials. Eventually, the materials are no longer needed.

Development of the concept of long multiplication and division through concrete work with the bead and cube materials. (The child is typically 6 or younger, and cannot yet do such problems on paper without the concrete materials. The objective is to develop the concept first.)

Development of more abstract understanding of “short” division through more advanced manipulative materials (Division Board); movement to paper and pencil problems, and memorization of basic division facts. (Normally by Lower Elementary)

Development of still more abstract understanding of “long” multiplication through highly advanced and manipulative materials (the Multiplication Checkerboard). (Usually Lower Elementary)

Development of still more abstract understanding of “long division” through highly advanced manipulative materials (Test Tube Division apparatus). (Typically by Lower Elementary)

Solving problems involving parentheses, such as (3 X 4) (2 + 9) = ?

Missing sign problems: In a given situation, should you add, divide, multiply or subtract?

Introduction to problems involving tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions. (Normally by Lower Elementary.)

Study of fractions: Normally begins when children using the short division materials find they have a “remainder” of one and ask whether or not the single unit can be divided further. The study of fractions begins with very concrete materials (the fraction circles at the primary level), and involves learning names, symbols, equivalencies, common denominators, and simple addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication of fractions up to “tenths”. (Normally by Lower Elementary)

Study of decimal fractions: all four mathematical operations. (Normally begins by age 8-9, and continues for about two years until the child totally grasps the ideas and processes.)

Practical application problems, which are used to some extent from the beginning, become far more important around age 7-8 and afterward. Solving word problems and determining arithmetic procedures in real situations becomes a major focus.

Money: units, history, equivalent sums, foreign currencies (units and exchange). (Begins as part of social studies and applied math at Primary level.)

Interest: concrete to abstract; real life problems involving credit cards and loans; principal, rate, time.

Computing the squares and cubes of numbers: cubes and squares of binomials and trinomials. (Upper Elementary)

Calculating square and cube roots: from concrete to abstract. (Normally in Upper Elementary)

The history of mathematics and its application in science, engineering, technology and economics.

Reinforcing application of all mathematical skills to practical problems around the school and in everyday life.

Basic data gathering, graph reading and preparation, and statistical analysis.

Sensorial exploration of plane and solid figures at the Primary level: the children learn to recognize the names and basic shapes of plane and solid geometry through manipulation of special wooden geometric insets. They then learn to order them by size or degree.

Geometry

Stage I: Basic geometric shapes.

Stage II: More advanced plane geometric shapes-triangles, polygons, various rectangles and irregular forms.

Stage III: Introduction to solid geometric forms and their relationship to plane geometric shapes.

Study of the basic properties and definitions of the geometric shapes. This is essentially as much a reading exercise as mathematics since the definitions are part of the early language materials.

More advanced study of the nomenclature, characteristics, measurement and drawing of the geometric shapes and concepts such as points, line, angle, surface, solid, properties of triangles, circles, etc. (Continues through Middle School in repeated cycles.)

Congruence, similarity, equality, and equivalence.

The history of applications of geometry.

The theorem of Pythagoras.

The calculation of area and volume.

Middle School Mathematics Plan

Middle school students will use a math textbook to guide core content skill development in relation to the Florida standards. Students will engage in skill integration and application through in-depth project-based curriculum. The project-based curriculum will provide students many opportunities to develop and apply new skills in areas such as data analysis and problem solving.

Cypress Junction Montessori will use a math textbook series like the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP), a research-based mathematics series that begins with the transition between arithmetic and algebra. In addition to pre-transition and transition mathematics, the series moves to algebra, geometry and advanced algebraic functions. In addition, the UCSMP texts include a strong focus on logic, data and technology, as well as a wealth of real-life application suggestions.

Montessori requires the series be relevant to the learner who is transitioning into higher mathematics, rigorous enough to prepare students to move into calculus and beyond in high school, and expandable in content to ensure students who move beyond algebra and geometry and into pre-calculus can be introduced to those concepts within the series. Cypress Junction Montessori’s mathematics curriculum will cover the domains for all grades, with their accompanying clusters and associated standards. Cypress Junction Montessori may offer courses for high school credit such as algebra and geometry to advanced mathematics students.

Social Studies: Great Lessons – The Story of the Universe, Timeline of Life, Timeline of Early Humans

The specialized education program of the Montessori Method approaches social studies from a global perspective. While the social studies curriculum covers all the requisite areas of the Florida Standards, it also focuses on a more global perspective and integration of historical events into the larger context. Social studies are also easily integrated into other subjects and can serve to contextualize ideas for literature, science and mathematics. The ultimate goal of Cypress Junction Montessori’s social studies curriculum is to help the students grow, explore, appreciate and join the global community. Cypress Junction Montessori’s social studies curriculum can be divided into culture, history, geography and citizenship.

Culture – Maria Montessori was a student of the world and encouraged multicultural diversity as much as possible in her time. Montessori believed children should be introduced to the world as a whole and then moves forward into the concepts of regions and diversity. The study of the world’s cultures intersects with many other disciplines. Students at Cypress Junction Montessori will study the world’s cultures through exploration of their people, arts and contribution to literature, mathematics and science. Extant and extinct cultures will be researched, their cultures demonstrated and explained. The culture aspect of the social studies curriculum is an important space for exhibition. Cypress Junction Montessori will host a multicultural day wherein the students have exhibits, presentations and even food and drink tastings of the culture they have chosen to research. As an exploration of other cultures, Cypress Junction Montessori will open its classroom to peoples of other cultures in order to become more aware of the mixing of culture and its outcomes.

Geography – A working knowledge of geography is required if students can be expected to study the cultures of the different regions of the world. In addition to learning to identify various countries or the U.S. states, the Montessori study of geography explores land formations and the way time moves across the world, leaving its mark behind. In geography, students will be expected to know and understand rivers, oceans and lakes, as well as the unique traits of our world. Students will intertwine this knowledge with information they obtain in other aspects of social studies in order to gather a full picture of the world’s regions, its inhabitants and cultures. The adolescent years also mark the place wherein students can begin to understand more abstract concepts present in world geography. The conflicts and alliances of the world’s regions and the shifting power bases in the world may be explored in order to better understand humanity and its conflicts and triumphs.

History – In order to fully understand cultures and geography, students must research and learn history. Montessori education focuses on the history of the earth and its place in the universe. Cypress Junction Montessori will continue this study into more abstract and subjective areas of history. The study of history will span the world, the United States and Florida. Events in history will be explored in thematic units which demonstrate the interconnectedness of the human experience. In addition, the product of a culture’s history like visual art, music, literature, food and drink and trading trends can provide a wealth of knowledge about the culture and people. Cypress Junction Montessori students will be encouraged to study history in an in-depth and personal manner in order to connect it with their own lives and work.

Citizenship – The overarching goal of the Cypress Junction Montessori social studies curriculum is to connect students to the past and the present in such a way that they feel they are part of the human experience.Cypress Junction Montessori strives toward holistic and effective learning and in the social studies groups; students will be encouraged to become productive citizens of their local community and the world. As an aspect of social studies, students will be encouraged to become active in the history of their city and the building of its future. Students will learn about the political process and the citizen’s place in it. They will see politics in action and prepare themselves to be part of the process. In addition, students will be encouraged to seek out the needs of their community and try to help fill those needs.

All of the Florida Standards are covered in the social studies curriculum.

Physical Geography

The Primary Globes: Specially prepared globes for the very young child isolate single concepts of globe study.  For example – How land and water are shown, and the corresponding shapes of the continents they learned from the puzzle maps.

The Puzzle Maps: These are specially made maps in the forms of intricate, color-coded, wooden jigsaw puzzles representing the continents, the countries of each continent, and the states of the U.S. They are presented to the children at an early age, and are at first enjoyed simply as challenging puzzles. Soon, however, the children begin to learn the names of given countries, and by age 6 are normally very familiar with the continents of the globe, the nations of North America, South America, and Europe, along with most of the states of the U.S. As soon as the children can read they begin to lay the puzzle pieces out and place the appropriate name labels to each as a reading and geography exercise.

Land and Water Formations: Materials designed to help the very young child understand basic land and water formations such as island, isthmus, peninsula, strait, lake, cape, bay, archipelago, etc. At first, they are represented by three-dimensional models of each, complete with water. Then the children learn to recognize the shapes on maps, and learn about famous examples of each.

Transference to maps: Introduction to written names and various forms of maps, along with early study of the flora, fauna, landscapes, and people of the continents.

Maps and compass: Introduction to longitude and latitude, coordinate position on the globe, the Earth’s poles, the magnetic poles, history and use of the compass, topographic maps, global positioning satellite devices, electronic charts.

Timeline of Life: An introduction to humankind’s search to understand how the Earth was formed, from creation stories to the evidence of contemporary scientific research. Origins, geologic forces, formations of the oceans and atmosphere, continental drift and tectonic plates, volcanoes, earthquakes, the ice ages and the formation of mountain ranges.

The study of coasts and land reliefs: hills, mountain ranges, volcanoes, valleys, plains, etc.; their formation, animal life, and effect on people.

The study of the hydrosphere: ocean, rivers, lakes, the water cycle.

Cultural Geography

Countries are studied in many ways at all levels, beginning at primary level. A number of studies are held every year to focus on specific cultures and to celebrate life together: an example being Chinese New Year, when a class might study China, prepare Chinese food, learn Chinese dances, and participate in a special dragon dance parade. Anything the children find interesting is used to help them become familiar with the countries of the world: flags, boundaries, food, climate, traditional dress, houses, major cities, children’s toys and games, stamps, coins, traditional foods, art, music, and history. This interweaves through the entire curriculum.

Study of the regions, culture, and natural resources of the United States, including geography, climate, flora and fauna, major rivers and lakes, capitals, important cities, mountains, people, regional foods, traditions, etc. This begins in the primary and continues at increasing depth at each level.

The detailed study of one nation at a time. Focus moves over the years from one continent to another, as the children’s interest leads them. All aspects of the nation are considered: geography, climate, flora and fauna, major rivers and lakes, cities, mountains, people, food, religions, etc.

Economic Geography

Natural Resources of the Earth.

Production: How natural resources are used by humankind.

Imports and Exports: The interdependence of nations.

History and the needs all people share.

The basic needs of man are food, shelter, clothing, defense, transportation, culture, law, religion or spiritual enlightenment, love, and adornment. (This study begins at primary level and continues throughout the curriculum.)

The concept of time and historical time is developed through many activities and repeated at deeper complexity from age 5:

Telling time on the clock Timelines of the child’s life

Timelines showing the activities of a day, week, month, year Family trees

Timeline of the Earth’s history

Timeline from 8,000 B.C. to 2,000 A.D. to study ancient to modern history

The story of the evolution of the planet and its life forms over the eons is first studied at about age six, along with an overview of human history. This is repeated throughout the curriculum in increasing depth of study.

Each year the child continues to study and analyze the needs, culture, technology, and social history of various periods in history. The trends of human achievement are charted, such as the development of transportation, architecture, great inventions, and great leaders.

By age eight, students begin to study the earliest humans, ending with an introduction to the first farmers. They consider early societies in terms of how they organized themselves to meet the common needs of all peoples: food, clothing, shelter, defense, transportation, medicine, arts, entertainment, government, and religion.

The Upper Elementary (ages 9-12) history program follows a three-year cycle of thematic study. Students study whichever themes are being presented that year regardless of their age. In year 1 of the cycle, the class will focus on the creation of the universe, formation of the earth, evolution of life, and early human civilizations. These topics were first introduced at the lower elementary level. At this level, students will go into considerably greater depth and prepare increasingly sophisticated projects and research reports.

Continuing the three-year cycle of thematic history study at the Upper Elementary level (ages 9-12), in year two of the cycle, the class will focus on ancient civilizations, including the Mesopotamian cultures, Greece, Rome, ancient China, Byzantium, ending with an introduction to the Middle Ages.

In the third year of the three-year cycle of thematic history study at the Upper Elementary level (ages 9-12), the class will focus on American studies, including an introduction to the history of the United States, American folk culture, technology, children’s literature, government, and geography. The class will also consider Pre-Colombian Central and South American cultures, the Native American peoples of North America, the age of exploration, and the immigrant cultural groups who came to America from Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America

Science

Cypress Junction Montessori’s science curriculum will be inquiry-based and hands-on, supplemented by useful and appealing texts which explain theory. The following disciplines may be addressed: ecology, meteorology, biology, electricity, astronomy, geology, zoology, botany, anatomy and physiology, physics and chemistry. Other disciplines may be addressed if a student shows an interest in exploring outside these suggestions.

Ecology – The ecology portion of the Cypress Junction Montessori science curriculum will focus on ecosystems and their populations and the interrelatedness of species within habitats. Students will study the interaction between humans and their environment with a special focus on earth friendly existence. Cypress Junction Montessori is committed to encouraging students to live in symbiosis with their environment. Exploration of conservation will be a key point in the ecology curriculum.

Meteorology – In the meteorology section, students will explore the relationship between our earth and its weather systems. Special focus will be placed upon Earth’s atmosphere and changing weather patterns as they interrelate with other planetary systems.

Life Sciences – Life science is a broad subject that encompasses biology, zoology, botany and human anatomy. These topics will be explored through observation of the processes of life systems. Students will study life from its essential building blocks to more complex organisms. In addition, students will look at the structure and function of plants and animals with a focus on understanding how the structure of an organism’s parts contributes to function. Students will then apply these concepts to their own bodies with an emphasis on health and wellness.

Electricity – Students will be presented with the basic concepts of electricity including studies of circuits, voltage and current. These extremely tactile lessons present concepts that are at work in our daily lives, but often ignored. Such explorations will encourage students to be more aware of their environments and the work that is necessary in maintaining them. More advanced or interested students may explore the concepts of resistors, capacitors, diodes and transistors through hands-on experiments.

Astronomy – Students will observe the astronomical wonders of the earth and its place in the universe. Students will study the moon, the solar system and extra solar system astronomical events. Abstract physics concepts will be casually introduced in these lessons as students progress from the concrete to the abstract in preparation for more advanced studies in astronomy.

Geology – Students will study the use of rocks throughout history, looking closely at the type of rock and how it was formed. The geology section contains sections about the process of fossilization. In addition, students will observe how humankind has used rocks throughout history to advance civilization.

Physics – At the secondary level, in preparation for higher mathematics and science classes in high school, students will begin looking at concepts surrounding movement and the physics related to a body in motion. Students will look at acceleration, gravity, and momentum and contemplate how these forces intersect with their lives on a daily basis. Students will also apply mathematics to solve complex problems involving physics.

Chemistry – At the secondary level, students will begin looking at the structure of matter on a microscopic level, including atomic structure and the interaction between molecules. Studies will branch into energy transfers and bonding as well as interactions on a chemical level. In addition, the chemistry section will focus on the phases of matter and the energy requirements to shift from phase to phase.

All of the Florida Standards are covered in the science curriculum.

Science in the Montessori Curriculum

Differentiation between living and nonliving things (Primary)

Differentiation between animals and plants; basic characteristics (Primary)

Study of Animals: Observation of animals in nature, in the classroom, or through images – zoology puzzles including nomenclature for External Parts of Vertebrates: Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals. Elementary adds Invertebrates to this expanding zoological study: Insects, Mollusks, Crustaceans, etc.

Study of Plants: representing the biological parts of flowers, root systems, and trees, along with the anatomical features of common animals. These are first used by very young children as puzzles, then as a means to learn the vocabulary, then are related to photos and/or the “real thing,” then traced onto paper, and finally with labels as a reading experience.

Nomenclature Cards Botany: identifying, naming, and labeling the parts of plants, trees, leaves, roots, and flowers.

Nomenclature Cards Zoology: identifying, naming, and labeling the external parts of human beings, insects, fish, birds, and other animals.

Introduction of the families of the animal kingdom, and identification and classification of animals into the broad families.

Introduction to the basic characteristics, life-styles, habitats, and means of caring for young of each family in the animal kingdom.

Introduction to ecology: habitat, food chain, adaptation to environment and climate, predator-prey relationships, camouflage, and other body adaptations of common animals.

Advanced elementary biology study: the names and functions of different forms of leaves, flowers, seeds, trees, plants, and animals. This usually begins with considerably more field work collecting specimens or observing.

Study of evolution and the development of life on the Earth over the eons.

Study of the internal parts of vertebrates: limbs, body coverings, lungs, heart, skeleton, reproduction.

Advanced study of plants in class, greenhouse and garden: experimenting with soil, nutrients, light, etc.

More advanced study of the animal kingdom: classification by class and phyla.

The plant kingdom: Study of the major families of plant life on the Earth and classification by class and phyla.

Life cycles: water, oxygen, carbon-dioxide, and nitrogen.

Introduction to chemistry: Begins at age six and continues throughout the elementary science curriculum.

The three states of matter.

Basic atomic theory.

How elements are created through stellar fusion.

Elements and compounds.

Mendeleev’s table of the elements.

Basic molecular theory: Building atomic models.

Physical and chemical changes.

Research into the elements and continued study of the periodic table.

Introduction to chemistry lab experiments.

Animal behavior: detailed observation.

Anatomy: Systems of the animal and human body.

Health and nutrition.

Ecology: Advanced study of the interrelationships of life forms.

Development of skills in careful observation, recording and describing, and use of increasingly sophisticated techniques of measurement.

Development of skills using common scientific apparatus: microscopes, telescopes, hand lens, collecting field specimens, dissecting, preparing displays.

Development of field science skills: tracking, listening, observing.

Development of scientific inquiry skills: forming hypotheses, designing experiments, recording results.

Study of the great inventions: machines and technology and their effect on society throughout history.

Study of the great scientists.

Introduction to the physical sciences: Geology and Mineralogy, Meteorology, Astronomy and Cosmology, Elementary Physics (light, electricity, magnetic fields, gravity, mass).

Preparing and Analyzing Graphs and Data Displays, Basic Statistics

B. Describe the research base and foundation materials that were used or will be used to develop the curriculum.

Cypress Junction Montessori used many materials to help shape the curriculum. A complete bibliography that informed the application can be found in Appendix A. The research base includes the following:

Florida Standards

Every aspect of the curriculum has been cross-referenced with the Florida Standards. These standards serve as the minimum students must achieve in order for adequate success at Cypress Junction Montessori. Cypress Junction Montessori will follow the correlations to the Florida Standards such as outlined in Appendix N.

Subject area materials

In developing curriculum for the subject areas, Cypress Junction Montessori looked to current research that was aligned with the specialized education program of the Montessori Method. Much of the research needed was found in Maria Montessori’s seminal works on the Montessori Method or from the potential research-based textbooks being considered.

Additionally, the following articles on individual disciplines were used:

Chattin-McNichols, John. (2002). Revisiting the Great Lessons, Spotlight: Cosmic Education. Montessori Life. 14, n2, 43-44.

McNichols reviews the Montessori approach to teaching History, Geography, and Social Studies through The Great Lessons. By combining stories of key events in the timeline of the world with hands-on work and research in the classroom, Montessori teachers are able to engage students’ imaginations while covering the required curriculum at the elementary level.

Glendinning, Paul. View from the Pennies: Montessori Mathematics. Retrieved February 2, 2009 from www. maths.manchester.ac.uk/~pag/view/gayna20.pdf

This article demonstrated the foundational mathematics learned in Montessori schools. Glendinning explains the use of the trinomial cube and the progression of learning algebra from the concrete to the abstract. The three-period lesson is explained: naming, recognition and identification/recall. The author demonstrates the usefulness of beginning Montessori mathematics as a young child to more fully realize one’s potential as a student of mathematics. Additionally, Glendinning explains the use of the Pythagoras’ Theorem and its integration into more complex mathematical courses.

Turner, Joy. How Do Children Learn To Read. Montessori Life. Fall 1998. v10, n4, p37.

Turner contends “the Montessori approach to reading offers ‘the best of both worlds’ in terms of preparing the child to read”. Montessori incorporates sound games, word play games, and multisensory alphabetic instruction which builds children’s phonological awareness – the key to a strong reading foundation and reading success.

Rule,  A and Barrera, M. Using Objects To Teach Vocabulary Words with Multiple Meanings. Montessori Life. Summer 2003. v15, n3, p14-17.

Rule and Barrera discuss the importance of using objects to teach vocabulary based on the results of their study comparing the learning gains made by third graders using traditional direct instruction and worksheets to those made by third graders using a hands-on approach with objects. The hands-on, object rich Montessori environment and teaching strategies created significantly greater vocabulary progress than the other students.

C. Describe the school’s reading curriculum. Provide evidence that reading is a primary focus of the school and that there is a curriculum and set of strategies for students who are reading at grade level or higher and a separate curriculum and strategy for students reading below grade level.

The Montessori reading program meets all research requirements for providing all students with high-quality approved reading curriculum. All of the essential components of reading are taught in the Montessori program: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension. The methods used in Montessori schools are highly effective because the learning environments have been designed to ensure success for all children. Cypress Junction Montessori will use the Montessori Reading Curriculum for students at grade level and higher, as well as with students who are reading below grade level. Those students who are below grade level will benefit the most from the Orton-Gillingham-like Montessori Reading phonics materials, one-on-one instruction and the differentiated curriculum. The Montessori Reading Program fully incorporates initial instruction (ii), and immediate intensive intervention (iii) of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) solution.

Reading serves as a building block for the entire curriculum and is interwoven throughout all

aspects of it, making reading a primary focus of the student’s activities. A specific 267 item Montessori Language Arts Scope and Sequence includes items such as phonetic sounds, phonetic writing and reading, irregular or sight words, phonograms and blends, which lead to fluent (total) reading. Journal keeping, creative writing, whole language, poetry and many other activities are also part of the program. All of the Florida state required components of reading are comprehensively taught in the Montessori program:

Phonemic Awareness

Phonics

Fluency

Vocabulary Development

Comprehension

The Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration (CSRD) program, approved and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, has named Montessori as a research-based program supported by reliable research and effective practices. In addition, the scope of the Montessori reading curriculum meets the Next Generation Sunshine State Reading Standards for Literature, Information Text, and Speaking and Listening as mapped in the Florida Standards and Montessori Correlation (Appendix N).

The Montessori Reading Curriculum is an enriching program for gifted students – the depth and breadth as well as the individualized nature of the Montessori curriculum ensures the needs of gifted children will be met. Students in the Montessori classroom are active participants in the learning process and are intrinsically motivated to achieve higher levels of reading; they read because they want to, not because they have to.

The three types of assessment in the No Child Left behind Solution are also part of our Montessori reading program: screening, diagnosis, and progress monitoring. The program incorporates initial instruction (ii) along with immediate intensive intervention (iii).

Ongoing reading assessment will be used to monitor student mastery and to determine needs for immediate intensive intervention. Examples are:

Computerized monitoring of lessons to gauge the child’s progress and effort towards mastery of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension.

Computerized monitoring to track the child’s usage and mastery of the Montessori reading materials and activities.

IBTP Progress Monitoring will help determine whether the child is at grade level in reading.

Each student is provided web-based access to Accelerated Reader (AR) to increase reading comprehension.

Process-focused reading assessments like interviewing and work plans developed together with the student.

Observations of reading ability are documented.

Performance assessments such as oral reading presentations and demonstrations.

Computerized reports are prepared four times per year based on each student’s Personal Education Plan. The PEP outlines how the child has succeeded in meeting their individual goals and objectives. These goals and objectives are reevaluated throughout the year with the teacher, student and parents.

Student Portfolios include samples of student reading work and product (work and product that document reading development in other areas of the curriculum, such as science and geography projects can also be included).

All of these items, along with similar ongoing assessments in other curriculum areas, are used to provide documentation to parents concerning their child’s progress in achieving learning goals.

Pre-Reading

Due to our multi-age classroom design, our youngest students are constantly exposed to the older children in the class who are already reading. The total environment of the Primary classes tends to create and reinforce in our young children a spontaneous interest in learning how to read. We begin to teach reading as soon as that interest is first expressed.

Using a total immersion approach, we help the youngest children to develop a highly sophisticated vocabulary and command of the language.

The children are taught through many early approaches to listen for and recognize the individual phonetic sounds in words.

We introduce the children to literature by reading aloud and discussing a wide range of classic stories and poetry.

We help our youngest students to recognize the shape and phonetic sounds of the alphabet through the sandpaper letters: a tactile alphabet.

Reading

The development of the concept that written words are actual thoughts set down on paper. (This takes children much longer than most people realize.)

Sounding out simple three or four-letter phonetic words. (Primary)

Early exercises to practice reading and to gain the concept of a noun: labeling objects with written name tags, mastering increasingly complex words naming things that interest them, such as dinosaurs, the parts of a flower, geometric shapes, the materials in the classroom, etc.

Learning to recognize verbs: normally exercises in which the child reads a card with a verbal command printed out (such as run, sit, walk, etc.) and demonstrates his understanding by acting it out. As the child’s reading vocabulary increases, verbal commands involve full sentences and multiple steps: “Place the mat on the table and bring back a red pencil.”

Reading specially selected or prepared small books on topics that really interest the child, such as in science, geography, nature or history.

Interpretive reading for comprehension at ever increasing levels of difficulty, beginning in the early elementary grades and continuing until high school graduation.

Use of the library and reference books on a daily basis for both research and pleasure.

An introduction to the world’s classical children’s literature at increasing depth and sophistication.

Reading serves as the foundation for the entire Montessori curriculum and is individually taught as well as interwoven throughout all aspects of it, making reading a primary focus of the student’s activities. The Montessori curriculum stresses the importance of reading and writing, and promotes an integrated approach where reading and writing are supported across the curriculum. Phonemic awareness, direct instruction in phonics, grammar, and vocabulary development are essential components of the Montessori reading curriculum, as well as developing fluency and comprehension skills through individual and guided reading. The Montessori Reading scope and sequence includes items such as intensive practice and review of all phonetic sounds, phonetic writing and reading using movable alphabets, irregular or sight words, phonograms and blends, which with daily practice of skills acquired, all combined lead to fluent (total) reading. Guided Reading, Writing Workshop, Spelling, Word Study/Greek and Latin Roots, journal writing, composition, exposure to great literature, reading and writing poetry, and other literacy-based activities complete our language program.

Below-grade Level Readers

Cypress Junction Montessori will incorporate a program such as the Guided Reading program (Fountas and Pinnell, 1996) in conjunction with the Montessori reading curriculum as the method for teaching below grade level students and will move to literature groups as children become fluent readers. Guided reading, a proven and researched based program is only one aspect of our literacy program. The entire program includes guided reading, language/word study, reading practice, composition/writing workshop, spelling, etc.

Guided reading gives students the opportunity to read at their target level, which means the books provide them with a moderate challenge. They are grouped with students who are similar in ability, needs, and strengths. Instruction is then finely tuned to the needs of those particular students. Without teaching at the point of need, many students will not progress. By providing small group instruction that allows children to discover how to think about a text, they will be able to use their strategies in other classroom reading throughout the curriculum. A guided reading lesson is also an opportunity to talk about story elements such as character, setting, plot, metaphors, point of view, and vocabulary, etc. It is also a great time to talk about effective decoding strategies. The purpose of guided reading is to teach individual children to read increasingly difficult texts with understanding and fluency.

An individual and sequenced approach to phonics and spelling through teacher guided mini-lessons and classroom manipulative work forms the language/word study component of reading in Montessori. Reading baseline assessments will provide screenings, and will assist in creating each child’s personalized educational plan and clarifying reading instructional needs. Individual reading lessons are provided daily for every child in the Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary classes, as needed, and provide ample opportunities for progress monitoring. Diagnostic tools include current state required criterion-referenced assessments, SAT 10 (or similar assessment) as well as classroom-based assessments of reading.

Additionally, Cypress Junction Montessori plans to incorporate the  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Journeys reading curriculum for both on grade-level and below grade-level students. Journeys is correlated to the Florida Standards and includes instruction materials for small group sessions that align directly with the Montessori approach. This curriculum also includes intervention support for below grade-level readers and additional support for English Language Learners.

The Montessori Elementary Reading Program begins with “The Story of Writing” to spark the child’s imagination and interest in written communication. Intervention is embedded in the Montessori reading program as outlined above. Accelerated Reader will supplement skills with fluency practice and provide frequent reading assessment.

Montessori Reading Curriculum and Components:

Phoneme evaluation and phonics practice: Sandpaper Letters – Identifying initial sounds and sound practice for individual master; Movable Alphabet (a box of letters sorted into compartments)-practice of simple blends such as “bl”, encoding c-v-c words such as hat, cat, mat; begin decoding three letter phonetically controlled words. I Spy games, puzzles, etc. for attractive phonics practice opportunities.

Pink Boxes: Object-Word Boxes; progressing to Picture-Word Boxes; then progressing to reading simple, phonetically-controlled books such as Series 1Bob books, Primary Phonics, Set 1. Daily practice  reading aloud to an adult at school. The Montessori Pink, Blue, and Green Boxes provide child-appealing, individual and small group hands-on practice for every step in phonics mastery. Used with Movable Alphabets. Waseca Phonics Boxes as alternative in elementary.

Blue Boxes – sounding out simple four-six letter phonetic words, practice blending sounds and increasing word base. Children compose/encode phonetically controlled words using Movable Alphabet.

Word Study/Decoding and Encoding/Spelling Words increasingly difficult phonetic and non-phonetic words using the Movable Alphabets; composing simple sentences and short, original stories using the Movable Alphabet. Instructional Level Spelling program.

Green Boxes-Phonograms: Objects/Labels, Pictures/Labels: Silent e, digraphs, diphthongs, r-controlled, / oa/etc. Sight Word-High Frequency word practice.

Early Grammar/Parts of Speech: exercises to practice reading and to introduce and strengthen the concept of a noun; labeling objects with written name tags, mastering increasingly complex words, naming things that interest them, such as dinosaurs, the parts of a flower, geometric shapes, the material in the classroom, etc. Later using these words to create booklets in other areas of curriculum, after handwriting develops. Creating a list of personal “naming” words using Movable Alphabet and copying on paper.

Learning to recognize action words/verbs: exercises in which the child reads a card with a verbal command printed out (such as run, sit, walk, toss the tissue to a friend, etc.) and demonstrates comprehension through acting out the command. Children work in small groups with grammar materials. As the child’s reading and vocabulary increases, verbal commands involve full sentences and multiple steps; “Place the mat on the table and bring back a red pencil.” Children love to act out the verb command cards.

Guided Reading (Fountas and Pinnell) in class small reading group practice three-four times per week. Reading aloud with fluency, comprehension, timing, and inflection. Vocabulary expansion and practice is embedded in Lower Elementary reading activities, and highlighted in Upper Elementary. Greek and Latin Roots embedded in Lower Elementary.

Supplemental daily phonics practice: includes individual mini-lessons in phonics spelling, as well as “Exploratory Phonics” workbooks to reinforce and practice skills.

Reading specially selected or prepared small books on topics that really interest the child, such as animal and plant books, cultural geography, nature or historical books, cultural folk tales, Mythology.

Reading and comprehending imaginative/literary and informational/expository text. Reading and literature are celebrated throughout the Montessori curriculum and sequence.

Greek and Latin Root Words – word study for meaning.

Interpretive reading for comprehension at ever increasing levels of difficulty, beginning in the early elementary grades and continuing until high school graduation. Accelerated Reader Program for independent reading practice.

Use of the library and reference books on a daily basis for both research and pleasure. Supervised interplay of technology for research purposes.

An introduction to the world’s’ classical children’s literature at increasing depth and sophistication. Literacy Circles; Book Club; Junior Great Books or other.

Reading Instruction Guidelines

The school has devised the following guidelines for reading instruction:

Every student will be evaluated individually for reading fluency and comprehension. Upon initial acceptance to Cypress Junction Montessori, each student’s prior year standardized test and previous baseline tests’ reading score will be reviewed by the classroom teacher. By using these assessments, teachers will be able to specifically encourage students to work toward improvement in reading. Students who are working at or above grade level will be encouraged to explore more advanced avenues of reading like vocabulary improvement, writing groups, and reading mentoring. Students who are working below grade level will be given the confidence and support to strive for reading excellence.

Cypress Junction Montessori will monitor for progress in reading fluency and comprehension on an ongoing basis by not only using progress monitoring in Montessori Compass, but also through personal interaction with and observation of individual students. Cypress Junction Montessori teachers will observe student interaction with the reading selections; closely watching whether or not a student appears proficient in reading in comparison to his or her peers. Students may also conduct self-evaluations about their own perceptions of their reading ability and ways to improve. Students will also be assessed by teachers through oral presentations and demonstrations.

Cypress Junction Montessori will provide a reading-friendly environment. Cypress Junction Montessori has an intense commitment to making reading paramount in the program. The classroom environment will welcome reading in various manners and for various reasons. The classroom will have a designated area for quiet reading, where a student can relax and read a book on a comfortable surface. Students will have access to a wealth of reading material in a variety of genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama and creative non-fiction. Students will be encouraged to obtain their own library card to have unfettered access to reading material even during school vacation times. Cypress Junction Montessori may also provide instruction to parents on how to create a reading-friendly space in order to provide reinforcement of reading for pleasure and information.

Cypress Junction Montessori will encourage teachers to pursue professional development in reading through the county’s in-services or other training programs. The teachers and/or the Principal will be trained in administering and interpreting screenings, progress monitoring, and diagnostic assessments. In addition, Cypress Junction Montessori may choose to send teachers to the series specific trainings that accompany the textbooks the school chooses. For example, if the school adopts Junior Great Books, then teachers may train in the Shared Inquiry methodology that encourages higher-level thinking skills. Teachers may be required to pursue professional development in reading endorsement or certification if the administration notes a declining trend in reading scores.

Cypress Junction Montessori will use writing to improve decoding and reading comprehension. Writing about subjects clarifies information for the student making it more easily assimilated into his or her life. Also, writing demonstrates the craft of writing, which teaches students to read like a writer. Writing also requires multiple drafts that requires reading and a basic understanding of sentence structure and grammar, all of which helps students read more effectively. Revision creates an active reader who looks at his or her work critically and judges the work’s diction, syntax and style. Writing also activates the student’s knowledge base before he or she may begin writing, which encourages them to draw upon the text or thoughts upon which they are asked to compose. Cypress Junction Montessori will use writing as a way to improve reading, as well as further develop higher order thinking skills because writing requires those intellectual skills to be successful.

D. Explain how students who enter the school below grade level will be engaged in and benefit from the curriculum.

Cypress Junction Montessori expects that students of varying abilities and exceptional students will benefit greatly from our school and curriculum. Specifically, exceptional students and students below grade level will benefit from:

Individualized instruction that focuses specifically on the student. Exceptional students who are working below grade level are in need of immediate and individualized instruction. Cypress Junction Montessori ’s personalized education plan and individual work plans are devised specifically with the student’s strengths and weaknesses in mind.

A small school community that respects and encourages diversity among its population. As a small school, Cypress Junction Montessori is uniquely equipped to quickly identify student weaknesses and address those weaknesses in the most effective manner possible. Also, through the emotional and peace education components of the Cypress Junction Montessori curriculum, students will be exposed to techniques for embracing differences.

Peer interaction that can encourage a struggling student. Certain aspects of the curriculum depend upon peer interaction that can be helpful for a struggling learner. Working in collaboration with a student who can demonstrate effective strategies for learning can help a struggling learner learn techniques to improve.

Integration of disciplines that demonstrate the interconnectedness of knowledge. Learning isolated facts about non-related courses can be intimidating and feel useless. Integrating those subjects with one another demonstrates the interconnectedness of the disciplines that can help the exceptional student and the student working below grade level assimilate information in a long-term way.

Use of relevant and practical activities like service learning to reinforce the importance of education. The use of service learning to reinforce the theory education that students will receive in the classroom is of immense importance to exceptional students and students who are working below grade level. Service learning projects show students they are important to the community and they can make a discernible difference with enough education. In addition, service learning uses all the disciplines in a relevant manner.

Montessori multi-level, multi-grade classroom. In a multi-grade, multi-level classroom, students will discover social peers and learning peers all in the same classroom. Since the whole class is moving at differing paces and are different ages, the exceptional student and the student working below grade level need not feel out of sync with the rest of the class.

E. Describe proposed curriculum areas to be included other than the core academic areas.

Cypress Junction Montessori is committed to offering a wide array of subjects in which students will engage outside the core academic areas in order to create a well-balanced individual. These areas are practical life and sensorial skills, the arts, health, wellness and physical education, peace education, grace and courtesy and service learning. Cypress Junction Montessori is open to expanding the curriculum in whatever manner provides the most enriching environment for the students.

Practical Life and Sensorial

One of the first goals is to develop in the very young child a strong and realistic sense of independence and self reliance. Along with love and a stable environment, this is the child’s greatest need. This area of the curriculum focuses on developing skills that allow the child to effectively control and deal with the social and physical environment in which he/she lives.

There is a growing pride in being able to “do it for myself.” Practical life begins as soon as the young child enters the school and continues throughout the curriculum to more and more advanced tasks appropriate to the oldest students.

Early Tasks (Age 3 – Kindergarten)

Dressing oneself

Learning home address and phone number

Pouring liquids without spilling

Carrying objects without dropping

Carrying liquids without spilling

Walking without knocking into furniture or people

Using knives and scissors with good control

Using simple carpentry tools

Putting materials away on the shelves where they belong when finished

Working carefully and neatly

Dusting, polishing and washing just about anything: floors, tables, silver

Sweeping and vacuuming floors and rugs

Flower arranging

Caring for plants and animals

Table setting-serving yourself-table manners

Folding cloth: napkins, towels, etc.

Simple use of needle and thread

Using common household tools: tweezers, tongs, eye-droppers, locks, scissors, knives

Increasingly precise eye-hand coordination

Simple cooking and food preparation

Dish washing

Weaving, bead stringing, etc.

This process continues logically so that older students will learn such practical tasks as:

Caring for animals

Dog training

Sewing

Cooking complex meals

Working with tools

Making simple repairs

Getting around on their own: Metro, buses, cabs, hiking

Self-defense

Computing tax forms

Making consumer purchase decisions, comparison shopping, budgeting

Maintaining a checkbook

Applying for a job

Earning spending money

Mastering test taking strategies

Caring for young children

Interior decorating

Making clothes

Furniture refinishing

Wilderness survival

Running a small business enterprise

Landscaping

Arts

Cypress Junction Montessori plans to implement the Orff-Schulwerk Method as its music curriculum program. The Orff-Schulwerk Method is a natural complement to the specialized education program of the Montessori Method in that much of its philosophy and implementation mirrors Montessori principles.

The Orff-Schulwerk approach provides an education range from the most concrete manipulation of materials to the most abstract concepts of form and expression in a non-competitive environment. There are ample opportunities for individual and group work. Children learn music more comprehensively by breaking down music into individual activities and concepts and then forming those steps into a complete composition. The Orff-Schulwerk Method incorporates the concept of the progression from concrete to abstract, an important tenet in Montessori education, which is wonderfully achieved in the study of music and the visual arts and can be realized with almost any instructional materials. All of these concepts tie in naturally with the Montessori Method and its approach to learning.

The Orff-Schulwerk Method is one that can be implemented regardless of the size of a school’s financial budget. For a startup school on a shoestring budget, the Orff-Schulwerk Method can incorporate such things as:

The body as an instrument (e.g., singing, clapping, tapping, body percussion, dancing and movement)

Materials around the classroom (creating instruments out of existing materials thereby combining art with music)

Inexpensive instruments such as recorders

As the school’s budget grows, the Orff-Schulwerk Method of music curriculum can grow with it. The following is a list of some additional concepts and benefits of the Orff-Schulwerk Method:

Choosing music with strong nationalistic flavor, being related to folk songs and music of the child’s own heritage

Providing arts education to underserved public schools and communities

Providing a developmental approach to teaching music that draws children into successful learning through their natural desire and ability to sing, move, create, play and explore

Incorporating speech, singing, movement and instrumental playing in a creative environment

Teaching children to become active listeners and participants with a balance of emotional and intellectual stimulation resulting in noticeable gains in self-confidence, problem-solving ability, enthusiasm for school and ability to synthesize information and articulate their ideas

Foreign Language

Cypress Junction Montessori plans to offer students a foreign language option, in addition to their core classes. In its early stages, Cypress Junction Montessori may offer foreign language in the form of labeling objects around the classroom in at least 2 languages and providing bilingual books and materials where possible. Cypress Junction Montessori will strive to hire a bilingual teacher. Foreign language is an example of a class that might be supplemented with a regular volunteer or specialist who would come in specifically for language lessons.

Health and Wellness

Cypress Junction Montessori is committed to encouraging students to grow physically as well as intellectually. The health and wellness curriculum will consist of a mixture of physical education and health education which will cover the Florida Standards for health education. Cypress Junction Montessori also considers the emotional health of a child to be very important. The integrated curriculum may include topics related to emotional intelligence and interaction with others. Activities such as walking up and down stairs, walking on a balance beam, or simply climbing a small hill, encourage coordination, balance and self-confidence.

Coordination and balance is further refined through line activities such as walking, heel-to-toe, or slowly carrying objects. Large motor activities such as skipping, climbing, ball catching, and throwing is practiced indoors and outdoors in the playgrounds. Cypress Junction Montessori will also incorporate simple group games with rules.

Children of all ages will experience the purpose of movement as it is incorporated into the school day. Cypress Junction Montessori will also leverage many opportunities for outdoor activities and physical education lessons throughout the week.

Cypress Junction Montessori will encourage a nutritious diet in the way of promoting healthy lunches and snacks. Cypress Junction Montessori’s school policy will discourage unhealthy foods such as those with a high sugar or fat content.

Service Learning

Service learning is an integral part of the authentic learning in a Montessori classroom. Service learning at Cypress Junction Montessori has four related stages: preparation, action, reflection, and demonstration.

Preparation – Cypress Junction Montessori students will consider the needs of their community as well as what they would like to learn. They will then research the need, discuss the goals, and create a plan for service. This will be largely shaped and driven by the individual interests and strengths of the students.

Action – This is the stage that is more visible to the community. In this stage, students will actually perform their community service. By doing so, they will interact positively with their community and gain knowledge and experience.

Reflection – Both during and after the action stage, students will take the time to consider what they have learned, how they have served, and what impact these will have. This is an opportunity for the individual student to assess personal skills and knowledge gained and to consider if changes to the project are needed.

Demonstration – The demonstration stage allows the students to show what they have learned. This can come in the form of a report, a presentation, a lesson given to fellow students, materials created for younger students, or any way that gives the students opportunities to use their newly gained knowledge.

An example of service learning in the Montessori classroom:

Preparation – The students may recognize the need in their community to serve citizens who are unable to buy their own food on a regular basis and rely on organizations like the Winter Haven mission or food pantries.  Research may lead them to the services available in the area and specific needs for fresh foods.  The students become very interested in figuring out how they can grow their own food and do research on preparing the soil, determining locally successful vegetables, and what supplies they’ll need for sustainment.

Action – Once the students complete their research they delve into the fun part of the process; preparing, planting, and growing the food they’ve researched together.  Once the vegetables are ready to harvest, they collect and deliver the food to the organizations they researched in the Preparation stage.

Reflection – Students get to see the reactions of those benefiting from their labors, the gratitude and recognition of a group of students who have researched the needs of their community.  The students experience the emotions of compassion and self-gratification as the larger community around them no longer represents an external society, but one which they are responsible to be a part of.

Demonstration – The students may return from their experience at the local food pantry and decide to put together a slide show of the photos they took throughout their entire process.  They organize a group presentation for the rest of the class to showcase and share their personal feelings of success and making a difference.

Grace and Courtesy

The Montessori concept of grace and courtesy is closely related to the character education in the school system. Grace and courtesy is a specific curriculum that helps Cypress Junction Montessori students to become polite, caring children who are socially adept. Topics addressed in grace and courtesy lessons will include but not be limited to interpersonal communication, common courtesy when dining, phone and email etiquette and other social graces.

Peace Education

In exploring the five great lessons of Montessori philosophy, students will come to find their place in the universe and the impact that humans can have on the planet. Through peace education, students will learn about concepts surrounding peace, conflict resolution, self-discipline and stewardship of their community on all levels.

Cypress Junction Montessori will work closely with the United Nations UNESCO tenets of peace education for its peace curriculum. Of the concepts in the UNESCO curriculum, some that would specifically be incorporated into Cypress Junction Montessorin’s curriculum include:

Develop a climate that models peaceful and respectful behavior among all members of the learning community

Demonstrate the principles of equality and non-discrimination in administrative policies and practices

Draw on the knowledge of peacebuilding that exists in the community, including means of dealing with conflict that are effective, non-violent, and rooted in the local culture

Handle conflicts in ways that respect the rights and dignity of all involved

Integrate an understanding of peace, human rights, social justice and global issues throughout the curriculum whenever possible

Provide a forum for the explicit discussion of values of peace and social justice

Use teaching and learning methods that stress participation, cooperation, problem-solving and respect for differences

Enable children to put peacemaking into practice in the educational setting as well as in the wider community

Generate opportunities for continuous reflection and professional development of all educators in relation to issues of peace, justice and rights.

Agricultural Education

Florida’s environmental literacy plan has been developed by LEEF and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Office of Environmental Education and Sustainable Initiatives in partnership with the Florida Department of Education Office of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and Florida Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools, with additional input from a wide range of stakeholders in the education and environmental communities.

The mission of the Florida Environmental Literacy Plan (FELP) is to build an increased, environmentally literate population through high quality environmental education (EE). EE teaches children and adults how to learn about and investigate their environment, and to make intelligent, informed decisions about how they can take care of it. Environmentally literate individuals have the knowledge, skills, and motivation to understand issues and make good decisions that will benefit both their local communities and surrounding habitats. We anticipate using CPALMS.org for online teacher resources and Florida Standards correlation. Additional resources for this curriculum will include, but will not be limited to, The Children & Nature Network (C&NN).

C&NN was created to encourage and support people and organizations working nationally and internationally to reconnect children with nature. It provides access to the latest news and research in this field as well as practical advice, including ways to apply newfound knowledge at home, at school, in work environments, and in the community.

See more at: http://www.childrenandnature.org

Below are a few examples of how Cypress Junction Montessori will implement Agricultural Education through gardening:

Students will participate in cleaning and preparing their fields and campus for harvesting crops.

Students will plant the gardens with herbs, vegetables, and/or fruits, monitoring their work along the way. In the classroom, manipulatives will be included in lessons to further student education and understanding of agricultural fundamentals and their importance.

F. Describe how the effectiveness of the curriculum will be evaluated.

Cypress Junction Montessori’s curriculum will be evaluated using both objective assessments like current state required criterion-referenced assessment scores, and more subjective and personal assessments such as student skill mastery checklists, parent feedback, teacher self-assessment and student portfolios. In addition, students will engage in numerous projects, demonstrations and presentations to show the progress made throughout the school year.

If the evaluation indicates there is room for improvement, then the school’s Principal, in conjunction with the teachers and overseen by the Board of Directors, will determine the steps to take to bring Cypress Junction Montessori up to the high standards that can be expected from the specialized education program of the Montessori Method.