Hillsboro elementary students have the privilege of being taught according to their ability, not their age.
They follow a routine that allows them to have confidence in the rhythm of the day and a sense of control in their environment. Each child has a learning plan to complete during the week, and they are responsible, with encouragement and guidance, to make sure they complete the work. They are given uninterrupted work time to choose the jobs that interest and challenge them. Such ownership of their learning gives them practice setting goals and planning their day. Research reveals these skills are fundamental in developing executive functioning abilities.
Math concepts at The Hillsboro School are presented in a logical sequence, beginning with the concrete and leading to the abstract. Understanding takes precedence over memorization, which develops through repeated work with the operations. Through student work with the Montessori and other supporting materials, students are introduced to advanced mathematical concepts, including geometry.
Reading groups allow students to choose books of interest and discuss various aspects of plot, character development, and surprises. Through introduction to research, students also learn about paraphrasing, applying appropriate grammar and conceptual analysis, and developing oral presentations and performances to share their learning.
Science & Cultural Studies including the “Great Lessons”
In our elementary classroom, science and cultural studies are a central part of the students’ learning. Science lessons span the areas of geology, botany, zoology, physical science, and the scientific method. Montessori elementary classrooms also include the “Great Lessons”: the Coming of the Universe, the Coming of Life, the Coming of Humans, the Coming of Language, and the Coming of Numbers.
The peace curriculum is a central part of a Hillsboro education. The focus of the lessons includes problem solving among peers, the cause of conflicts and why some conflicts lead to violence, as well as considering alternative solutions and problem solving techniques.
Maria Montessori called for “going out” to be an integral part of the elementary child’s education. Trips to the Cahaba River, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and McWane Center are just some of the places we plan to visit over the cycle of the Elementary Program. Elementary students also attend a three-day school unity trip in the fall.
Students bring forth areas of need in the community they are interested in making better. Part of our role as educators is to help our students learn to use their skills to make a difference. It is through experiencing various opportunities to serve others that our students can begin to determine how they want to contribute to society.