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The Lower Elementary program (grades 1-3) is a multi-age environment designed to meet the social, emotional and academic needs of the 6 to 9 year old. The curriculum provides each child with the opportunity to delve deeply into topics and develop an understanding of the relationships between concepts.

Students at ASM show what they’ve learned in a multitude of formats that include working with Montessori materials, conducting labs and experiments, engaging in project based work, writing essays and discussing what they’ve learned in groups. Learning this way allows students to collaborate, create and problem-solve, and are all forms of assessment even though they may not look like the familiar quiz or test. Learning outcomes that require higher order thinking can’t be assessed in a multiple choice testing format, which measure student achievement based upon small bits of information that are easily scored.

The skills that students need to acquire as they journey down their path of education are the ability to critically think and analyze, and apply the information they’ve learned to real-life problems. At ASM, your child will be assessed through daily teacher observations, discourse, essay writing, and by using project rubrics.

Sample Daily Schedule

8:15–8:40 a.m. Recess

8:45–9:05 a.m. Morning Meeting

9:05–10:35 a.m. Language Lessons Work Cycle

10:35 –10:50 a.m. Snack

10:50 –11:50 a.m. Writing

11:50 –12:00 p.m. Clean Up

12:00–12:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30–1:00 p.m. Recess

1:00–2:25 p.m. Math Lessons Work Cycle

2:30–3:00 p.m. Spanish

3:00–3:15 p.m. Chores and prepare for dismissal

Core Curriculum


Math manipulatives (hands-on materials) are some of the most elegant and intuitive of the Montessori materials. Daily practice with these materials enables your child to begin to move from concrete to abstract reasoning. Research shows the optimum development of mathematical understanding involves linking the two hemispheres of the brain (the right being concrete/experiential, the left symbolic/linguistic). This natural way of learning concepts is fundamental to the Montessori approach to learning mathematics.

Students learn the four operations (addition, multiplication, subtraction and division), fractions, decimals, estimation, measurement, graphing, word-problems, patterns and relationships. Using two and three-dimensional materials, students learn geometric concepts such as lines, angles and polygons, understanding their parts and discovering relationships. When students are ready, teachers introduce them to advanced math and geometric concepts and activities, with each student progressing at their own pace.

The math curriculum at the Lower Elementary level is aligned with and exceeds the Massachusetts state and national frameworks for math instruction.

Language Arts

Language Arts encompasses reading, writing and literature. Reading is the framework upon which all other elementary studies are built. We use a phonetically-based approach to teach students to read by decoding words and to spell by encoding words. Grammar studies provide the mechanics of writing, allowing students to effectively communicate what they know. Through the writing process, children learn to construct high-quality sentences and paragraphs. Our students embrace the creative process of writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry, learning to edit and revise along the way. In Literature Circles, students discuss and analyze themes while developing strong reading comprehension skills. Our goal is for your child to develop an appreciation and love of literature through the study of different genres.


The Montessori curriculum offers endless opportunities for your child to pursue their interests in history and geography and engage in creative project work. Through this work, students gain skills in inquiry, research, note-taking, collaboration, writing and public speaking. In Lower Elementary, students work with maps and become aware of geography related to cultures around the world. Through the use of timelines, students gain an appreciation for historical events along a continuum from the beginning of time.


In Lower Elementary students become proficient in using the scientific method to answer questions about the world around them. Experiments in life, earth and physical sciences allow your child to view life through the lens of a scientist. Students develop skills in formulating hypotheses, taxonomy, measurement, organization, collaboration, research and public speaking. Students have the opportunity to work independently to design an experiment in which they utilize the scientific method and present their findings at our annual school-wide Science Fair.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

The STEM curriculum in the lower elementary grades focuses on engaging students in meaningful activities that encourages them to question, problem solve and collaborate. Connecting the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to real life situations captures the imagination of our young scientists, fostering a love of science and math. Students are provided with many hands-on activities and experiments throughout the curriculum, allowing them to work through the Engineering Design Process and the Scientific Method. Throughout the process, students gain a better understanding of how engineers and scientist think and solve problems.

Exposing students at a young age to the wonders of the natural world engenders a spirit of curiosity and love of learning.



Students in grades 1–3 have class once per week. Through interactive class discussions, students are exposed to influential works of art from across time. As they discover the important role that art has played around the world, they see how it reflects the values and way of life of the people who made it. As they create their own works of art in these new styles, students expand their own artistic skills and visual language. They also develop a deeper understanding of art history and a greater appreciation for other cultures. Each spring, students select several works for display in the annual Student Art Show.

Open Art Studio allows students to spend additional time in the Art Room on creative projects they are working on in within their academic curriculum.

Students will:

  • Create art using a wide range of materials including: paint, watercolor, yarn, clay, colored pencils, oil pastels, wire, foil, and wood
  • Learn about the art of influential cultures and historical periods including: Ancient Egyptian art, Greco-Roman art, Medieval & Renaissance art, Native American art, African art, Asian art, and Oceanic art
  • Develop the ability to analyze art and discuss it with confidence
  • Learn techniques that build drawing, painting, illustration, design and sculpture skills
  • Select their own works of art for exhibit in the hallways
  • Share materials and speak about the artwork of others in a respectful manner, building a safe environment in which creativity can blossom


ASM’s Health Program engages students in thinking critically about health and healthy behaviors. Students set individual health goals and track their progress. Topics such as the value of good nutrition, positive decision-making and predicting consequences, and Internet safety are discussed. ASM’s Health Program is taught in collaboration with the Physical Education teacher the School Nurse, and guest speakers.

The curriculum is based upon the Great Body Shop ®. Teaching methods include lecture, demonstration, projects, discussions, and role playing, among others. We acknowledge that you are your child’s primary health educator and we value your partnership. Your child will bring home materials so that you are aware of the lessons being presented and be involved in their class work.

In Lower Elementary, your child learns about emotional health and its relationship to physical health, anatomy and physiology, safety, preventative health measures, exercise and relaxation techniques.


Weekly Lower Elementary music classes consist of singing, playing instruments, moving to music, and other various musical activities. Guided by the Orff and Kodaly methods of pedagogy, students strengthen their love and appreciation of music through exploration and play.

Students will:

  • Create music together through singing and playing instruments, including Orff xylophones and percussion instruments.
  • Arrive at an understanding of music through critical listening and intentional movement.
  • Explore elements of music such as form, tempo, meter, and rhythm.

Students are provided several opportunities for both solo and ensemble performance throughout the year, including both in the classroom and on stage. Each December, the Elementary and Middle School present a winter concert. Additionally, Third Year students present a musical performance at their Moving-Up ceremony in June.

Physical Education

The mission of our physical education program is to provide students with a safe and positive physical environment while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

In Lower Elementary, students engage in a variety of cooperative activities and team oriented games which will develop intermediate locomotor skills and athletic ability. In addition, the students will learn to take initiative, act as leaders, exhibit good sportsmanship and contribute effectively within a team. Lower Elementary students meet twice a week and will learn to play soccer, basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, football, dance, participate in agility drills and adventure games.


During weekly classes, students begin to develop fluency in Spanish by using thematic vocabulary and simple grammatical structures through the repetition of visual-tactile activities, games, songs, conversation, music, and short sentence writing.

Students will:

  • Practice pronunciation
  • Build listening comprehension skills
  • Converse in Spanish during circle time and when performing skits
  • Explore Hispanic cultures and traditions through a variety of media

Field Trips

The professional theatre company from Plymouth State University, TIGER (Theater Integrating Guidance, Education, and Responsibility), teaches Lower Elementary students how to approach social situations in a proactive and positive manner. Our students always look forward to watching the TIGER Theatre actors perform while they learn valuable life lessons and strategies.

Hagerman the Magician’s Math-A-Magic program enlightens students with optical illusions, patterns, and how our brain uses math naturally.

In addition, Lower Elementary students have traveled to:

  • Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge, MA.
  • Museum of Science in Boston, MA.
  • Boston Children’s Theater in Boston, MA.
  • New England Aquarium in Boston, MA.
  • Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Boston, MA.
  • Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA.

Standardized Tests

In grades one and two, students’ literacy skills are assessed through DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills). DIBELS is administered three times a year and the results provide feedback that helps to inform instruction within the classroom. If a student scores below the benchmarks, the learning specialist, teacher and parents meet to discuss a plan for supporting the student.

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