Bristow Montessori School. Bristow, VA 20136

Admissions of students without regard to race, color, gender, or religion


Contact Us

703 468 1191

9050 Devlin Rd

Bristow, VA 20136

7:30 am - 5:30 pm

Monday to Friday


Contact Us

703 468 1191

9050 Devlin Rd

Bristow, VA 20136

6:30 am - 6:30 pm

Monday to Friday

Elementary Program


“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”
photo of Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori

photo of Dr. Maria Montessori
“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the […]


“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.”
photo of Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori

photo of Dr. Maria Montessori
“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.”

Natural Process

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”
photo of Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori

photo of Dr. Maria Montessori
“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by […]

Living Environment

“Plainly, the environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared for his mission.”
photo of Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori

photo of Dr. Maria Montessori
“Plainly, the environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared […]


“Education should no longer be mostly imparting knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentials.”
photo of Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori

photo of Dr. Maria Montessori
“Education should no longer be mostly imparting knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentials.”


“Growth is not merely a harmonious increase in size, but a transformation.”
photo of Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori

photo of Dr. Maria Montessori
“Growth is not merely a harmonious increase in size, but a transformation.”


“BMS has been wonderful. BMS isn't just a school, they've also become like family. The staff genuinely cares about the children and we couldn't be happier with their services.”

- Parent of 4-year-old


- Parent of 4-year-old

“BMS has been wonderful. BMS isn’t just a school, they’ve also become like family. The staff genuinely cares about the […]


“These words reveal the child’s inner needs; ‘Help me to do it alone’.”
photo of Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori

photo of Dr. Maria Montessori
“These words reveal the child’s inner needs; ‘Help me to do it alone’.”


“Of all things love is the most potent.”
photo of Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori

photo of Dr. Maria Montessori
“Of all things love is the most potent.”


“We have two kids attending BMS and we all love it! We have been part of the BMS family for 3 years now. The staff is always available to answer questions and greet you at the door with a smile. Our kids are excelling in all categories, and way ahead of County school standards for their age. I highly recommend BMS to any parent who wants the best for their child.”

- Parent of 3 and 4 year-old


- Parent of 3 and 4 year-old

“We have two kids attending BMS and we all love it! We have been part of the BMS family for […]


“Such experiences is not just play…. It is work he must do in order to grow up.”
photo of Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori

photo of Dr. Maria Montessori
“Such experiences is not just play…. It is work he must do in order to grow up.”


“But an adult if he is to provide proper guidance, must always be calm and act slowly so that the child who is watching him can clearly see his actions in all their particulars.”
photo of Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori

photo of Dr. Maria Montessori
“But an adult if he is to provide proper guidance, must always be calm and act slowly so that the […]


“My 2.5 year old started at BMS when she was only 4 months old, and I couldn't be happier with our decision to enroll her here. With every room my daughter transitions to the teachers are kind and truly care for her well-being. I would recommend this school to any parent without hesitation.”

- Parent of 5-year-old


- Parent of 5-year-old

“My 2.5 year old started at BMS when she was only 4 months old, and I couldn’t be happier with […]


“Little children, from the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence.”
photo of Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori


Dr. Maria Montessori

photo of Dr. Maria Montessori
“Little children, from the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence.”

Elementary Program

Lower Elementary 1st – 3rd Grade at Bristow Montessori School

Classroom Environment

Elementary students are starting to realize that the world is an enormous, interesting place. They are primed to study continents, cultures, scientific concepts, and great literature. The world becomes their classroom. The carefully developed elementary curriculum guides the child through identifying, classifying, and researching all of the fascinating concepts in each chosen field of study. The areas of practical life, language, math, geometry, botany, zoology, geography, and history are all represented in the classroom, with materials that lead the child to abstract the fundamental concepts in each area.

An elementary Montessori classroom is a warm community: a multi-age, stimulating environment with a highly trained teacher and materials that invite exploration and research. Children learn to face challenges with confidence and begin to find their own place in the world around them.

Elementary classrooms are arranged to allow for group discussion as well as individual work and incorporate interest centers filled with intriguing learning materials, fascinating mathematical models, maps, charts, historical artifacts, computers, scientific specimens, and apparatus. The prepared environment is designed to develop basic skills as well as spark the child’s imagination, creativity, and reasoning skills. The unique curriculum challenges the child to look for answers to the questions that bubble in the elementary child’s mind.

Teaching Concepts

The Elementary teaching philosophy is rooted in and expounded upon the “Great Lessons”:

The Story of the Universe

The Coming of Life

The Coming of Humans

The Story of Language

The Story of Mathematics

Objectives and Curriculum (all grades 1st-3rd)

Practical life, which was a separate area in the 3+ – 6 classroom, is now integrated with the day-to-day care of the classroom and its inhabitants. Tasks may include preparation of snacks and daily meals and the watering of plants and care of animals. Elementary students dust the shelves, organize and straighten the materials, sweep and vacuum, and keep the classroom neat and clean.

The language area includes a comprehensive spelling curriculum, word study (including antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, and compounds, as well as the parts of speech), creative writing, and research skills. Reading of every kind is highly encouraged, as students are introduced to poetry, folk tales, non-fiction, and classic literature. Students are also given many opportunities to read out loud – giving a presentation they have written or dramatizing the work of another author.

Listening and Speaking Skills

  • Receptive skills
  • Listens to others with eye contact and positive body language demonstrating respect for others
  • Follows verbal directions – up to four steps
  • Blocks out extraneous noise/conversations and maintains work focus
  • Speaking skills
  • Speaks publicly before a small group, communicating ideas effectively
  • Participates in discussion activities regarding reading
  • Participates in drama, play, music performance activities
  • Discusses readings, “shares”, and projects within the context of personal experiences and life situations

Reading Skills

  • Word study
  • Defines and creates compound words
  • Defines and identifies: root word, suffixes, prefixes
  • Defines and applies examples
  • Antonyms
  • Synonyms
  • Homonyms
  • Similes
  • Metaphors
  • Rhyming words
  • Determines number of syllables in a word
  • Alphabetizes to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th letter
  • Uses reference texts appropriately
  • Dictionary: locates words, parts of speech, and definitions using guide words.
  • Thesaurus: locates synonyms
  • Encyclopedia: locates information an a topic
  • Atlas
  • Almanac
  • Telephone book
  • Uses Computer card catalog or Dewey decimal system for locating information in library
  • Classifies vocabulary terms and creates a chart
  • Reads orally with fluency, accuracy, and comprehension
  • Grammar
  • Defines parts of speech and identifies each part within a sentence
  • noun (proper and common); adjective; article; verb; preposition;
  • pronouns; adverbs; interjections; conjunctions
  • Locates within a sentence: subject; predicate; direct object
  • Comprehension
  • Sequences events in a story by beginning, middle, an end
  • Reads and answers comprehension questions on grade level with > 80% accuracy
  • Determines fact or opinion in statements
  • Determines cause and effect
  • Makes predictions, draws inferences, and conclusions from what is read
  • Relates and compares reading material to real life experiences
  • Combined tasks
  • Works independently to complete a task by following written directions
  • Reads for pleasure *
  • Defines and identifies: legends; myths; fairy tales; biographies; autobiographies, fiction; non-fiction
  • Participates in Jr. Great Books reading with vocabulary enrichment and assignments
  • Reads pictographs, tables, charts, and graphs with accuracy and answers questions for comprehension

Spelling Skills

  • Uses spelling strategies to accurately spell words
  • Adds plural endings: s, -es, -ies and irregular plurals
  • Uses contractions appropriately
  • Spells words on grade level using knowledge of spelling rules and patterns
  • Studies for spelling/vocabulary tests and takes test with ease

Writing Skills

  • Handwriting
  • Writes legibly in manuscript, with margins and spacing
  • Writes legibly in cursive, with margins and spacing (optional)
  • Language mechanics
  • Capitalizes correctly
  • Utilizes punctuation correctly: end marks; commas; quotation marks; colons; semicolons; hyphens; abbreviations; apostrophes
  • Writing Skills
  • Beginning skills
  • Writes 3 types of sentences: declarative; imperative; interrogatory
  • Writes a description utilizing adjectives
  • Writes a paragraph accurately with correct capitalization, punctuation and topic sentences
  • Writes a persuasive paragraph
  • Groups topics into paragraphs
  • Understands writing process: planning, drafting, revising, editing, publishing
  • Intermediate skills
  • Writes a journal entry
  • Writes poems, including a haiku poem
  • Completes a story in own word when given a story starter
  • Writes an autobiography
  • Writes a short summary of a book previously read
  • Writes a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end
  • Writes a friendly letter or thank you note with correct structure
  • Writes descriptive essay
  • Writes a newspaper article with headline and byline
  • Advanced skills
  • Illustrates a story map
  • Groups topics into paragraphs
  • Writes a comparison paragraph using a Venn diagram for a draft
  • Creates an outline from material read
  • Takes notes on important information
  • Begins general research activities: finds books, uses index, uses table of contents, records information
  • Paraphrases information from information
  • Writes short research paper with a bibliography
  • Uses a computer to publish a story or work
  • Completes assignments within deadline, demonstrating responsibility for 4th grade
  • Utilizes computer for word processing and research

The math area begins with the Golden Bead material to teach beginning math concepts (place value, quantity/symbol association, and concrete addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). The materials bring a “hands-on” quality to the classroom, with children learning through trial and error, self-discovery, and teaching from other children. The materials quickly move the child to an abstraction of math concepts, including problem-solving, fractions, borrowing and carrying, graphing, measurement, long division, and algebraic equations.

Geometry is a fascinating area of Montessori. Actual wooden shapes are used to master the terminology of all of the plane figures and solids. Matching cards are used to introduce types and positions of lines, types, and positions of angles, and special characteristics of shapes. Experimentation with other materials leads students to their own discoveries of spatial relationships, including congruence, symmetry, and equivalency.


  • Counts sequentially to any value
  • Knows place value concepts to one million
  • Writes number in expanded notation
  • Writes number to one million using commas correctly
  • Writes number in words
  • Identifies place value in various numbers
  • Classification
  • Identifies ordinal numbers (first, second, third)
  • Identifies odd and even numbers
  • Identifies Roman numerals to 20
  • Order and sequencing
  • Lists numbers before and after any given number, to one million
  • Understands that there are number less than zero
  • Sequences from least to greatest, numbers to one million
  • Sequences decimals from least to greatest
  • Sequences fractions from least to greatest
  • Finds missing numbers using multiples or knowledge of number relationships
  • Understands and applies strategies
  • Rounds numbers to the nearest 10, 100, and 1,000
  • Understands >, <, =


  • Memorizes addition facts through 18
  • Understands concept of addition with and without materials (beads/rods)
  • Adds numbers in columns
  • With and without regrouping (static and dynamic)
  • Understands concept of regrouping in addition
  • Maintains correct place value for money and decimals
  • Adds numbers in order presented horizontally
  • Converts to a vertical orientation, maintaining place value
  • Numbers above zero
  • Money
  • Decimals


  • Memorizes subtraction facts through 18
  • Understands concepts of subtraction with and without materials
  • Subtracts numbers in columns
  • With and without regrouping (static and dynamic)
  • Understands concept of regrouping in subtraction
  • Maintains correct place value for money and decimals


  • Memorizes multiplication facts through 12
  • Understands the concept of multiplication
  • Multiplies with one and two multipliers with regrouping (dynamic)
  • Lists multiples of numbers
  • Begins to find lowest common multiples of numbers
  • Can make a factor tree for a given number
  • Begins to find greatest common factors of numbers


  • Memorizes division facts through 12
  • Understands the concepts of division
  • Performs long division with and without materials

Elements Across Operations

  • Understands properties of zero for +, -, x, and
  • Understands properties of one for +, -, x, and
  • Adds or subtracts numbers above zero with a numberline
  • Conserves numbers
  • Averages numbers
  • Solves > and < equations with numbers to one million
  • Solves > and < equations with fractions
  • Understands and illustrates concepts of commutative, associative, and distributive properties (with materials)


  • Measures in centimeters and inches with a ruler
  • Finds the perimeter of rectangles and other figures
  • Finds the area of rectangles and other figures
  • Finds the volume of a rectangle with a formula
  • Measures in capacity: teaspoon, tablespoon, cup, pint, quart, gallon
  • Solves simple conversion problems with weight, capacity, and length
  • Estimates
  • Length, width, height, and weight
  • Quantity and amounts


  • Identifies correct value to U.S. currency
  • Manipulates money maintaining decimal points and dollar sign:
  • Adds, subtracts, multiplies, divides
  • Makes change to $100.00

Analogue and Digital Time

  • Tells time to the minute
  • Solves elapsed time word problems without aid of clock

Word Problems

  • Solves two and three step word problems
  • Solves word problems with all four operations, fractions, time, and money
  • Makes up word problems with all four operations


  • Squares a number
  • Cubes a number
  • Finds the square root of a simple number with and without materials
  • Figures the square of a binomial with the aid of materials
  • Figures the square of a trinomial with the aid of materials


  • Identifies fractions with materials, in relationship to cooking and geometric shapes
  • Sequences fractions from smallest to largest
  • Finds fraction equivalencies with >, <, and equal to, without materials
  • Adds and subtracts fractions with the same denominator without materials
  • Multiplies and divides fractions without materials


  • Identifies decimals concepts to ten thousandths
  • Sees relationship of decimals to fractions

Charts and Graphs

  • Reads and understands a simple chart, bar or circle graph, grid
  • Creates charts and graphs from nominal data
  • Understands 100%, 50%, 25%


  • Defines and identifies point, surface, solid, line, surface, side, edge, vertex
  • Plane geometry
  • Lines: Define, identify, and construct
  • Straight, curved, horizontal, vertical, oblique, perpendicular
  • Line, ray, and line segment
  • Parallel, convergent, and divergent
  • Angles: Define, identify, and construct parts of an angle
  • Right, straight, acute, obtuse, reflex, whole
  • Adjacent, vertical, complementary and supplementary
  • Vertical angles that are equal
  • Sizes of angles: protractor
  • Convex and reflex angles
  • Exploration of three straight lines
  • Alternate exterior, alternate interior, interior angles on the same transversal and corresponding angles
  • Parallel lines cut by a transversal
  • Alternate lines are equal
  • Corresponding angles are equal
  • Exterior or interior angles on the same side as the transversal are supplementary
  • Geometric Solids- defines and identifies: Ellipsoid, ovoid, sphere, cylinder, pyramid, rectangular prism, triangular prism
  • Triangles
  • Classification by side: scalene, isosceles, equilateral
  • Classification by angle: acute, obtuse, right
  • Classification by side and angle
  • Equilateral triangles
  • Cases of scalene and isosceles triangles
  • Base and height exploration
  • Study of orthocenter
  • Catheti
  • Interior and exterior angles of a triangle
  • Quadrilaterals: define, identify, and construct
  • Square, rectangle, rhombus, parallelogram, trapezoid, quadrilaterals
  • Types of trapezoids
  • Sum of the interior angles
  • Regular and irregular polygons
  • Types of polygons
  • Intuition of regular polygon
  • Regular to irregular polygons
  • Angles of a polygon
  • Sum of interior angles
  • Sum of exterior angles with more than four sides
  • Constructing polygons
  • Circle
  • Identifies parts of a circle
  • Mutual position of a line and circle, with and without radius
  • Relationship of two circles
  • Without a radius
  • With radii
  • Understands intersecting circles, sets
  • Determines if objects are symmetrical and congruent
  • Symmetry: mirror, flip, reverse, rotate
  • Congruency: includes image matching

Higher Level Skills

  • Determines probability through dice or spinner games
  • Pre-Algebra skills
  • Understands order of operations
  • Solves problems with parentheses
  • Algebra skills
  • Uses hands-on material to solve for “x”
  • Predictions and estimates

Botany and zoology encompass a wide field of biological study. Matching cards are used to learn the characteristics of many plants and animals, and charts aid in the classification of the plant and animal kingdoms. After this first knowledge is gained, children begin to research on their own, using their knowledge of specific plant and animal species.

Geography and history include the study of civilizations and countries. Wooden puzzle maps of each continent are studied, with children learning the names, flags, animals, cultures, and geographic features of each country. History begins with the study of time, including clocks, calendars, and timelines. As various fundamental needs of people (like shelter, transportation, food, and clothing) are explored, the children research and chart changes in these needs over time and across cultures.

Physical Geography

  • Region
  • Biomes: polar, temperate forest, tropical forest, desert
  • Classifications: Grasslands, wetlands, deserts, mountains, oceans, rainforests
  • Climate
  • Relationship between climate and region
  • Affect on life of man
  • Food & Shelter
  • How region affects food consumption
  • Staples of region
  • How and why food choices are made
  • Foods as necessities, excess, and luxuries
  • Imports and exports: what and why per region
  • Traditional shelters per region
  • Relationship between shelter type and region
  • How shelter is affected by weather, available materials, etc.
  • Flora: plant life per region
  • Fauna: animal and insect life per region

Political Geography

  • Population development
  • Growth: search for space and spiritual territory
  • How invasions and wars affect movement
  • How language develops and adapts in a region
  • Boundaries, territories, borders, and cities
  • Divisions of political regions, countries, states, provinces, etc.
  • How historic events can change boundaries
  • Cities
  • Position and importance of cities
  • Origins of particular cities
  • Names and their meanings
  • Capitals and when chosen or changed
  • Roads or passages
  • Oldest roads and their importance
  • Construction and historical development with available tools
  • Culture
  • Characteristics of peoples in the region
  • Customs and rituals per region
  • Costumes, clothing, crafts for dress and celebrations
  • Traditional food for region or culture

Globe Skills

  • Conceptual
  • What a map is? A bird’s eye view
  • Spherical globe to a flat map
  • Land vs water
  • Locators or markers
  • Identification of continents, oceans, mountain ranges
  • Latitude and longitude
  • Equator
  • Time zones


  • Parts of a flag
  • Shapes of flags
  • Flags in relationship to geographical location
  • Flags and music: national anthems of countries
  • Origins of flags


  • Beginning landforms: lake, island, peninsula, gulf, isthmus, strait
  • Advanced landforms: mesa, valley, plateau, etc.
  • Parts of the earth
  • Parts of a mountain
  • Parts of a volcano
  • Parts of a river

Functional Geography Experiments/Charts*

  • Force of attraction
  • Centrifugal and centripetal forces
  • Forces of inertia and gravity
  • Hot air rises
  • Warm air goes up
  • Volcanism
  • Erosion
  • Air occupies space
  • Specific weight
  • Stratification of rocks
  • Formation of mountains
  • Fracture of the Earth’s crust
  • Solar energy
  • Illumination of the Earth and poles
  • Perpendicular and oblique rays
  • Bad and good heat conductors
  • Night and day
  • Obliquity of the polar axis
  • Marking off imaginary parallels
  • Seasons
  • Air-pressure
  • Rapidity of cooling
  • Origins of marine currents
  • Destruction of rocks
  • Expansion

* These experiments are frequently combined with science activities. The interrelationship between any science concept and its practical relationship to geography is regularly stressed. For example, solar energy may be introduced as an energy concept in science, but the application of its uses in different regions of the world is readily reinforced.

Impressionistic charts depicting many of these concepts are utilized in teacher discussions.

Concept of Time

  • Timelines
  • BC/AD Timeline
  • Concept of zero as starting point
  • BC
  • AD (usually presented w/o religious implications)
  • Personal timeline
  • Clock of Eras: History in clock form from creation of the earth
  • Measures of time
  • Reading calendars
  • Days of the week; months of the year
  • Year and its parts
  • Age of the earth
  • History and Grammar: classification of past, present, future

Concept of History

  • Fundamental needs of mankind
  • Spiritual needs
  • Culture
  • Religion
  • Vanity
  • Material needs
  • Food: from animals, vegetables, and inorganic material
  • Clothing
  • Animal products: Leather, silk, feathers, hair, fur, wool
  • Vegetable products: Linen, cotton
  • Shelter: iron, stone, wood
  • Defense: iron, wood, gunpowder, stone
  • Transportation: wood, animals, iron, petroleum
  • Individual and collective: want vs. need
  • Chart of material needs
  • Chart of the needs of man
  • Vertical presentation of history
  • Horizontal presentation of history

Study of History

  • History experiments: development of earth as a history
  • History of creation
  • Big bang theory lesson

History of Life

  • Timeline of life
  • Eras of time for animals
  • Eras of time for plants
  • Eras of time for people
  • Timeline of man
  • Meaning of man’s appearance
  • Society and civilizations


  • Description by size, appearance, characteristics of 5 kingdoms of living things: prokaroyote, protoctista, fungi, plant, animal
  • Comparison and differentiation of vertebrates and invertebrates, past/ present
  • Classification, description, and parts of invertebrates, with specimens
  • Protozoa
  • Porifera
  • Coelenterate
  • Platzyheiminthes
  • Annelid
  • Arthropod
  • Mollusk
  • Echinidermata
  • Classification, description, external and internal parts of vertebrates
  • Fish
  • Amphibian
  • Reptile
  • Bird
  • Mammal
  • Timelines, biomes, habitats of vertebrates
  • Fish
  • Amphibian
  • Reptile
  • Bird
  • Mammal


  • Comparison of living and non-living
  • Characteristics of plants and animals
  • Comparison of plants and animals
  • Identification, type, shapes, component parts, location, and preservation
  • Trees
  • Shrubs
  • Flowers
  • Plants
  • Leaves
  • Seeds
  • Identification within plant kingdom
  • First knowledge
  • Plant stories
  • Question and answer game
  • Life cycle of plants with gardening
  • Soil preparation
  • Annuals vs. perennials
  • Planting/care
  • Introduction to concepts and practical experiments for environmental concerns
  • Water conservation
  • Energy conservation
  • Solar energy
  • Waste conservation
  • Recycling
  • Composting

Earth Science

  • Astronomy
  • Review of universe, whole to part
  • Review of solar system: planet order, characteristics
  • Introduction to stars
  • Constellations
  • Big and Little Dipper; North Star
  • Planet Earth
  • Timeline of life
  •  Creation and types of fossils
  • Classification of rocks and minerals: sedimentary, ignateous, metamorphic
  • Origin of earth
  • Existence of theories
  • Plate tectonics
  • Pangea
  • Definition, identification, formation of landforms
  • Stresses to landforms: erosion, water, wind, earthquakes, man
  • Comparison of continents
  • Biomes
  • Other comparisons (see Geography)
  • Definition, identification, formation of water forms
  • Stresses to water forms: erosion, pollution, land development
  • Identification of oceans and major seas
  • Comparisons of salt vs fresh water
  • Ocean life
  • Vocabulary recognition of atmospheric layers
  • Orientation, direction, beginning mapping skills
  • Review compass, N,S,E,W
  • Longitude and latitude
  • Global positioning
  • Seasons
  • Cause of day/night
  • Cause and comparison of spring, summer, autumn, winter
  • Phases of the moon
  • Weather
  • Measurements and instruments
  • Temperature
  • Barometer, aerometer, thermometer, hydrometer
  • Elements and how each affect weather
  • Air, wind, heat, precipitation
  • Classification and identification of major cloud formations
  • Types, causes, and safety measures for storms
  • Thunderstorms
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Description of water cycle
  • Water conservation


  • Three States of Matter
  • Definition and identification of solid ,liquid, gas
  • Experiments
  • Physical properties of matter: soft, hard, rigid., etc.
  • Forces and how they act on matter
  • Vocabulary of and experiments for chemical and physical changes in matter
  • Creation of solutions
  • Effect of heat on matter
  • Definition and experiments for acid and base
  • Testing of liquids
  • Testing of soil
  • Periodic table of elements
  • Presentation of chart
  • Location and identification of simple elements: e.g. hydrogen, oxygen, gold
  • Atomic structure
  • Vocabulary and identification of molecules and atoms
  • Protons, electrons, neutrons
  • Atomic diagram


  • Electricity
  • Where electricity is used
  • Observation of whole to part: lamp to bulb to filament
  • Existence of circuit for electricity to flow
  • Observation of and experiments for magnets: positive and negative components
  • Theory and purpose of gravity
  • Definition and experiments for buoyancy
  • Balance
  • Scientific scale, gram scale
  • Making predictions and estimations
  • Definition of and manipulation of seven simple machines
  • Concepts of mass, work, friction
  • Motion
  • Force, speed, direction
  • Principles and forces acting upon flight
  • Air foil, lift, wind
  • Inertia, friction
  • Types and identification of light: spectrum, ultraviolet, transparent, and opaque
  • Sound
  • Propagation of wave
  • Experiments with sound through different states of matter
  • Human hearing

Scientific Process and Principles

  • Observation
  • The child’s ability to recognize whole/part relationships is reinforced and heightened
  • Skills occur through prepared classroom environment
  • Skills occur in natural environment: nature walks, field trips
  • Experimentation
  • Self-directed trials through prepared classroom environment
  • Group trials on random environmental topics
  • Annual participation in science fair project
  • Research
  • Research process presented conceptually
  • Reviews are completed on self and teacher-selected topics throughout the year
  • Review completed for annual science fair project
  • Presentation
  • Individual interests observed, experimented, or researched are encouraged for oral presentation during weekly share time
  • Oral and written presentation for projects and experiments
  • Group discussions regarding experimental process: cause/effect, predictions, hypotheses, conclusions, etc.
Maria Montessori summed up the age 6-9 classroom as so: “The elementary child has reached a new level of development. Before he was interested in things: working with his hands, learning their names. Now he is interested mainly in the how and why – the problem of cause and effect.”

What is Cosmic Education?

“Cosmic Education” is the overall approach to the curriculum throughout Our Montessori Elementary Program at BMS. By this, we mean the integration of language and literature, mathematics, sciences, geography, environmental studies, and the arts. Children at the lower elementary age have unlimited interests in our universe and their place in it, constantly asking questions and inquiring about what surrounds them. Therefore, we present students with all subject areas (“the cosmos”) and allowed the freedom to explore any of them in as much depth as they desire, with the guidence and knowledge of the elementary teachers (lead guides). Teachers give individual and small group lessons according to interest and need and children choose their work in the manner they learned in Primary. As students master an area, they are introduced to the next concept. It is the job of the elementary teacher to provide the student with the materials and information to allow the student the opportunity to discover all their is to learn about the world and universe around them.

At least as important as the facts about the world that are learned is the development of a rigorous questioning and investigative process within the child. Students learn what questions must be asked, how to think through problems, how to analyze situations, and find answers on their own and working in a group. For students continuing the three-year cycle format from Primary, the Elementary program overlaps and complements the activities presented at the Primary level. FOr new students joining the MOntessori lower elementary program, our lead guides work closely with the student to learn where they are in their learning and focus on mastering skills at the appropriate level. First through third graders share and take ownership of the classroom and progress at their own pace in their academic learning.

Students in the elementary classroom are expected to become increasingly responsible for their own education. Students work closely with the lead guides weekly to design and arrange their own schedule for each day. For example, students decide if they would like to complete their block of Math work in the morning or afternoon, maybe Geography after lunch, and if they work well with their friend Lizzy in Language Arts, they may schedule a time to work through their spelling lessons together. Our goal is to inspire students to take responsibility in their education, allowing them to play a role they may not otherwise have in a traditional classroom setting.

Continued joy in learning, self-discipline in one’s work, organization of one’s time, respect for classmates, and participation in the community of the classroom, the wider school as well as the larger community are hallmarks of success for Montessori elementary students at BMS.

State Standards and Testing

While every child is required to meet the minimum standards set out by the State in the BMS Lower elementary program, no boundaries are set on the breadth or depth of their study. Montessori students tend to be drawn toward 1-2 academic areas of interest, in addition to the required areas of study, and excel both academically and in personal autonomy in those areas. Students will be tested periodically using state-certified testing, with the permission of parents, in order to build a solid portfolio of progress as they transition from our Lower Elementary program to upper elementary. Detailed records of the student’s progress will be provided to the parent, and also detailed in quarterly reports and via the student portfolio.

Keeping track of work

Children in an elementary classroom begin to keep a record of their work. This can take the form of a journal, a work plan or chart. The child still has the freedom to choose their own work, as well as choosing to work with another child or in a group. Keeping track of their work helps them make good work choices, and lets the teacher see which presentations have been done and which are still needed.

“The elementary child has reached a new level of development. Before he was interested in things: working with his hands, learning their names. Now he is interested mainly in the how and why… the problem of cause and effect. The role of education is to interest the child profoundly in an external activity to which he will give all of his potential. ” – Maria Montessori

Lead Elementary Guides