Over 50 Years of Excellence in Education 

Curriculum

practical_life.jpg

PRACTICAL LIFE

Through practical life activities, children acquire many daily living skills that lay a foundation for the rest of the Montessori curriculum. Children develop fine and gross motor skills by performing such activities as folding napkins, polishing metals, washing tables, peeling and slicing vegetables and sewing. These activities help enhance coordination, executive function, motor planning, and powers of concentration. In addition, students become more self-assured, independent and responsible.

spiritual.jpg

SPIRITUAL LIFE

Dr. Montessori believed the spiritual formation of the child was central to their development. As embodiments of the Christian faith, Episcopal schools are communities that honor, celebrate and worship God and Jesus Christ as the center of life. Each week children attend a chapel service with instruction from St. Peter's Chaplain. Children sing songs and learn Bible stories to increase their awareness of God's love.

sensorial.jpg

SENSORIAL

Children experience the world through their senses. The presentation of the sensorial materials is vital to understanding the language that is used to describe the physical qualities that we experience in the world we live in. Materials that isolate the various visual, gustatory, olfactory, audio, tactile, thermic, baric and stereognostic qualities are matched, contrasted and compared in order to lay the foundation for future knowledge. These lessons refine their senses, giving them a fuller experience of the world. Many of these materials lay a foundation that they will explore later, mathematically. For example, the three-year-old that builds a tower from the largest cube to the smallest, will in the Elementary, use these cubes to work with equations for volume.

mathematics.jpg

MATHEMATICS

A variety of didactic materials are available to the young child in order to present quantity. The concept of numbers is presented in concrete form and move to the more abstract as the child advances. Many of the materials are especially developed for Montessori classrooms and represent materialized abstractions. Children learn to see and touch what a quantity looks like long before they are taught to perform operations with it. This means that math “just makes sense” to Montessori kids, as it wasn’t presented as these squiggles on a page, devoid of meaning. Place value is taught using the Golden Bead Material and the child is able to form quantities through the thousands. Once the child understands the formation of numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are presented. Operations are not performed in isolated groups (just units); the dynamic nature of numbers is an important experience in the Montessori classroom. Many grown-ups that see our math materials sigh, “I wish I had learned math this way!”

language.jpg

LANGUAGE

A language-rich environment is what the Montessori classroom aspires to be. Nomenclature is presented in all areas of the curriculum in order to build language skills, using the real scientific terms for things. Every object and material in the class is introduced to the child as part of the lesson and the child's first reading experience starts with sounding out a phonetic word. The moveable alphabet helps the child spell and read words, phrases and sentences. They feel they have taught themselves! Pictures and objects with matching labels, books and other prepared materials heighten the child's interest in the written word. Children are also encouraged to write creatively. Poetry and drama are an integral part of the language experience, as is cursive, which our children start off with immediately. Print is introduced later, once cursive is mastered.

cultural.jpg

CULTURAL SUBJECTS

History and Geography are introduced through stories, timelines and current events. The seven continents are studied through puzzle maps, the land and water forms and other prepared materials that include artifacts and folders of pictures and articles about cultures of the world. Music enhances our cultural experience as we introduce folk songs and dances and celebrate festivals of the world.

science.jpg

SCIENCE

We explore the physical world through observation, research and experimentation. Zoology introduces the child to the animal kingdom, life cycles and children learn to identify and classify vertebrates and invertebrates. Botany introduces children to the plant kingdom and they study plant cycles, germination and nomenclature relating to trees, leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds.

music.jpg

MUSIC AND ART

Music is experienced through movement, games and instrument playing, as well as studying different composers each month. The children have performances each semester where they show off the songs they have been learning in class. A new artist is featured each month, moving through a broad representation of the Old Masters, with an eye to exposing the children to a variety of media and types of artists. Art is also an important means of creative expression for the children in the classroom. We paint at the easel, and have a variety of media available on the shelf for the child to choose from. The older children will be able to work with a wider variety of materials and they will study the history of art and the artists and their works in more depth as well.

SpanishImmersionProgram (Phone).jpg

SPANISH IMMERSION

Children have a natural ability to absorb language. Our Spanish immersion program intends to take advantage of this golden opportunity for natural language acquisition. Studies show that the best way for children to experience a bilingual environment at home is for one parent to speak the primary language, and the other parent to speak the second language. At St. Peter’s, we use that model in the classroom, having the classroom aides speak Spanish exclusively to the children. Where possible, the guide and aide will also speak Spanish to each other so the children will get exposure to a higher conversational level as well. The guide will give lessons in English. We will be introducing materials to support Spanish language learning as the program develops, but just like our Montessori methods with traditional language instruction, the Spanish immersion program will largely be spoken, with the teachers themselves as the language materials. The children are motivated to learn Spanish as a natural consequence of working in the environment, rather than sitting for direct instruction. As an Arizona school, Spanish was the natural choice for a second language, as it becomes a facet of Practical Life to be able to speak Spanish in a state with over 20% of households speaking Spanish. Worldwide, 470 million people speak Spanish. Spanish also lays the groundwork for later learning of other Romance languages like Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and Catalan. Combined, Romance languages are spoken by 985 million people. Our Spanish immersion program is one more way that we can honor our commitment to Peace Education and helps to impart a global outlook to your child.