The School

Lower School Curriculum - Grades 1 to 6
The Journey School follows the Montessori methodology with hands-on and engaging lessons. The child is at the center of learning and guided by trained Montessori teachers in a fully prepared environment. Lower school children enjoy working with Montessori math, language arts, and science materials and having access to the outdoor environment. The Journey School strives to instill a passion and excitement for learning in each child.

The mathematics/geometry curriculum for elementary ages is broken down into three discipline areas: Arithmetic, Pre-Algebra, and Pre-Geometry. Every year will begin with a review. Assessments will be given to determine the skill level of each student. Students will receive individual or small group lessons based on their ability. Students will work at their own pace to achieve age-appropriate benchmarks. Arithmetic has parallel curriculums for math facts and math procedures. Learning happens when students work with mathematical materials that allow the process to take place concretely. Students proceed through several levels, beginning with concepts and skills that are the most basic foundations of mathematics, presented in the most concrete representation, up through the advanced concepts of secondary mathematics, which are represented in increasing levels of abstraction, until the student grasps them conceptually. All of the content for mathematics is divided into sub-categories that reflect these increasing levels of abstraction. Concepts include place value, money, time, math facts, the study of binomials, fractions, measurement, word problems, algebra, number relationships, and graphing.

The science curriculum will introduce students to a plethora of topics in their elementary years preparing them for a lifetime of learning and exploration. Topics include basic principles of physical and earth science including astronomy, botany, chemistry, physics, and anatomy zoology. The science scope and sequence provide students with many opportunities to focus on the process and issues of science: the study of life, the laws and structure of the universe, and the work of scientists. Students learn to ask questions, follow a systematic process of observation, collect and analyze data, and conduct controlled experiments. The science scope and sequence were designed to be a comprehensive plan divided into subcategories and these subcategories and the lessons within them provide the child with a comprehensive foundation. With these goals in mind, the sequence of the use of lessons and materials is important.

The language curriculum includes reading and writing. The language curriculum has students work with hands-on materials that allow the process of learning to take place concretely. Students proceed through several levels, beginning with concepts and skills that are the most basic foundations of language, presented in the most concrete representation, up through the advanced concepts of secondary language, which are represented in increasing levels of abstraction, until the student grasps them conceptually. All of the content for language is divided into sub-categories that reflect these increasing levels of abstraction. The curriculum includes penmanship, mechanics, spelling, word study, vocabulary, grammar, sentence analysis, speaking skills, writing composition, and research skills.

Reading has three basic principles: decoding, fluency, and comprehension. The three principles come together to create reading fluidity and understanding. The students move through the curriculum of phonetic awareness, decoding phonograms, word analysis, sight words, and tone/rhythm of literature as well as vocabulary and predictions. In the upper elementary years, the students learn the elements of writing, cause/effect, context clues, drawing conclusions, fact vs. opinion, main idea, inferences, figures of speech, point of view, compare/contrast, and sequencing.

Writing is taught systematically. The process begins with pre-writing and continues with sentence writing, paragraph writing, editing, and types of writing. Students progress toward the goals of writing with a clear purpose, including all necessary background information using questions (who, what, when, where, why), determining the best organizational structure to present their information, and utilizing the steps of the writing process as they move a piece from concept to completion. Students learn specific strategies, techniques, and approaches for both narrative and expository writing along with poetry. The students gain a clear understanding of different types of essay structures, including personal essay, narrative essay, and literary essay as well.

The history/geography. In history and geography, students work with various hands-on materials that are at the foundation of the curriculum. The content for history and geography is divided into sub-categories that reflect these increasing levels of the depth and breadth of the curriculum. Students study geography in detail. The curriculum includes the structure of the Earth, physical geography including climate, food and shelter; political geography includes countries, capitals, culture and population; globes; flags including parts of a flag and origins of flags and landforms including kinds of landforms and their parts.
The history curriculum allows the introduction of ideas that students can contemplate. The origin of the universe, the formation of Earth, the fundamental needs of human beings, the history of writing, the measurement of time, early and modern humans, ancient civilizations, and Maryland history are all introduced and studied.

Upper School Adolescent Curriculum - Grades 6 - 8
The Journey School provides instruction in English and language arts; mathematics; history; science; art; music; physical education; the environment; the economy; and, civics using the integrated, project-based adolescent program design of Dr. Montessori. TJS employs Montessori-trained guides to lead a multi-age classroom of students grades 1 to 8.

The Montessori adolescent curriculum fosters critical and analytical thinking. The curriculum provides students with the experiences and skills that they will need in order to build a foundation of life-long learning and to be successful in any secondary school setting and beyond. The learning environment in the adolescent community reflects the developmental need for social interaction, self-expression, and self-knowledge.

Humanities: The adolescent humanities program is an interdisciplinary exploration of history, geography, creative and expository writing, literature, philosophy, and grammar. Students are exposed to classical and contemporary literature and philosophies. Confidence in self-expression is developed through the use of seminars, oral presentations, debates, drama, visual arts, essays, playwriting, poetry, short stories, and historical fiction. Seminars (Socratic and literature circles) are used to develop critical thinking skills in the analysis of thoughts, ideas, and philosophies.

Mathematics: Students will be using mathematics to explore and create and build in their environment and occupations. In addition to directing key lessons on foundational mathematical concepts, they will work with local mathematicians, engineers, and scientists.

Science: The science curriculum stresses a hands-on, inquiry-based approach to an understanding of the interdependence of the natural world and human life through interdisciplinary study of ecology, geology, biology, physics, chemistry, and comparative anatomy. The land and surrounding community provide a natural laboratory for this study.

Fine arts: Students will explore opportunities to express themselves in various artistic mediums including writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, computer programming, and graphics. In addition, students will have access to local artists, writers, and musicians to present and guide in our school.

Program Components
The Land: Fortunately, the Journey School's location includes vegetable and rain gardens. Therefore, the Journey School will take advantage of the outdoor environment to garden, farm, hike, and explore.

Micro-economy: "Micro-economy" is Dr. Montessori's term for the facet of the adolescent program where students identify, develop, and ultimately market a product or service to the greater community. The intention is to graphically illustrate to the student participants one manner in which their "worth" or "value" to the community is demonstrated.

Enrichment Experiences: The Journey is a key component of the Montessori adolescent program's academic and social experience. The goal of the Journey is to provide a rich educational experience for the students with a focus on learning and bonding. The Journey is a curriculum-focused trip that allows the students to experience first-hand what they are learning in the classroom. Examples of curriculum-focused experiences are Colonial Williamsburg, Plymouth Plantation, Smithsonian Museums, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and, New York.

The Seminar: The seminar format, or Socratic Circle, is a foundational format of discussion, used in the curriculum, designed to develop critical thinking through listening, reading, critical analysis, questioning, and reflecting. In the seminar, true classroom discussion and dialogue take place as the students work together and share their own ideas, build knowledge based on prior information being applied to new situations, test out their own hypotheses and perspectives against those of their peers, and arrive at an answer that has been constructed through personal experience, critical thought, rhetoric, and discourse. Students examine texts, and rather than read, listen, and answer, students engage in lively, respectful discussion and learn to ask probing questions in order to construct meaning from what they have read and avoid focusing on a "correct" interpretation of the text.

The Community Meeting and Peer Problem Solving: The adolescent requires choice, order, and feeling cared for while being offered freedom to experience their social life in a dignified way. The Journey School will support students by empowering the student body to make decisions about the organization of their school in Community Council meetings. Students will organize and preside over meetings where general community decisions - including chore responsibilities - are made. Adults will serve as advisors and models to the adolescent community. Through these Community Council meetings, civility and respect will be demonstrated. A values and ethics guide will be created and predominately displayed throughout the school to remind everyone who enters the community, what the expectations are.

Daily Structure: The 3-hour morning work cycle is still the core of the day in the Adolescent Program, and is the time when most of the academic work takes place, including individual work, seminars, daily assignments, long-term assignments, planning, and a variety of means for demonstrating mastery: tests, projects, and presentations. The afternoon is generally set aside for focused work like art, music, outdoor projects, large group projects, and writing workshops.

Outdoor chores and care for the classroom environment take place first thing in the morning and last thing in the afternoon.

Preparation for Life Beyond Montessori: The final goal of the education syllabus is to support the adolescent into adult life. Students will fully realize the world around them with carefully prepared opportunities to do meaningful work that will prepare them for life beyond college.