Lowcountry Montessori School serves three year olds through twelfth grade. We are a small community of learners and remain just under 400 students. Because our population is so small, we are able to offer a program that feels like a family as we know our student population extremely well.
At the elementary level, Montessori is a vibrant, rich, spiraling curriculum that was developed over 100 years ago by Maria Montessori in Italy. The nature of a spiraling curriculum means that topics are touched in developmentally appropriate ways at developmentally appropriate times over the years a student is in Montessori, building upon the knowledge gained from the previous exposures. These exposures may or may not align with the state standards set by South Carolina in 2015. LMS is committed to bridging these gaps in ways that make sense. We have begun utilizing the STAR Assessment to identify and address gaps that occur between the curriculum we use and the state testing required.
Lowcountry Montessori School is a school that is committed to providing a free public Montessori education to Beaufort and the surrounding areas. Our mission is to provide an authentic Montessori education building a foundation of lifelong learning. We are dedicated to educating the whole child and take an interest in the social-emotional well-being of the child, as well as developing their intellect. We believe that children learn through experiences and incorporate practical life into the classroom as much as possible. This belief is rooted in the idea that children should be respected as individuals. We also believe that education is the way to promote peace in our world. Our curriculum promotes peace through helping children become stewards of the earth and their communities. Children are asked to practice conflict resolution at all levels of development. We also ask that students give back to their communities each and every year they are enrolled at Lowcountry Montessori School. Lowcountry Montessori School is a community and embraces each and every child for their unique abilities and their contributions to this world.
Maria Montessori spoke of windows of opportunities called “sensitive periods.” According to Montessori, all children experience these same, almost-magical moments in their development, moments during which they soak up specific concepts with remarkable ease. When a child is in the midst of one of these sensitive periods, they’ll gravitate toward certain activities or lessons with an intense, sometimes irrepressible interest.
Primary Level, (ages 3-6), students are allowed freedom of movement and the ability to choose their activities. Their carefully planned environment also facilitates learning. Observation of each child’s readiness for and mastery of lessons by the Guide allows them to move through the curriculum. The children learn at their own pace through interaction, observation, discovery, and self-correcting materials. Guides prepare the environment so that it is beautiful and entices the child to choose the work on the shelf. Part of each day is spent building community while encouraging social skills through group work. Students develop a love of learning, and of their school community.
Independence in all areas is encouraged at this level and children are supported in developing the skills to care for themselves as well as the environment. Each child has a job and helps maintain the environment by preparing snacks, washing the tables, sweeping the floors, and performing other jobs within the community.
Areas dedicated to Sensorial Work, Practical Life, Language, Mathematics, and Cultural Studies comprise the Primary curriculum. Cursive is taught at this level and is a natural concept for the fine motor skills of this age level.
During the elementary school years, (ages 6-12), the child’s imagination grows significantly. Previously, the child experienced concepts through their senses, now they can imagine ideas without physically experiencing them. Driven by a growing imagination, the elementary child seeks out information that corresponds with their interests.
The Great Lessons are the foundation of the elementary curriculum and are designed to illustrate:
The First Great Lesson (The Development of the Universe and the World)
The Timeline of Life
The Timeline of Humans
The History of Writing
The History of Math
Following the foundation of the Great Lessons, the elementary curriculum focuses on language, mathematics, geometry, biology, geography, earth and physical sciences, history, foreign language, physical education, art, music, care for living things, and conflict resolution.
Freedom Within Limits
One of the greatest experiences in the Elementary classroom is that children operate within a framework of “freedom within limits.” They are free to choose their work. Along with that freedom comes the responsibility to use their time well, focused on challenging, purposeful work that supports the lessons.
Elementary students naturally gravitate to group work during this critical time for social development when they are exploring concepts of fairness, justice and human relationships. Talking and working in groups is encouraged, as long as the children are productive. Learning how to live with one another in a respectful, joyful and harmonious way is an underlying lesson of the Elementary classrooms, and guides encourage students to resolve disputes using independently applied conflict resolution skills.
A Montessori secondary education, supports students in gaining the skills to go into the world and reach their fullest potential, not only through academics and careers, but as a human being who will give back to their communities, making the world a better place.
The Secondary Program at LMS is grounded in Montessori philosophy and informed by current human development research and educational best practices. The mission of the program is to provide opportunities for adolescents to be self-confident and gain self-knowledge, belong to a community, learn to be adaptable, be academically competent and challenged, to take risks on their own behalf and create a vision for their personal future; thus, empowering early adolescents to become engaged citizens.
The adolescent-learner is a/an:
Active, self-directed learner
Vital contributor to the class, school, city, and global community
Equal member of the guide-student-parent team
Consistent seeker of justice
Creative individual deserving respect, honesty, and freedom to act on personal initiatives (within limits)
We believe a middle school program should be:
In the spirit of Montessori philosophy, the theory of looking to developmental stages as a guide was crucial. This program is informed by the vast body of neuroscience research on the adolescent brain and follows it up with developmentally-appropriate educational best practices.
The word "holistic" is another major element of Montessori philosophy. Holistic comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "hal" which means whole, heal, and health. To Montessorians this means two things: one that the focus of education should be on the whole child for optimal health and growth. Thus, the learning environment should not just focus on developing the cognitive potential, but the physical, psychosocial, and moral aspects of the person as well. Secondly, the courses of study need to be interrelated so that the child understands the inter-connections of life. As the holistic notion begins to take on yet another dimension, it should include collaboration with the home setting. This should lead to a proactive stand on having student-parent-guide partnerships as an integral part of a complete, healthy, optimal learning environment. (summarized from the work of Dr. Elizabeth Coe*)
Parents and guides working together for a school environment can have a positive instead of negative impact on a young person's quest for self. They are seeking an alternative learning environment, because they feel that some middle school models are physically and psychologically unsafe and also have a general lack of respect for young peoples’ abilities. We want to provide a place where early adolescents can develop personal power as well as an opportunity to use this personal power with and for the benefit of others.