FMS is a blended Montessori program. Montessori materials for teaching Math, Language, Reading, Science and Cultural lessons are the foundation for lesson giving at the primary level and are used in varying degrees in the upper grades. We follow the tenet of presenting the concrete material first, such as using a single red bead to represent “one” and the green bead bar to represent “two.” Then, as the student becomes more familiar with the process of handling the concrete materials and their knowledge solidifies, they are introduced to more abstract representations, such as writing the number 1 and then eventually learning the functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Sounds are presented first when teaching language to 3 and 4 year olds so that when letter recognition is developed, a young student begins to see the letters put in a pattern to form words, which eventually leads to pre-k students reading simple books.
The Montessori method is one that is “hands on” and process driven. This methodology is used throughout each of the ascending grades at FMS. Much of the teaching is done in small groups, where again, specific needs and abilities of the students are addressed. Once a student is in lower elementary (first through third grade), Montessori materials are still used in the classroom, but traditional learning materials are used to solidify a students knowledge, preparing them to function effectively in any school setting. For example, “Words Their Way” is a spelling and comprehension tool used to develop writing skills, as well. This starts in first grade and carries through sixth grade. Middle school students focus on etymology, while learning the deeper connections of how words were created and applying their meaning in their writing.
Starting in third grade, each student is given the Stanford 10 Achievement Test rating the student’s reading, comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, math and listening skills. A record of these scores is posted on our website under the ABOUT category then under TEST SCORES. For over ten years, FMS Montessori students have consistently demonstrated above grade level mastery as a mean population. These results are measurable indicators that FMS students are standing on solid academic ground and can compete effectively when measured against traditional school standards. Chrome notebooks are introduced to upper elementary (fourth through sixth) students as a tool for researching and writing papers. Middle school students continue to use Chrome notebooks for research and Google classroom.
All of the “non-Montessori” tools are used to solidify and refine the education process at FMS. We are committed to helping each student develop to the best of their abilities, both on an academic and social/emotional basis. Learning “how to be with other people” is just as vital as learning the sounds of the alphabet, or composing a well written paper. FMS is an institution that feels warm and inviting. Children, parents, teachers, and administrators take an active role in our learning community, contributing to the collective experience we share during the school year. FMS is a community of learners, inspired by the Montessori philosophy to do our very best every day.