Preparing Future Leaders

Our Elementary curriculum encourages the use of independent, critical thinking skills, time management and problem solving. We have a strong curriculum in math, science and language studies.

The elementary program is divided into two different three-year class levels. Lower Elementary is comprised of 1st through 3rd grade and the Upper Elementary is comprised of 4th through 6th grade. Both programs, while distinct, share a very large collaborative space, which enables more advanced lower elementary students to join in Upper Elementary work.

The Day

The elementary program is based on a 4 hour work cycle for the children each day. Preventing interruptions during this time is a priority. Presentations are given to the whole class or on an individual basis as needed. Children begin their day with daily math and language work and move on to their individualized work plans as they are ready. Interactions with adults, problem-solving, peer teaching and socialization all take place during the morning work cycle. Children are challenged on their work-plan according to their ability. Students progress at their own pace; upon achieving mastery they are introduced to new concepts and are not limited in their activities by specified grade level.

Classroom Environment

The classroom is arranged according to subject area. The materials in each individual area are arranged left to right, and in sequential order from concrete to abstract. The children are free to move around the classroom and choose if they would like to work at a table or a rug on the floor. The staff work hard to ensure that the children are working on task and prepared to do 2-3 works each morning. It is not uncommon for a child to be totally absorbed in a material or the particular material requiring more time to fully complete. At any given time of day, you can witness the children learning about a variety of subjects including math, language, science, history, geography, art, music, Bible and Spanish.

Teacher Responsibilities: Preparing the environment, Observing the environment, and Facilitating the environment are the main responsibilities of the teacher in the Montessori elementary classroom.

Areas of Study

The subjects are interwoven in the elementary program. Each child has an individualized work-plan from which to choose work each day. Upon mastery the child is introduced to new materials and concepts. The work plans are structured for child to engage with math and language on a regular basis as well as cultural studies. The children are introduced to the study of maps, planets, zoology, botany, histories of people in various time periods, and about the earth. Bible stories, great artists, and composers are also introduced. Many Montessori students are not just satisfied to complete an assignment, but choose to and are encouraged to explore the “why” and “how” and to develop and intellectual curiosity which prepare the child for a lifetime of learning.

While many children are satisfied just to complete a page of an assignment, the Montessori child is encouraged to explore the “why” and “how” and to develop an intellectual curiosity which prepares the child for life.


The Montessori Math Curriculum continues on from the Primary level. In Lower Elementary, children use the decimal system materials for concrete work in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and work towards more abstract materials as mastery is achieved. New concepts are introduced as repetition of previous materials continue. Fractions, mathematical language, memorization, skip counting, story problems, time, money, and an introduction to geometry are also included at this level.

The Upper Elementary Math Curriculum is a continuation of memorization, the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) to greater degrees of abstraction, mathematical language, story problems, decimals, measurement, fractions, geometry and an introduction to algebra.


Children in Lower and Upper Elementary work daily on writing and reading. Children also work on the functions of words (the roles each word plays in a sentence), alphabetizing, penmanship, punctuation, word studies (prefixes, suffixes, antonyms, and synonyms), sentence structure, and research. Time is set aside each afternoon for quiet individual reading time, group reading and literature groups. An individualized spelling list/homework is created for each elementary child on a weekly basis.


The Montessori Cultural Curriculum has a strong influence beginning at the Primary level and expands in elementary. Children are introduced to many cultures and places around the world, also learning about the land forms, reading and using maps, continent studies, landmarks and the political makeup of the world. Several independent projects are fostered out of the cultural materials. Spanish language classes are offered 2 times per week with a native Spanish speaker. Art and Music classes meet 1 time per week with a specialist.


Physical science, zoology, and botany materials are part of the elementary classroom. This curriculum area is enhanced through field trips to local parks and museums.


CCM is unique in the local community in offering a Christian perspective and Biblical based learning alongside Montessori. The elementary children have structured Bible lessons based on stories from the Old and New Testament, participate in classroom devotions as well as a weekly school-wide chapel service and are introduced to Bible memory work.

Social Development

The curriculum for the child from 6-12 years is group oriented and is extremely sociable. The Montessori Elementary Program at CCM is a small, close knit group where children form close bonds. The classrooms are multi-aged and are with the same group of classmates year after year, losing and gaining children as the program evolves. The staff is trained to observe and encourage social interaction among the students. Students are free to speak with each other and move about the classroom respectfully and at will throughout the day. The “ground rules” for the classroom are established through discussion with the entire class and revolve around respect

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Meet Our Teachers
Ms. Maria Carlson

Maria Carlson is the Elementary Guide. Maria earned a BA in English from Kalamazoo College, where she participated in a study abroad in Munster, Germany. She took graduate coursework at Hamline University (St. Paul, MN) for Teaching English as a Second Language and Indiana University South Bend for Special Education. She has taught adult education English as a Second Language classes as well as community education basic computer literacy courses. Maria has taught special education for the Elkhart and South Bend community schools and worked for Penn Harris Madison schools.

Maria came to Montessori when she enrolled her child in Montessori school, later deciding to teach. She is interested in how we learn most effectively through our lifetime. She will receive her lower elementary Montessori certification from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies in August 2019 and her upper elementary certification in 2020. Outside of Cornerstone, Maria has one daughter whose activities provide many opportunities to volunteer.  

“Neither child had any issues in transitioning from the conventional classroom. You can see the excitement in our son's eyes when to talks about school and all the various avenues he is able to explode. ”

The Kuhns Family
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