As students begin their elementary experience, they are curious investigators, explorers, and theorists. The Lower Elementary program at BHMS is a place where they can delight in these natural roles under the guidance of their teachers and within a calm, ordered environment. As in the Preschool, Lower Elementary, grades 1-3, draws upon the philosophy of Maria Montessori.
Unique to the program is a three-year global cultures core curriculum that provides a framework to which many other subjects are linked; each year, students explore four world countries, and their cultures, as well as a culture or region of the United States. Because the curriculum works on a three-year cycle, students have the chance to “visit” new and different countries every year in the program. This comparative study of world families, cultures, and religions helps children internalize the Montessori idea of common human experience. By implementing a larger view in the classroom, children develop a more thorough perspective on their own lives, their significance in the larger human adventure. They learn to respect the distinct qualities of all people and all places, and to find joy and acceptance in the knowledge of these differences and similarities. The ultimate goal of the global cultures curriculum is to support the Montessori commitment to peace education.
Each year of the Lower Elementary three-year cycle, students explore a variety of courses, concentrating on math, science, creative writing, language, literary critique, and the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) program consisting of art, music, dance, and drama, as well as regular physical education classes. Additionally, all Lower Elementary students begin an eight-year course of study of Spanish language and culture.
Lower Elementary also marks the advent for BHMS students to take advantage of New York City’s extensive cultural resources. Monthly off-campus day trips to museums, parks, theatrical performances, and other city institutions, expand our students’ understanding of our richly diverse community. It is also during these years that students at BHMS begin to assume responsibility for community service projects. A mainstay in this program for the Lower Elementary students is visiting and entertaining at a nearby senior citizen residence.
BHMS’s Lower Elementary Program focuses on helping students acquire knowledge with a deep understanding of the complexities within the world today. In each student, we aspire to nurture wisdom, compassion, self-respect, and a mind and heart open to new ideas and information.