Enrichment and Elective Classes
Art is taught at Garden Montessori both through classic Montessori color shelf work and weekly art lessons. Starting in the Toddler and Preschool classrooms, students learn about color gradation, warm and cool colors, and the color wheel. The Early Childhood classrooms introduce a variety of mediums and materials to the students. In addition to color, Primary students begin to learn about major artists throughout history. Elementary and Middle School students also learn about art history, with a special focus on 19th and 20th century artists. Our curriculum is designed to teach students to think critically about perspective and composition in the artwork they create. Students improve their artistic techniques while learning about different styles of art and trying a variety of media, including acrylic and watercolor paint, oil pastel, crayon resist, and mixed media.
Weekly music classes for all students build an appreciation for music and a foundation in musical skills. Early Childhood classrooms through Lower Elementary focus on singing, rhythmic, and movement activities. Upper Elementary students begin learning to read vocal and instrumental music, using recorders and a variety of percussion instruments. Both Elementary classrooms look forward to singing for the residents of area assisted living facilities and attending local orchestral performances each year. Upper Elementary and Middle School students learn about the different periods of classical music history. Middle School students listen to and study a wide variety of musical styles, including classical, jazz, and rock. Other topics in the upper grades include songwriting, rhythm ensemble, and singing in two part harmony.
In addition to using computers as an aid to writing and research, students in Upper Elementary and Middle School receive instruction in the history of computers and a foundation in Computer Science skills. Both classrooms complete programming courses through Code.org, and Middle School students learn the basics of building and designing websites using HTML and CSS. Our Computer Science curriculum strives to interest both girls and boys in this growing, but still male-dominated, field, and to prepare them for High School Computer Science courses. In addition to promoting gender equality, the curriculum encourages problem solving and cooperative learning among students.
All students at Garden Montessori receive an introduction to conversational Spanish and Spanish cultures from a native speaker, with some focus on written Spanish and research in the upper grades. Early Childhood students sing songs in Spanish and complete a variety of activities to reinforce vocabulary words for numbers, colors, and family members. Elementary and Middle School students work to increase their Spanish vocabularies, learn conversational phrases, and translate and write essays in Spanish. The students look forward to a biennial school-wide fiesta, which focuses on a different Spanish speaking country or region each time.
Middle School students have the opportunity to choose from a variety of elective classes, which change each quarter. These classes allow students to work in small groups to learn about a topic that lies outside of our regular curriculum. The students and teachers work together to choose and plan the classes. Some recent popular elective classes have been woodworking, cooking, nutrition, Dungeons and Dragons storytelling, photography, movie script writing, and a social issues discussion group.