The Montessori classrooms at Oak Hill are taught by AMI Montessori-trained teachers who provide fundamental subject information and guidance to allow students to embark on their own exploration and discovery of subjects of interest. To help in these endeavors, Oak Hill also provides additional opportunities in several curriculum areas. These subjects, which co-ordinate with our Montessori curriculum, are taught by specialists in their fields who meet with students during scheduled sessions or for special projects and residencies.
Lower and Upper elementary art focuses on residency experiences that build on the foundational elements and principles of art with exposure to wide variety of art materials. Classroom teachers collaborate with the Art Resource Director to create residencies that dovetail with the classroom lessons and expose children to the full art curriculum on a three year cycle. Children at the elementary level can also come to the art studio for follow up work from their classroom lessons. They might choose to make a diorama or a typographical map or a historical portrait. Sixth year students culminate their experience in upper elementary with a cosmic autobiography mask project that flows from grand work at the end of their elementary experience.
For children, music is an innate joy that offers a unique way for them to experience the world around them. It reaches the perceptual, intellectual, cultural, emotional and spiritual dimensions of their lives. It promotes creativity, thinking and joy. The Music Curriculum at Oak Hill Montessori provides a complete, balanced and sequential music education. We strive to develop musically literate children who have an appreciation for beauty and the arts through the love and enjoyment of music. We hope to instill a life-long desire to seek out music in our students' lives.
Starting at the Elementary level students continue to develop themselves as musicians both in performance and literacy. Students create musical experiences by refining the basic elements of music including melody, rhythm, form, harmony, tone and expression. We explore these concepts through more advanced uses of the Orff instruments as well as through song, dance, musical listening, basic composition and musical games. Through these experiences we continue to focus on the foundations of written music including familiarity with the staff, key signatures, time signatures, solfege, rhythmic and melodic notation and musical symbols.
The Elementary music program includes a variety of learning experiences through which the students can develop their musicianship.
At times children may require addition support outside of the regular classroom environment. This support may be needed in areas such as reading, math, attentional difficulties, developmental delays or other specific learning challenges.
We look at each student as a unique learner who comes to us with his/her own individual learning style. While progressing at their own pace, students are supported by the depth and breadth of the Montessori learning environment. However, there may be areas in which a student may struggle with specific learning challenges. The collaboration between parents and teachers and learning support personnel can create an environment that may help students with specific learning needs develop to their full potential within a Montessori setting.
The Spanish program at Oak Hill Montessori aims to integrate the Spanish language and culture throughout the environment. We focus less on the teaching of grammar and more on the development of listening and speaking skills and on cultural awareness. Students acquire the language through careful listening and repetition, achieved by visuals, games, songs, storytelling and physical activities.
- Children have fun learning songs, finger plays and rhymes in Spanish
- Children are encouraged to participate by listening and repeating the Spanish words
- Movement activities help children associate their experiences in class to new vocabulary, pronunciation and expressions
The goal is for the ear to get used to the "sound" of Spanish. The children are training their ears to the Spanish language, especially in the younger classrooms. By the time the children reach Junior High, their brains are ready to acquire the language in a more formal study.
It is not expected that all children will become bilingual, or even fluent speakers. Rather, early exposure to another language creates a facility for understanding and speaking it, as well as greater ease in later study. It also creates an early consciousness of culture.
Our teacher, Gema Nelson, has studied several successful Spanish programs at Montessori schools across the nation and works with the Oak Hill staff to design and implement the Spanish program here. Her goal is to find the most appropriate and effective way to integrate Spanish into the Montessori curriculum. Gema teaches our Toddler through Lower Elementary students.
Our teacher, Angie Dorn, comes to Oak Hill Montessori with a plethora of experience teaching Spanish at Blake School and with Creative Kids Academy as well as working as an ESL Specialist in Bogata, Columbia. She holds a BS from the University of Minnesota as well as a Master of Arts in English as a Second Language from Hamline University. In addition to working at Oak Hill Montessori, she is a group fitness instructor and personal trainer with the YMCA. Angie teaches our Lower Elementary through Junior High students.