The Montessori School of Syracuse is organized into seven multi-age classrooms: four cottages for children ages 3 to 6 (primary school and kindergarten); two lower-elementary classrooms for children ages 6 to 9 (grades 1-3); and one upper-elementary classroom for children ages 9 to 12 (grades 4-6).
By staying in the same classroom for three years, children develop close personal and working relationships with teachers and classmates and a strong sense of community. The multi-age classroom also allows students to learn from their peers; younger students are inspired and mentored by older students, while older students reinforce their knowledge and develop leadership skills by helping younger students.
Our faculty and staff have a deep respect for each child as an individual. In keeping with the Montessori philosophy, we aim to give each child as much independence as possible while adhering to a carefully designed curriculum.
In addition to the traditional school subjects such as mathematics, science, history and language arts (reading, writing and grammar), we offer a broad range of subjects designed to enrich our students’ personal and academic development. These subjects include French, yoga, recorder, music history, geography, geometry, theater workshop and Great Books. We also offer after-school workshops such as African drumming, cross-country skiing, sewing and soccer, as well as private piano lessons.
The Montessori School of Syracuse sits on an eight-acre campus near the intersection of Tecumseh and Nottingham roads in DeWitt. Our students also enjoy the use of the Montessori Land Laboratory, a 50-acre wooded property with a pond and buildings in Pompey.
Primary School and Kindergarten – Ages 3 to 6
The Montessori method is a proven approach to education practiced in thousands of public and private schools throughout the United States and around the world.
Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female physician, a Montessori education is based on the belief that children are unique, have different interests and needs, and learn in different ways at different speeds. Dr. Montessori believed that a school designed to address these individual differences would help children learn most effectively.
This focus on the child led Dr. Montessori to develop a very different sort of learning environment from the traditional teacher-centered classroom. In our primary classrooms, children move freely, selecting work that interests them. When they are hungry, they prepare their own snacks. When something spills, they clean it up.
Teachers move among the children, observing their work, introducing materials at appropriate times and directing them through a logical progression of skills.
Our students learn by working with carefully designed Montessori materials. These materials encourage hands-on manipulation and exploration, and they help students thoroughly understand the concepts they are learning.
Organized by subject throughout the room from the most simple and concrete to the most complex and abstract, the Montessori materials, themselves, create a logical and rewarding learning path.
By encouraging students to use a personal-best approach rather than peer competition, the Montessori School of Syracuse nurtures children’s curiosity, creativity and cooperation and builds self-confidence, compassion and leadership.
Elementary School – Ages 6 to 12
During the elementary years, children at the Montessori School of Syracuse continue on their path of self-discovery while developing solid academic skills.
The morning of the elementary day – like the primary day – is an uninterrupted three-hour work period. Students choose tasks in math, science, language arts, cultural studies, geography and other academic areas. They also receive individual and small-group lessons.
In the afternoons, students participate in “specials” – classes such as art, music history, recorder, theater workshop, French and fitness – which are taught outside the main classrooms by specialty teachers.
Our multi-age elementary classrooms are designed to address each child’s developmental and academic needs. In the 6- to 9- year-old classrooms, children are given plenty of time to learn basic math processes, and to hone reading and writing skills. In the 9- to 12-year-old classroom, students learn time management and study skills as they pursue advanced topics such as algebra, geometry, creative writing and computer science.
Students do not receive nightly homework. We believe that elementary students with homework every night do not get the break from school that they need, and we want our students to come to school eager to learn and work. However, your child may have Great Books assignments, recorder practice and occasional research projects to be done at home.
Elementary students are regularly assessed through direct teacher assessment, review tests, and student portfolios. We do not customarily grade our students’ work, but give detailed comments and require corrections to ensure that students master their lessons. A recent comparison of our school and New York State standards revealed that we teach at or above the state standards. Beginning in fourth grade, students take the CTP IV test, developed by the Educational Records Bureau, the company that designs the SATs. The test provides important diagnostic feedback about a child’s performance and gives students the opportunity to practice taking standardized tests.