WITH THE WHOLE CHILD IN MIND
FMA’s Elementary and Middle School Programs encourages children to function at the upper limits of their potential. The Montessori materials offer open-ended exploration and avenues for self-expression, which allow children to progress according to individual abilities and skills. Their instruction begins with concrete realities, adding one difficulty at a time, moving sequentially into abstract theory. The development of critical thinking skills occurs naturally in this type of environment.
FMA’s Elementary & Middle School curriculum is as follows:
The Language curriculum follows a definite order beginning with concrete materials, gradually moving towards the ultimate goal of abstraction. The Language curriculum is divided into different areas of study: word study, capitalization /punctuation, grammar, dictionary usage, sentence analysis and spelling. In each category, the child is presented lessons in a small group and is then given the opportunity to explore and discover independently.
Children are submerged in reading on a daily basis through independent study as well as group settings. The children build their reading skills through a phonetic-based program. Reading comprehension is built through many different avenues of work. Each child is challenged on his/her own level with the lessons presented, as he/she is ready.
The children also participate in a Reading Comprehension program on a weekly basis. This program introduces children to quality pieces of literature from all genres. The children work with one piece of literature per week. They are led through group-discussion sessions where divergent questions are explored and debated. This helps to build higher-level thinking skills as well as problem solving skills. Throughout the week, the child participates in activities related to the element of focus (setting, plot, character, traits, cause and effect, etc.) for that particular week. The activities vary depending on the selected piece of literature.
Writing skills are encouraged through daily journal writing. This time allows the child to write creatively, striking his/her imagination. In addition, numerous writing concepts are explored and practiced through different lessons throughout the year.
Third through eighth level children participate in an additional creative writing course. Instruction centers on the different types of writing, prewriting and planning, and elaboration techniques essential to powerful writing. Small group instruction is followed by independent practice in the classroom.
The Math curriculum follows a sequential order in a number of different areas of study. The children receive lessons in mathematical operations and basic facts of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division, as well as advanced computations using all four operations. The Elementary children also do extensive work with fractions and decimals. The students are shown these concepts in a spatial manner as well as learning how to solve these problems abstractly. Other concepts that are studied thoroughly throughout the year are fractions, advanced fraction work, multi-step problem solving, pre-algebraic equations and concepts, elapsed time, etc. Each concept is first introduced using concrete materials. As the child progresses, he/she gradually works towards abstraction. In addition to mathematical concepts, the child is also presented lessons exploring the different concepts of geometry. The Elementary students focus on geometry concepts such as types of angles, equivalence, using a protractor and compass accurately, formulas for area and volume, and many other challenging topics.
Cultural lessons are presented throughout the year in the areas of Zoology, Botany, Geography and History. Each lesson is aimed to encourage higher-level thinking skills and spark the child’s inner desire to research and discover. In addition, a separate Science program is implemented weekly. The children are introduced to numerous Science concepts in the areas of Physical Science, Life Science, Earth Science, etc. These concepts are explored in a tangible, hands-on approach through different experiments and activities. Each year, our fourth through eighth level students take part in FMA's Science Fair.
The fourth-level students are introduced to Texas History. These studies are focused on the different regions of Texas, Native Americans, explorers, and statehood, as well as many more areas of study. The fifth-level students are introduced to United States History. These studies are focused on the different regions of the United Sates, basic concepts of our government and Constitution, as well as the history of our country. The sixth-level students are introduced to World History. They begin to learn and explore areas outside of the United States and how they impact the world around us. The seventh-level students will again visit Texas History in much more detail. The students learn and research in small groups as well as individual settings.
The children participate in Physical Education twice a week for forty-five minutes per session in our spacious half court gymnasium or outside on our expansive, well equipped fenced playground. FMA’s P.E. program is designed to encourage children to become accustomed to an active lifestyle while improving mental and physical strengths.
The children also learn to develop self-confidence and leadership skills in a fun and educational way through participation in a variety of activities throughout the school year. The following activities covered include Olympic style track and field events, fitness exercises, soccer, hand-eye coordination and locomotion drills, basketball and volleyball. Dance and aerobics, T-ball and baseball, team building, and field-day contests are also a part of our exemplary fitness education program. In the spring of each year, FMA hosts a Fun & Field Day for all Elementary and Middle School students. Upper Elementary and Middle School students also take part in FMA's Kickball Challenge in which they play against FMA's Elementary & Middle School staff.
Frisco Montessori Academy’s Elementary & Middle School Curriculum also includes Spanish, Music/Choir/Drama, Art, Computer and Nature Study as described in the Supplemental Curriculum section.
In May of each year, FMA’s third through eighth level students are required to take the Stanford Achievement Test. The Stanford Test is a highly reliable and valid measure of a student’s achievement in reading, mathematics and language.
Our Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and Middle School children take part in two Field trips during the year such as plays, concerts or ballet, The Heard Museum, The Heritage Farmstead, Dallas Museum of Art, etc. They are also visited by special groups such as The Dallas Museum of Natural History, Texas Living History Association, etc.
In the spring, FMA’s Upper Elementary & Middle School students visit Sky Ranch for a three-day, two-night camp. Sky Ranch is an outdoor education program designed specifically for schools. Students have an opportunity to participate in hands-on activities that further develop their awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the outdoor environment. The students take party in different class studies such as Challenges, Orienteering, Aquatic Study, Forest Study, etc. In addition to these amazing outdoor education courses, the children still have plenty of time to enjoy the thrill of the water slides, recreation time and games, sing songs and perform skits around the campfire, visit the corner store and soda shop.