This program is offered at our Short Hills Campus
The MCA elementary curriculum builds and expands on the foundation the child has received during the primary years. We seek to inspire our students to become independent learners.
The goal of the MCA Curriculum is to meet or exceed the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. In preparing the curriculum, our staff has carefully reviewed the curriculum standards for the public schools in districts that our students may one day attend, to ensure that our educational ideology advances the school’s objective of leading, and not just following, the goals established by the rest of the community.
Our teachers focus on helping each child to develop her maximum potential through the use of a wide range of specialized learning materials. These materials have been developed in the Montessori context over many years with the goal of helping each student move from a comprehension of the concrete to an understanding of the abstract.
Each elementary grade student enters the Lower Elementary MCA program with basic reading and writing skills. The MCA Language Arts curriculum is designed to build on those basic skills and advance the child’s understanding of literature, grammar, spelling, composition, and reading comprehension. Lower Elementary students also work to improve their handwriting through the Handwriting Without Tears program.
The Montessori materials used in MCA’s elementary program were designed to help the child deepen his understanding of mathematics by moving from concrete to abstract concepts. The curriculum is designed to help the child improve his knowledge of math skills and concepts in a logical learning sequence, assisted by the teacher’s guidance.
Students begin with an examination of basic operations (addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication) and move on to "real world" problem solving. Students are also introduced to basic concepts in geometry, including angles, polygons, triangles, quadrilaterals, area and volume, similarity, congruency, and equivalency.
The purpose of the MCA Science Curriculum is to expose the student to the scientific method while simultaneously conveying a broad understanding of and appreciation for the natural world around us. In so doing, the curriculum first addresses Physical Science, then moves on to incorporate various topics in Biological Science.
A key feature of the MCA Science Curriculum is its frequent reliance on hands-on activities and experiments designed to attract the student’s curiosity.
Students will explore the Earth, the Sun, and our Solar System, including such concepts as magnetism and gravity. They will also be introduced to basic concepts in chemistry and physics, including an exploration of the science of weather. Finally, in the Biological Science area, MCA students explore botany, zoology, and cellular biology.
The MCA Core Curriculum is designed to integrate subject matter, wherever possible, into a cohesive “whole.” History, the study of humanity’s past, is peculiarly well suited to this kind of integrated, holistic approach.
Integration is accomplished primarily through what MCA calls “the Five Great Lessons,” by which the timeline of the Universe, Life, Humanity, Language, and Math. In fact, the purpose of the MCA History Curriculum is to help the child understand the concept of time. This is accomplished through an exploration of basic needs and the fundamental tenses of past, present, and future.
Geography is also integrated into the study of other subjects, such as science. The MCA Geography Curriculum utilizes maps to help students begin to trace the evolution of the earth and the countries that make up the world’s geographic boundaries.
In addition to flag studies, an overview of map skills, and research into individual countries and states, the MCA Geography Curriculum’s map work enables students to locate and identify:
MCA includes Spanish instruction in its Core Curriculum to facilitate awareness of cultural and linguistic differences throughout the world. The curriculum is also designed to foster a better understanding of the importance of effective and proper communication.
Through the use of conversational Spanish, the child improves her communication skills through an introduction to:
Students also enjoy the opportunity to speak Spanish at other times throughout the learning day.
The MCA Technology Curriculum consists of two major components. The first emphasizes computer literacy; the second promotes a general understanding of technology and how it impacts us in everyday life.
Computer literacy focuses on the following topics:
The child explores current technologies and the evolution that took place that allows for their use as part of MCA’s educational tools. Students also discover how the latest technologies impact them in other settings.
Students continue to develop their interpersonal skills through the MCA Physical Education Curriculum, which focuses on fostering cooperation, fair play, and sportsmanship.
Students also learn the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle, through an integrated program consisting of both individual challenges and team-based activities.
During weekly music classes, students explore varied performance genres, musical notation and composition. Students study the lives and music of composers, world music, blues and jazz. They also learn about character creation, public speaking skills, communication through singing, and group storytelling.
At assemblies, Lower and Upper Elementary students will join to build community through the arts. Performances by outside artists will also offer students opportunities to discover a variety of artistic media.
“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration.
The child who concentrates is immensely happy.”—Maria Montessori