SMS teaching methods follow the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori by giving each child the freedom of choice and individual learning opportunities. In each classroom, the children work by themselves or with a partner, receive small-group lessons, or join large-group work.
Multi-Age Class Groupings
Each class has students with approximately a three-year age span. This allows younger children to learn by observing older students. And older students have an opportunity to develop leadership skills by serving as role models to the younger children.
Three Program Levels
- Toddler classes are for children aged 18 months to three years old
- Children’s House classes are for children three to six years old
- Lower Elementary classes are for students in first grade through third grade
- Upper Elementary classes are for students in fourth through sixth grade
Non-Montessori Environment [PDF]
In a Montessori classroom, children are surrounded by concrete materials that enhance and explain what they are studying. All items in the classroom are scaled to the child’s size, including furniture, utensils, and the Montessori materials themselves. Children are encouraged to interact with their environment.
Uninterrupted Work Periods
For more information, visit the American Montessori Society website.
Grace and Courtesy
Care and Respect for the Environment
Peace education and conflict resolution is an integral part of the Montessori curriculum at SMS. Everyday experiences in a supportive community allow children to express their needs, feelings, and emotions while also allowing them to develop sympathy, empathy, and appreciation for human differences. Children learn negotiation and conflict resolution skills through daily interactions with others. Children’s House classrooms have a “peace rose” where two students can go to resolve a conflict. Children learn to take turns holding the “peace rose” while speaking about how they feel with the goal of resolving their conflict. With very young children, adults model and coach the children with words they can use. Older students do this independently. Elementary students may participate in classroom meetings where conflicts are discussed, brainstormed, and resolved as a group.