Staunton Montessori School students are divided into three programs, based on age. Children ages 3 through 6 are enrolled in the primary program (preschool and kindergarten). Students ages 6 through 12 are enrolled in the elementary program (grades 1-3 & 4-6). Students ages 12-15 are enrolled in the adolescent program (grades 7-9).
The goals for our primary students are fundamental: to acquire confidence in themselves and an independence of thought and action. These three-to-six-year-olds work alone or in small groups, receiving lessons from the teacher and each other. Staunton Montessori School has two primary classrooms. Children who are 3 and toilet trained are accepted into the primary program. The primary day begins at 8:15 a.m. The primary children in the Morning Program (3 and 4 year olds) dismiss at 11:45 a.m. each day and the afternoon children in the Extended Day Program (kindergarten) remain until 2:45 p.m.
Children in the Elementary program continue their growth toward independence, responsibility, and becoming contributing members of society. There are three elementary classrooms at SMS: Traditional grades 1-3 (ages 6-9) and grades 4-6 (ages 9-12). The students in each class work alone or in small groups as they receive lessons from the teacher in two designated three-hour work periods. Much of the work in the first three years uses manipulative materials, where in the second three-year cycle the students produce more concrete work in the form of papers and projects. The teacher guides the students to explore all areas of the classroom including language, math, geometry, botany, geography, history, music and physical education. Weekly, Elementary students enjoy enrichment specials which vary from year to year. Previous offerings have included art, music, foreign language and nature studies. The Elementary day begins at 8:15 a.m. and dismisses at 3:00 p.m.
The adolescent program serves students in grades 7-9 (ages 12-15) following the recommendations of Dr. Maria Montessori by providing a hands-on, project-based learning experience in a compassionate community. The adolescent program emphasizes integration and connection among academic topics, grounded in the connections found in the living systems of the world, with the goal of engendering a life-long love for, and habits of, learning.
In this hands-on learning experience, students actively participate in care of themselves and their school community through planting, harvesting, and preparing their own food; care for animals; crafting a budget and operating a small business; and through designing, building, repairing, and maintaining infrastructure. Students may also participate in a variety of outreach activities for the greater community of the Shenandoah Valley.
The adolescent day starts at 8:15 a.m. and dismisses at 3:00 p.m. with local trips planned throughout the academic year.
SMS offers an after school program each day for our students during the school year. Drop-in spaces, and three and five-day fee schedules allow for more flexibility. Morning students who stay for aftercare enjoy lunchtime, a rest period, organized activities, and a snack period. Elementary aftercare is also available from 3-6 p.m., with a snack period included.