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Our Montessori Curriculum

Young children do not learn in discrete chunks, dictated by their chronological age. Rather, they develop at their own pace and follow their unique developmental patterns, which may vary greatly from child to child. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the child to work in a classroom where the curriculum provides access to appropriate learning opportunities when they are ready for them, rather than be held to the pace of the entire class.

Our Montessori curriculum is a 3-year cycle of study and covers skills and knowledge presented to children between the ages of 2.9 to 6 years old. A wide variety of curriculum levels are available at all times, in all subject areas. Progress along the curriculum is attained by changes in the work on the shelves each month. By being presented with the curriculum in this way, children at a Montessori school construct their knowledge in a developmentally appropriate way, and in a time frame that suits each individual child.

The curriculum is divided into a number of areas, although there may be considerable overlap in the skills that the children learn while working within these sections. The four primary areas teach math, language arts, practical life, and sensorial awareness, with social and emotional learning playing a key role within our curriculum. Additionally, we focus on cultural studies, geography, science, art, music, and physical education.

Learn More About Each Curriculum Area



Activities are presented sequentially, and available to all children when they are ready, irrelevant of chronological age. Regular use of the Montessori math materials gives children exposure to concrete representations of abstract concepts, and an introduction to the decimal system.
All children will practice:

  • Memorizing number names and the sequence of counting
  • Counting and comparing objects up to 10
  • Understanding teens as made up of tens and units
  • Recognizing basic geometric shapes and solid figures
  • Understanding linear comparisons (long/short, thick/thin, tall/short)

In kindergarten, children will also work on:

  • Counting and comparing objects up to 20
  • Creating patterns, classifying objects, estimating, tallying, and graphing
  • Performing simple math operations in addition and subtraction
  • Skip counting in 10's
  • Telling time to the half-hour
  • Recognizing penny, nickel, dime, and quarter

By the time they complete the MVMS kindergarten program, many students will have a solid understanding of numbers to 100 and some will grasp concepts far beyond.

Language Arts

Language Arts

In a Montessori classroom, there are many sequential works that teach the skills of reading, writing, language, and speaking/listening. Daily circle activities, small group lessons, and one-on-one interactions between teachers and children also give ample opportunities to enhance these skills. Children are exposed to great children's literature and have access to many books that match their developmental stage. They learn how joyful reading is, and how liberating writing can be.
Children work on the following, according to their appropriate developmental stage.
Children will practice:

  • Phonemic awareness by rhyming, blending, segmenting and manipulating words
  • Letter/sound association, with emphasis on lower case letters
  • Composing simple CVC words, using the moveable alphabet
  • Reading simple 3 letter phonetic words in print form
  • Reading environmental text
  • Listening to both literature and informational texts
  • Responding to text in a variety of ways (speaking, writing, art)

In kindergarten, children will also work on:

  • Specialized reading instruction, either in small groups or one-on-one
  • Aspects of curricula written for public school kindergarten programs
  • Learning a selection of common sight words
  • Learning longer phonetic words and some phonograms
  • Using appropriate decoding and word recognition strategies
  • Understanding text read aloud: identifying main idea and supporting details
  • Retelling familiar stories
  • Identifying title, author, and illustrator, with teacher assistance
  • Reading emergent-reader texts with understanding, as appropriate

Children will practice:

  • Appropriate pencil grasp and control, using sand paper letters and metal insets
  • Writing own name, first and last
  • Drawing, dictating, and writing to share experiences and information
  • Copying environmental print

In kindergarten, children will also work on:

  • Left to right, top to bottom orientation
  • Printing letters, using proper formation (we use Handwriting Without Tears program)
  • Using correct spelling of smaller frequently occurring words
  • Using journals to record occurrences

Children will practice:

  • Using language to express thoughts and needs
  • Listening to and understanding increasingly complex language

In kindergarten, children will also work on:

  • Printing many upper and lowercase letters from memory
  • Using phonetic knowledge in writing (inventive spelling)
  • Using capitalization and ending punctuation when writing
  • Using correct grammar when speaking and writing
  • Understanding and using question words
  • Exploring increasingly complex vocabulary and usage

Speaking and Listening:
Children will:

  • Engage in social informal conversations
  • Learn ground rules of group conversations (taking turns, listening, raising hand to contribute)
  • Ask appropriately for help as needed,
  • Provide assistance to others as requested
  • Describe occurrences outside of school environment
Cultural Studies, Geography, and Science

Cultural Studies, Geography, and Science

Our MVMS curriculum provides a wide-ranging view of our world in order to create a long-lasting sense of wonder and enthusiasm for the Earth.
Using globes and puzzle maps, we study its physical geography and learn about the continents and countries of the world, as well as our own United States. Through various hands-on activities and projects, the children are exposed to the cultures of many populations, both past, and present, providing an inclusive perspective on the peoples of the world.
Studies in weather, seasons, life cycles of both plants and animals, and our own human bodies, are fully integrated into the academic areas of the classroom, and throughout the year. Nature-based outdoor activities are important, in order to instill a love for the environment that we believe is crucial for young children. Scientific inquiry is modeled and encouraged regularly.
Particularly in kindergarten, children learn to hypothesize, and then explore and experiment. They are introduced to astronomy and the planets and take part in hands-on experiments in magnetism, electricity, plant growth, and chemical reactions. They get to understand the scientific nature of cooking, preparing many foods by themselves from scratch, and even preparing a Special Person Tea for a parent or other valued person in their lives. They complete their science curriculum with a field trip to the SEE museum in Manchester, NH.

Social and Emotional Learning

Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning involves how children relate to themselves, to their peers and how they make decisions about their school experience. If taught well, attitudes to self, school, and friendships, are positive and often joyful.
By combining developmentally appropriate individual and group lessons, role-playing, and guided discussions, we teach the children independence, caring for others, coping skills, and conflict resolution. We teach peace, both in the personal and the wider world context, giving our children the confidence to know they can make a difference in the world.
Our grace and courtesy curriculum is integral to this work and lessons are presented as equal in weight to academic skills. Caring for their own classroom, each other's physical, and emotional needs, and extending that out into the world, encourage children to see themselves as self-confident and independent.

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Art activities are ever-present in all our classrooms, ranging from personal creative opportunities with a variety of media, a selection of craft projects, collage ideas and materials, and full-time easel access. Starting in kindergarten year, our art unit also covers an increased variety of media and techniques, linked with studies of a selection of well-known artists, such as Monet, Michelangelo, Picasso, and our beloved Eric Carle. The children learn about color theory, explore line, shape, and texture in art, and practice still life painting, portraits, and landscapes. There is an emphasis on the personal nature of creativity, and attention is paid to the respectful critiquing of other people's art. The unit culminates in a field trip to the Currier Art Museum in Manchester, NH. The docents there continue to be amazed at the knowledge our children display. Recently it was a child who knew and could identify what Pointillism was.

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Music is a vital component of all our multi-age classes. Our teachers have a wide repertoire of music that is used every day. Group singing, chants, rhythm exercises, and movement/dancing, all combine to give children a sense of joy and confidence. Yoga activities are presented and each classroom has a yoga mat for the children to use. On the shelves, a variety of multi-cultural musical instruments are available, and the addition of sign language in coordination with many song lyrics adds an extra layer of learning. The children are exposed to a wide variety of musical types throughout the year and can use their listening corner during the work cycle for music and books on DVDs. Montessori classrooms also use a Silence Game, to enhance listening skills and attention to the nuances of sounds.
Towards the end of their kindergarten year, the children learn a number of songs, memorize lines, paint scenery, and help with costume-making, as they put together a play that they perform for parents and friends.

Physical Education

Physical Education

These early childhood years are an important time for developing gross motor control, coordination, and self-confidence in a child's own physical abilities. At MVMS, we believe that the best way for children to learn these skills is to be allowed to play outside in a safe but challenging environment, with careful supervision for safety, but minimal instruction from adults about the way the various components of the environment should be accessed. Our playground has opportunities for running, climbing, sliding, crawling, rolling downhill, digging, swinging, gardening, dramatic play, and even sitting peacefully to listen to wind chimes. Given the chance, children will “educate” themselves beautifully in this environment. The key piece is that opportunity, which we strive to provide as often as our New England weather allows.

Practical Life

Practical Life

All young children are interested in “doing it myself”, in an attempt to emulate the skills that they are seeing in the adult world. The Montessori Practical Life curriculum provides many opportunities to do just that. With real-life activities, such as preparing food, cleaning and caring for the classroom, mastering personal care, and using real materials and tools, the children grow in both confidence and independence. Because the activities are so attractive to young children, there is a corresponding growth in concentration and coordination, which is then transferred to other areas of the classroom.

Sensorial icon


Children learn about the world through their senses, and MVMS classrooms provide an entire curriculum to help children refine these sensory impressions. The beautiful Montessori equipment teaches them to order, classify, and discriminate between small differences in a wide range of attributes, such as length, width, height, color, weight, taste, smell, and touch. Then the children transfer this awareness to the wider world around them, leading to a heightened sense of awe and wonder at the beauty around them, and an improved ability to apply new information to that which they already know. Add a wide-ranging vocabulary associated with the materials, and the Sensory curriculum is a great preparation for the language and math skills to come.

Find Out More About Montessori