Academics at AIMS

A Montessori education focuses on preparing the whole child (cognitive, physical, social, and emotional needs) for life with an emphasis on knowledge, problem-solving, and creative thinking.  Globally, those who have benefitted from a Montessori education can be found excelling in many fields, especially those calling for creativity and inventiveness, e.g. the founders of Google, Amazon, and Wikipedia, for starters.


"The former Montessori students here are shining stars...it is a breath of fresh air to get these students because they are well-developed socially, academically and emotionally." 

 -Lisa Crowley, Guidance Counselor, Fernandina Beach Middle School


Toddler program (18 MO - 3 YRS)

Toddlers absorb great amounts of knowledge from their environment and have a need for love, understanding and empathy. Students of this age require information, logical limits, flexibility and support.  The focus is upon physical and human needs that respond to the rapid and conflicting changes of this age, rather than curriculum or materials. Toilet learning is part of the classroom curriculum. 

 

Teachers support student’s abilities, choice of work, development of practical life skills, and satisfaction in growing independence. The adult must prepare and maintain a controlled, stimulating and need-fulfilling environment based on sensitive periods and order.  Both verbal and non-verbal cues of the child are observed in order to assist rather than hinder the child's progress.

 

Goals for the Toddler Program:

  • Help the child through parent separation;
  • Assist in developing a positive self-image;
  • Develop large and small motor control;
  • Develop age-appropriate social skills;
  • Assist parents in gaining insight into their child's physical, emotional, and intellectual development.


Primary programs (3 - 6 YEARS)

Montessori discovered that every child goes through periods of great sensitivity in particular areas during which he/she learns more easily than any other time in her life. The Primary Program is designed to make the most of these periods of sensitivity. Learning experiences are brought to life as the child discovers concepts and puts them to practical use.  The joy of learning is the natural result and the child is eager to explore and learn more.  Children are offered a challenging academic program utilizing individual, small group lessons, along with an education of the heart, that nurtures self-confidence and personal creativity.

 

Goals for the Primary Program:

Guide each child in the use of manipulatives that are designed to give the child a new experience and to develop a specific concept;  

Aid each child in developing initiative, self-awareness, communication skills and sense of community;

Help each child develop within an excellent foundation for creative learning;

 Assist each child in building a habit of concentration.

Lower Elementary (6 - 9 YEARS)

The basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic from the Montessori perspective are only the stepping stones at the heart of the lower elementary curriculum of science, history, geography, literature, music, art, physical education and practical life activities.  The goal in Lower Elementary is to nurture the foundation created earlier in early childhood but also ignite the fragile sparks of curiosity, creativity and intelligence in each child.  Students begin to demonstrate a growing capacity for problem-solving, reasoning, socializing, and harnessing imagination.

 

Goals for the Lower Elementary:

  • Develop self-confident, independent thinkers who are interested in the world and enthusiastic about life;
  • Help students pace themselves and take on greater levels of personal responsibility;
  • Awaken the child's spirit and imagination which encourages the natural desire for independence and a high sense of self-esteem;
  •  Help the child learn how to observe, question and explore the relationships of life and develop a sense of stewardship and community.



Upper Elementary (9 - 12 YEARS)

The Upper Elementary student demonstrates an intense desire to secure strong relationships with peers.  Curriculum is based on individualized instruction but collaboration and cooperation are key components that strengthen these needs for peer connection.  At this developmental time, students develop a strong sense of justice and experience what it means to be a part of a classroom community.  Students take on increased responsibility for their own moral conduct.  Our Upper Elementary program provides stimulating learning materials as well as real-world experiences to sharpen multi-dimensional skills necessary for today’s world; the ability to communicate and work collaboratively and the ability to think creatively throughout disciplines.

SECONDARY i (12 - 15 YEARS

Our Middle School Program (Secondary I) serves the reflective, introspective, and intellectual needs of students in grades 6 through 8 and encompasses a time of rapid growth and change. This program seeks the empowerment of early adolescents through the encouragement of both individual "response-ability" and cooperative skills. Students continue to work individually with positive guidance in an environment that is individualized.   All subjects are interrelated, and blocks of time allow for the emerging cognitive ability to explore possibilities and ideas.  Curriculum is interdisciplinary and multi-stranded, and applications to life are emphasized in each subject area.  The program is all about flexibility, large projects and intimate dialogue.  Classroom businesses and internships expose students to exercise cooperative and practical applications as they make their way in the world.  In these formative years, students are learning to be people of integrity, to mind their civic duty, respect their environments, and to navigate peer pressure.

 

Article: Montessori a Growing Trend for Middle Schools