DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

September 19, 2013

Montessori Academy opens year with a bang


Derry News

---- — LONDONDERRY — Students at Southern New Hampshire Montessori Academy are starting the new year with a bang — and a lot of lessons about how the universe got its start.

Students in the school’s Upper Elementary, grades 4-6, presented “The Story of the Universe” to younger peers last week.

This multi-sensory presentation is the first in a series of five foundational lessons that are presented to elementary students throughout each three-year cycle.

This lesson weaves a tale of the origins of the universe and also how Earth began.

Using impressionistic charts and experiments directly related to the basic physical properties of matter, a foundation is made for the future study of physics, chemistry, astronomy and geology.

“When you know something well enough to teach another, it cements your own learning,” school director Debra Hogan said. “This is the dynamic which peer learning exemplifies in the Montessori classroom.”

Hogan said by giving the older Montessori students a chance to take on a project of this scale at the beginning of the school year, it helps to unify them as a community early on.

“They’ve already needed to collaborate, compromise and problem solve as a group,” Hogan said. “This will be the first of many opportunities they will have to work as a unit throughout the school year.”

At the “Story of the Universe” presentation, younger students were issued tickets to attend performances and ushered to their seats by their elder peers.

Hogan said making the presentations at the school so formal helps the older students learn about serving as guides, mentors and role models.

Subsequent lessons include “The Coming of Life,” “The Story of Humans,” “The History of Writing,” and “The History of Numbers.”

Hogan said the Montessori approach in Londonderry is giving students a chance to explore their world through the power of their imagination and storytelling.

The school compliments a strong academic core, but also stressed enrichment programs like creative arts, elementary Latin, physical education and technology.

“Nothing is taught in a vacuum at Southern NH Montessori Academy,” she said. “We look to make as many connections as possible across each curriculum area, building context and relationships for their young and curious minds.”