Total maximum enrollment of 28 children ages 5 – 12 years old.
In 1997, the Lower Elementary Program began at Creative Learning Montessori to serve children Kindergarten to 2nd grade based on the teachings of Italian physician Dr. Maria Montessori. In order to meet the needs of the students and parents in the Creative Learning Montessori community the Upper Elementary Program was added in 2001. This expansion afforded the students the opportunity to complete the Elementary Program Dr. Maria Montessori created.
With a strong Montessori base and Montessori-trained teachers, the elementary academic programs at Creative Learning Montessori emphasize helping children develop a life-long love of learning. With studies in math, reading, writing, geometry, history, geography, science, foreign language, physical education, music, drama, and art, we provide the variety in education that helps children realize just how inner connected all parts of life are. Believing in educating the whole child, daily experiences also emphasize conflict-management, cooperative learning, and commitment to the environment and community.
Creative Learning Montessori considers its environment a learning “community” in every sense.
Our elementary classroom truly embraces the Montessori philosophies of children teaching and learning from one another. With a three year age span in each class group the opportunities for each child to learn at his/her own level and work to the greatest potential is a constant. The classrooms offer areas for multiple activities to happen simultaneously without disturbing one another. Children see daily how learning is a process of building on acquired knowledge and have others to model from.
The classrooms are staffed with a Lower and Upper Elementary teacher. This provides the children with their “base” teacher, which gives a sense of continuity, and group directed activities, while having the other teacher to offer an avenue into activities and materials that may, in many settings, be unavailable. Each teacher focuses on her core group, while freely interacting with and teaching all children in the elementary program.
A Montessori classroom is based on 3-year cycles of learning with the same peers, teachers and curriculum rotation. An understanding of this progression is important as a parent of a child participating in Montessori education. Often lessons are presented on the three-year cycle, and though we welcome children for any portion of the program, a child gains the most from a commitment to the whole sequence.
This 3-year programming has many benefits that are enjoyed by student, teacher and parent. The ability to start a school year with a teacher that has a knowledge of your child offers the advantage of knowing that learning will start on day one, without the usual lag time while a teacher gets to know a child’s abilities, learning style, strengths and challenges. The peer group is well established and the friendships formed over multiple years, makes the educational experience all that much more enjoyable and beneficial from a social standpoint. The emotions of dealing with the unknown are greatly minimized, and those that are character building, are faced in an environment of comfort and support as the children pass from year to year.
The daily activities in our classroom are as varied as the children who make up the program. Each day includes class meetings, independent work time, individual, small and large group lessons.
Though a class curriculum is set for the areas to be covered during the course of the year, the time spent on each unit and the depth of study is often determined by the interest of the group and the direction they take it. Often lessons are carried much farther than planned as we “follow the lead of the child”.
Individual curriculum is based n the needs and abilities of each child, and is ever evolving and changing.
Enrichment courses (art, music, Spanish, p.e.) Each of our enrichment courses is taught by contracted teachers who join us weekly for their area of expertise. The children look forward to the weekly classes when they can delve into developing an understanding and appreciation for these extended learning subjects.
- Classroom Work
Each child in our elementary program is responsible for recording his/her daily work in a composition book. This book acts as an ongoing visual of the work accomplished, the sequence of lessons being presented and a “child created textbook”. By recording entire activities, as opposed to filling in blanks on ready made worksheets, the child gains a more concrete understanding of the lessons being given. By reviewing these cumulative works the teachers are able to adjust future activities to the specific needs of the child.
Seeing your child’s composition books fill and talking to him about the lessons represented becomes an interactive way of participating in your child’s education.
It is an excitement all our children experience as they close in on filling one book and moving on to a new one, and a true understanding of the building blocks of knowledge that they achieve as they look back at the books they have filled.
Consistent daily attendance is very important. Included in this is arriving at class in time to start the day with the rest of the class. Lessons often carry from day to day and week to week. Excessive lost time is hard to make up. Although the program is very individualized, being part of the group and participation is paramount to achieving all benefits of the class. Each child is given a great deal of responsibility for their learning and the adults in his/her life must show a prioritization of education in their life. Though learning happens through all arenas of life, not just the classroom, and life experiences can sometimes be worthy of missed class time, these times should be kept to a minimum and chosen with care. As a registered elementary school with the State of Illinois we are only able to promote children to the next level of education if we feel their attendance warrants a full “year” of class time.
The lunch program at Creative Learning Montessori has two components.
Catered lunches are provided for all children and the cost is included in tuition. These are hot lunches with balanced meals and we encourage all our students to take advantage of the lunch program. Children can alternately bring a lunch from home if there are medical (including vegetarianism) or religious reasons to not participate in our hot lunch program. Lunches brought from home should only include a healthy variety of foods that represent the main food groups included in our lunch program and do not include items that have no nutritional value or have excessive sugar. No candies or soda should be brought as part of the meal.
Please refer to our Food Restrictions handout & forms for more information.
A morning snack is available each morning for the children to enjoy. Children go to snack as a break from work, to have a few minutes of social time (or alone time) and to get a “boost” that is often needed in the hours between breakfast and lunch. These snacks include fruits, vegetables and grains.
Peanuts and Other Nuts
With the increase in children experiencing strong nut & peanut allergies we have designated Creative Care & Creative Learning as a “ Nut Free School”.
Birthdays (and “1/2 birthdays” for children with summer birthdays) are celebrated by the class with the in-class baking of cupcakes by the birthday child and a chosen partner and recognition of the important event by the class as a whole.
A Montessori classroom tries to provide representation of different life forms so classroom pets are a part of our school. The care of these animals provides the children with yet another age appropriate responsibility for their school. Please let us know if your child has any allergies that we need to be aware of.
The children at CLMS have highly individualized work plans that by their very nature, include very little time each day spent on “unproductive” activities. This allows us to send minimal work home at the end of the day.
All children are assigned to do skill level reading for 20 minutes each night. Typically, all other day to day homework is assigned in limited amounts, with the emphasis on the responsibility of doing work outside of the classroom, finishing it on time, and getting it back to school in a timely manner. (Homework does become more labor intensive in the upper grades.)
Each Monday elementary children are given a spelling list for the week. Lists are assigned based on the child’s ability level. The lists are to be practiced at home and spelling dictation is done each Friday as a follow up of knowledge gained.
In conjunction with our social skills lessons, children have a virtue each month that is emphasized. At the beginning of the month creative writing assignments are sent home that focus on the month’s virtue.
Independent research projects are done throughout the year. These projects coincide with subjects being explored by the class and usually have a due date a few weeks after they have been assigned. Research projects have graduating levels of expectations depending on the age and abilities of the child. Upon completion the children give oral presentations to the class on the subject they have researched.
Examples of research projects are countries of the world, free choice science fair displays, human body, plants, etc.
Experiencing learning outside of the classroom is very important to our program and the elementary group goes on frequent excursions to help facilitate this.
- School Day Excursions
Monthly outings are to be expected, with additional trips taken advantage of if the opportunity arises.
Excursions are planned and announced well in advance if possible, but wishing to stay open to unanticipated opportunities, there are numerous times during the year when a “last minute” e-mail appears with information of a trip coming up on the near horizon.
All excursions require a signed permission slip for the child to attend, and there are no alternative activities provided at the school if a child is not released to join the outing.
The cost of class excursions is collected at the beginning of the year in the classroom fee. With the exception of overnight excursions (see below) we are typically able to cover a full year of excursions with this fee, and you will only be assessed additional fees if we have unexpected costs in a particular year. In most cases, to cover expenses, an excursion fee must be collected even if unexpected situations cause a student to not attend. School bus transportation is used for travel during excursions.
- Overnight Excursions
As an extension to the benefits of learning outside of the classroom, there are a number of overnight excursions for the children to enjoy. Lower Elementary students attend a one night outing each year to Timber-Lee Camp in East Troy, Wisconsin and the Upper Elementary kids spend a week at Nature’s Classroom Institute in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. Transportation to and from these excursions is provided by parents and carpooling is often arranged. These overnight trips are billed in addition to the yearly excursion fee.
Learning to recognize the positive power of doing for others is important in each day of our program, and this life approach is demonstrated in the many community service activities organized and executed by our elementary students. From service within our school, to local charities, to world efforts the children are participating in service to others many times throughout the year.
Open and frequent communication between teaching staff, administration and parents is a high priority for our program. The children know that we are a team working together, with them, in their best interest. Please feel free to contact any one of us with questions, comments or concerns, and we will exercise the same openness with you. Teaching staff needs to be selective as to the times spent away from the class and are not available for conversation at drop off time or during class time. We ask your indulgence if they need to return a call or schedule to meet with you at a convenient time.
Weekly classroom notes are distributed to the elementary school families to keep you current on group studies, planned events, etc. We encourage you to communicate often through email, phone, or we will be happy to set aside a time to get together.
Scheduled parent/teacher conferences are held twice a year, in the fall and again late winter. Conferences are goal setting and offer a platform for open dialog as to the progress being made. Conference time is scheduled for the parent and teachers without the child in attendance.
Other conferences may be called throughout the year to assess and discuss any of the many areas of growth that may apply to an individual child.
Parents & other family members are provided with a number of activities throughout the year that let them feel like a part of Creative Learning Montessori School. Events that take place outside of the school day hours include a Science Fair, end of the year Art Show, Presentation Night and two school parties that include performances by the students.
Our program embraces the philosophy of acceptance and celebration of differences in individuals, so we have a wide variety of children. At times the academic, emotional or physical needs of students could benefit from the additional services of professionals that specialize in a particular area of child development. Our program does not have these support members on staff and therefore we may recommend contracting such support through outside services. This assessment and/or support can often be obtained through the local school district or private agencies. In most cases this support may be recommended but not required. Occasionally, a child will have a need that we feel we cannot adequately meet without support.
Assessment of student skills is easily done through observation & evaluation of classroom work since children and teachers are working together in all areas of study and for extended time. In general our students are working at, or above, grade level. With a well balanced population of students we have children working at many levels and staff is carefully assuring that each child is working at a challenging and appropriate rate. Each staff member is knowledgeable of the expectations of grade level skills and keeps ongoing records on each child for the 3 years the child is in their class. We will keep you informed if there is a concern.
If you are interested in having your child participate in additional assessment outside of our program we will be happy to help you find services.
Looking Toward The Future
We have had excellent feedback from families whose children have moved into programs ranging from continued private schooling to traditional public schools. It is with great pride that we can state our students have moved into their next educational experiences as confident, well rounded, self directed learners. Knowing that the question of “moving on” is on the minds of all parents who have chosen to participate in independent schooling, we have had many families whose children have advanced from our programs offer to share their experiences with others. Please let us know if you would like names & numbers for contact.