Last Updated: 8/20/2018 5:43 PM

Elementary children, grades one through five, continue this experiential approach, while expanding into the larger community of the past, present and future. Children become researchers; the rich, extensive academic and cultural curriculum engages and challenges children in their continual quest for knowledge.


The following is a sampling of Cottonwood School’s core, Montessori-based curriculum in the areas of language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science for our elementary students.

Reading and Language Arts


  • Gaining the concept of a noun by labeling objects with written name tags, mastering increasingly complex words naming things that interest them, such as dinosaurs, the parts of a flower, geometric shapes, the materials in the classroom, etc.
  • Learning to recognize verbs and demonstrating understanding by acting it out. For example, "Place the mat on the table and bring back a red pencil."
  • Using the classroom library and reference books and reading for comprehension at ever increasing levels of difficulty


  • Writing on special writing tablets, becoming comfortable with script
  • Continuing to spell words, compose sentences and stories, and work on punctuation and capitalization


  • Preparing written descriptions of science experiments
  • Composing short stories, poems, plays, and news articles
  • Researching topics of interest and preparing both formal and informal written and oral reports.



  • Studying words such as compound words, singular-plural, masculine-feminine, prefixes, suffixes, synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms
  • Recognizing and spelling the non-phonetic words that are not spelled as they sound



  • Using grammar boxes to analyze sentences by their parts of speech
  • Analyzing sentences for concepts such as simple and compound sentences, clauses, verb voices, and logical analysis
  • Studying tenses, moods, irregular verbs, person and number, style, and grammatical arrangements in English and other languages



Basic Math

  • Understanding addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication with large numbers through the Montessori Stamp Game (a manipulative system that represents the decimal system as color-keyed "stamps") and the Montessori Small and Large Bead Frames (color-coded abacuses)
  • Developing abstract understanding of Multiplication and Division, moving to paper and pencil problems and no longer needing concrete materials
  • The history of mathematics and its application in science, engineering, technology & economics


  • Studying advanced concepts such as nomenclature, characteristics, measurement and drawing of the geometric shapes and concepts such as points, line, angle, surface, solid, properties of triangles, circles, etc.
  •  Reviewing the history of applications of geometry
  •  Exploring the theorem of Pythagoras

Social Studies


  • Studying maps and compass: longitude and latitude, coordinate position on the globe, the Earth's poles, the magnetic poles, history and use of the compass, topographic maps, global positioning satellite devices, electronic charts
  • Recognizing land and water formations (island, isthmus, peninsula, strait, lake, cape, bay, archipelago) in three-dimensional models and on maps, including famous examples of them


  • Studying one nation at a time in detail. Focus moves over the years from one continent to another, as the children's interest leads them. All aspects of the nation are considered: geography, climate, flora and fauna, major rivers and lakes, cities, mountains, people, food, religions, etc.



  • Studying human history starting with the earliest humans and ending with an introduction to the first farmers. They consider early societies in terms of how they organized themselves to meet the common needs of all peoples: food, clothing, shelter, defense, transportation, medicine, arts, entertainment, government, and religion.
  • Exploring a history program follows a three year cycle of thematic study including the creation of the universe, formation of the earth, evolution of life, and early human civilizations.


  • Developing field science skills (tracking, listening, observing) and scientific inquiry skills (forming a hypothesis, designing experiments, recording results)
  • Using chemistry and physics and performing lab experiments
  • Preparing and analyzing graphs and data displays as well as using basic statistics

Contact us to learn more about our Elementary Montessori curriculum at Cottonwood School.

Visit our Programs page for descriptions of our curriculum in the arts, music, physical education, and foreign language.

Cottonwood School  |  3896 Corrales Road  |  Corrales (near Albuquerque and Rio Rancho), NM 87048
Phone:505-897-8375  |  Fax:505-890-1533