‘The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.’ – Dr. Montessori
The specially-designed Montessori elementary materials form the basis of the Montessori curriculum and this curriculum covers the following subject areas: Mathematics, Geometry, Geography, Earth Sciences, Botany, History, Languages (English and Dutch), Literature, Art, Music and Physical Education.
The minimum standards in each subject area are set according to the US Common Core Standards, as well as the Dutch Core Objectives of Primary Education. At such a time as standards specific to Aruba are developed, they will also be included in the curriculum. The children will be prepared to take the Dutch CITO Eindtoets (final exam) as well as the 6th Grade Common Core Standardized Test by the end of their second three year cycle.
This reference to US and Dutch standards forms the minimum requirement for the children of the Montessori Elementary Schoolhouse in Aruba. However, it is expected that the children discover and learn much more than what is required by these standards. Online tests are also available for the children to work with in order for them to self-assess their progress in relation to the expectations of the Dutch/US curriculum.
Method of Instruction
This method of education is tailored to the individual, so that each child can proceed in the areas of study and at the pace most suited to that child. For example, a child with a passion for mathematics may naturally proceed through the math curriculum at a faster pace than a child with a passion for languages, and vice versa. Regardless of individual passions, each child is instructed in all areas of the required curriculum and is expected to work in all areas of the curriculum.
Collaborative research forms an important part of the Montessori elementary curriculum. The various subject areas are explored in an interdisciplinary way while also engaging children in team work. Research projects not only teach the child about a particular topic, but also develop reading, writing and general communication skills, as well as time and project management skills.
The children eat school-provided healthy snacks and warm lunches every day. The lunch program of the Montessori Elementary Schoolhouse guides the children in gaining responsibility, confidence, and independence as well as meeting their nutritional needs. Children participate in planning and preparing the weekly menu. Through this work, responsibility and awareness is also developed in relation to recycling and resource efficiency, and finding ways to improve our environment.
The school day starts at 8 am and ends at 2.30 pm. There is one three-hour work period in the morning and a two-hour work period in the afternoon during which lessons are presented in the various subject areas. Children work with the materials and carry out project work. Outside time also features in the work period incorporating botany and science. Physical education is incorporated into the program every day.
Field trips are an integral part of the school program. ‘Going out’ allows the Montessori Elementary Schoolhouse children to connect their classroom to the reality of the outside world in Aruba. As part of their research projects, children are encouraged to explore outside the classroom and arrange visits to interesting places in their community.