Lower Elementary at Greene Towne Montessori School
Greene Towne Montessori is excited to offer Lower Elementary (LE) (1st – 3rd grades) in Fall of 2023, the first of its kind in Center City Philadelphia and in the school’s history! The LE program incorporates the familiar pedagogy from the Primary program – a mixed aged classroom, individualized instruction, and evaluation – and includes expanded instruction designed to tap into what Maria Montessori called the “second plane of development,” the phase of development for the lower elementary age group.
The Lower Elementary Environment and Curriculum
Similar to the Primary Environment, the LE curricular materials are organized by subject area in the highly structured environment within which children have freedom of movement and engagement. At every stage, the Montessori curriculum is interdisciplinary by design.
The LE curriculum revolves around the 5 Great Lessons:
- First – Coming of the Universe and the Earth
- Second – Coming of Life
- Third – Coming of Human Beings
- Fourth – Communication in Signs
- Fifth – The Story of Numbers.
Each of the 5 Great Lessons includes not only the functional aspects of that curricular area (math, language, science) but the history of the subject. For example in math, students learn the history of mathematics, answering questions like, “where did mathematics develop in the history of human intellectual development?”
Through the Great Lessons, LE students develop a deeper understanding of each curricular area while engaging in further practical applications such as learning grammar and spelling through writing and shifting from learning to read to reading to learn.
Greene Towne’s location provides unequaled access to Philadelphia’s numerous cultural institutions and will be indispensable in our SCIENCE, HISTORY, MUSIC, and ART studies. One example among many: For students who are learning about Ancient Egypt they will:
- Conduct research by reading about the era (in books and online) and share their findings by writing about what they learned or create a play to demonstrate a particular event – LANGUAGE.
- Organize a trip to the Penn Museum – PRACTICAL LIFE.
- Learn about and make their own papyrus and decorate it with pictographs – ART.
- Make model Pyramids – GEOMETRY & MATH.
- Research and cook a typical ancient Egyptian meal from finding and reading a recipe, making a shopping list, going to store, measuring ingredients, and collaborating with classmates – LANGUAGE, MATH, PRACTICAL LIFE.
A Sample Day in the Life of a Greene Towne Lower Elementary Student
- 8:00 am. Students come in, put their belongings away and look at the schedule to see what they should do next (read, write in their journal, or start morning work). Each student fills in their individual work planners before morning meeting starts.
- 8:45 am Morning meeting: Review the schedule and lessons for the day, and weekly assignments due by the end of the week. The teacher reviews each student’s planner individually and helps each child get started on their first work of the day.
- 9:30 am. Small group lessons; while other students work on independent works on the floor or at their desk.
- 11:25 am. Clean up, classroom jobs.
- 11:40 am Lunch/Recess
- 12:15 pm. D. E. A. R. (Drop Everything And Read)
- 1:15 pm Afternoon work cycle, specials including Music, PE, Spanish, and Art, depending on the day’s schedule. Co-Lead teachers observe and work with individuals.
- 3:00 pm – Clean up, classroom jobs.
Shelby Feldman and Brandon Och are Co-Lead Teachers of the LE program. Shelby is training in summer 2023 and Brandon in the summer 2024. As trained Primary level Montessori teachers, they have a strong foundation in Montessori philosophy and practice. They are experienced with many materials as Primary work overlaps into elementary territory, as they have often instructed K students dipping their toes into higher level work over the years.
Tuition and Applicants
Tuition will align with Greene Towne’s Kindergarten tuition plus $1000 to offset the cost of institutional memberships and trips. Each year there will be one tuition rate for all three years of the cycle.
Applicants from area Montessori Kindergartens are welcome through an admissions process to ensure they are ready for the program and that Greene Towne is a good fit for their educational journey. Our own students will be offered spaces first. At this time, we do not anticipate enrolling students without prior Montessori experience.
The Future of Lower Elementary at Greene Towne
Each year will bring a new cohort until the LE Community encompasses all three grades, 1st-3rd, with up to 24 students.
Like our Primary program, the exact number of each grade will fluctuate from year to year, ranging from 8 to 10 students per grade level.
We anticipate expanding the Elementary program to the Upper Elementary level of 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. As the program grows and expands into Upper Elementary, it’s possible we may renovate 2121 Arch into a Montessori Elementary Building including a gym, kitchen, and art room.
Typical entry points at area independent schools are 5th, 6th, and especially 7th grades, so this will be well aligned with our students’ last years at Greene Towne. Some smaller schools typically have a number of spots open at 4th grade. Area schools are familiar with Montessori Elementary students from Greene Towne Montessori.