Free Online Access to Comprehensive Montessori Scope and Sequence

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Free Online Access to Comprehensive Montessori Scope and SequenceExciting news! The Montessori Foundation and Montessori Compass have just released a wonderful free resource for the International Montessori Community! A comprehensive Montessori Scope & Sequence for Infant through Age 12 is now available to be viewed for free online: Montessori Scope & Sequence (Infant –
Age 12). This is an awesome resource for both Montessori schools and Montessori homeschools!

Montessori Scope & Sequence

The Scope & Sequence includes nearly 3000 Montessori lessons organized into the following ten curriculum categories:

  • Infant
  • Art, Music, and Movement
  • Cosmic Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Practical Life
  • Science
  • Sensorial

One of the key benefits that makes this Scope & Sequence unique is the use of “measurable learning objectives”. Each lesson or material in the Montessori classroom is tagged to “elements”, which are specific measurable learning objectives. Considering the fact that there are numerous objectives that can be accomplished with the materials in a Montessori environment, this resource really helps give a more accurate recording of a child’s progress in a Montessori classroom.

This Scope & Sequence has also been aligned to the US Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics. The Common Core Alignment for Kindergarten, Grade 3, and Grade 6 is available to be viewed online for free: Montesori Scope & Sequence Aligned to the Common Core State Standards. (Subscribers to Montessori Compass will have access to the entire alignment, Kindergarten through Grade 6.)

I recently had a chance to speak with Tim Seldin, President of the Montessori Foundation, and Dr. Anita Amos, Co-Founder of Montessori Compass, who were members of the curriculum leadership team.

Interview with Tim Seldin and Anita Amos

Deb: How do you think most within the Montessori community will use the Scope & Sequence?

Tim: Many Montessori schools do not follow a formal curriculum guide. Often they tell us that their teachers’ Montessori albums fulfill the need. Although our Montessori albums are invaluable, they do not provide a coherent Scope & Sequence that is clearly understood throughout the school. We believe that it is imperative that Montessori schools utilize a formal curriculum Scope & Sequence as a common frame-of-reference for the entire school. Our revised Scope & Sequence is the result of many years of painstaking analysis of the Montessori tradition to evaluate the age ranges at which we believe children should commonly reach major milestones. It was written in a way that can be understood by everyone, including non-Montessori educators. Each lesson or material in the classroom is tagged to the appropriate cycle year and paired with very precise measurable learning objectives, aimed at simplifying the process of accurately recording a child’s activity in the Montessori classroom. While it is not intended to be a “one-size-fits-all” checklist of lessons, we are confident that Montessori educators from across the world will find this to be a very useful everyday resource and tool.

Anita: The Scope & Sequence was carefully organized into a format that would be adaptable to meet the needs of any Montessori classroom. When used as a free resource on our site, the Scope & Sequence is a very convenient tool for lesson planning. Educators can utilize the search feature or Table of Contents to easily navigate each of the ten curriculum categories. In addition to the cycle years at which the specific concepts are typically introduced, working and/or retested, lessons contain measurable learning objectives and in many cases detailed descriptions. For example:

Category: Language Arts
Sub-Category: Beginning Reading: Long Vowels and Phonograms
Lesson: Phonograms (Key Sounds) “Long a” /ai/ (/ay/, /ei/)
Key Sounds is a name given to the phonetic sounds (phonemes) that make up words. Phonograms are the individual arrangements of letters that represent phonemes. The same phoneme (key sound) can be represented by multiple phonograms. As mastery of phonetic elements is necessary for success in decoding and spelling, students work with a variety of prepared materials towards this aim. Phonograms representing the “long a” sound include: /ai/ as in ‘aim’, /ay/ as in ‘hay’, /au/ as in ‘gauge’, /ei/ as in ‘vein’, /et/ as in ‘ballet’ and /ey/ as in ‘they’, /aigh/ as in ‘straight’ and /eigh/ as in ‘weigh.’
-Recognizes phonograms representing the “long a” phoneme and reads a variety of words containing these phonograms with correct pronunciation.
-Correctly sorts words containing phonograms that represent the “long a” phoneme when combined with words from another key sound folder.
-Writes a list of words containing phonograms that represent the “long a” phoneme.

Deb: What features of the Scope & Sequence have guides in the Montessori classroom found most useful?

Tim: There are many features of the Scope & Sequence that educators will find quite valuable. One feature that comes to mind is that we have developed a series of “assessment rubrics” that educators find very useful for evaluating writing skills with a general description of baseline expectations for various ages or cycle years.

For example:

In the “Descriptive Writing” sub-category of Language Arts, we describe the following lesson: “Description of an Object Essay”

The aim of this type of essay is to make the reader feel as though they themselves have encountered the object through the writer’s use of vivid sensory details. Students may choose to write about a real or an imaginary object. Young students will initially focus on “telling” about the object, through a few descriptive details. As their writing abilities progress, students will appeal to the reader’s senses and begin to incorporate the usage of similes and/or metaphors in their descriptions. In addition, students will use figurative language in an attempt to “show” the reader aspects of the object as well as to develop the sense of a main impression (mood) in the writing.

The associated elements are scaled to represent baseline expectations for various age levels:

Writes a description of an object of their choosing in which a few descriptive details are included (Dictating, drawing or writing).
Year Cycles: W: K
Writes a description of an object of their choosing in which multiple descriptive details are included.
Year Cycles: W: 1st
Writes a description of an object essay that includes vivid sensory details and an example of figurative language.
Year Cycles: W: 2nd
Writes a description of an object essay that includes vivid sensory details an example of figurative language and the sense of a main impression or mood.
Year Cycles: W: 3rd
Writes a description of an object essay that includes vivid sensory details, multiple examples of figurative language and a main impression or mood is identifiable.
Year Cycles: W: 4th
Writes a description of an object essay that includes vivid sensory details, multiple examples of figurative language, a clearly identifiable main impression and careful wording with strong verbs.
Year Cycles: W: 5th

When recording this activity for the child, a Montessori educator can use the elements as an accurate means of assessment – without regard for age or cycle year. This is a fantastic means of following the child based on their true ability.

Deb: What features do you think Montessori homeschoolers will find most useful?

Tim: The Montessori Foundation is very proud to work with many homeschooling parents around the world. The new Scope & Sequence and Common Core alignment provides a truly valuable academic resource, that is the perfect complement to our already useful record keeping and reporting features. We support the efforts of parents who are committed to homeschooling their children in a prepared Montessori environment and recognize many of them are on a very tight budget. Montessori Compass is pleased to provide a discount for homeschooling parents. Contact Montessori Compass for more information.

Anita: Montessori homeschoolers will find the lesson sequence, descriptions, cycle years, and CCSS alignments very useful. Homeschooling parents can easily see the Montessori lesson/materials that are typically presented at specific ages, as well as the defined measurable objectives for the lesson or material. They can also view detailed descriptions that provide additional insight into the lessons.

Deb: Is there a way the Scope & Sequence can be helpful to parents who want to be sure their child is prepared for kindergarten?

Tim: In some Montessori circles, the concept of the Common Core is a controversial topic. While the Montessori Foundation is not an advocate for any set of standards, we do recognize the Common Core is a reality that schools are facing. Our goal with this collaboration is to provide a pragmatic solution to this issue that demonstrates the many strengths of the Montessori Method. The sophisticated Common Core alignment we have made available represents an opportunity to prove to parents and others outside the classroom what we as Montessori educators already know. Not only will a Montessori-educated child be prepared for Kindergarten (or any other traditional Grade level), but the Scope & Sequence we have developed significantly outpaces the Common Core in many respects. For example, the common practice of introducing Operations with Fractions at the Kindergarten level, results in our students meeting some of the defined Mathematics standards as much as four years ahead of their traditionally educated counterparts.

Anita: The combination of the CCSS alignment and the Montessori Compass record keeping tool enables educators to remain focused on their Montessori classroom. They don’t have to waste valuable classroom work time worrying about an outside set of standards. Simply record the Montessori lesson into our system and the alignment takes place behind the scenes. Much like an insurance policy, should you be required to report on a child’s progress in the context of the Common Core, it is there when you need it.

Deb: Could you explain the abbreviations used in the Common Core State Standards Alignment?

Anita: The Common Core State Standards uses a different set of nomenclature for the English Language Arts and the Mathematics sections.

Student Working with the Moveable Alphabet (Photo from Montessori Compass)

Student Working with the Moveable Alphabet (Photo from Montessori Compass)

For English Language Arts, the Standards are referred to as CCSS-ELA- followed by the individual strands and grade levels. Through Grade 6, there are 6 strands in the English Language Arts (ELA) section of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS):

  • Reading: Literature (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K-6)
  • Reading: Informational Text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K-6)
  • Reading: Fundamental Skills (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K-5) *This strand only runs through 5th grade.
  • Writing (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K-6)
  • Speaking and Listening (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K-6)
  • Language (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K-6)
Student Working with the Small Bead Frame (Photo from Montessori Compass)

Student Working with the Small Bead Frame (Photo from Montessori Compass)

Through Grade 6 there are 10 strands in Mathematics that begin and end at various grades, indicated below (e.g. Numbers & Operations – Fractions (CCSS.Math.Content.3-5.NF) indicates that this strand begins at 3rd grade and ends at 5th grade).

  • Counting & Cardinality (CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC) * This strand only appears for Kindergarten
  • Operations & Algebraic Thinking (CCSS.Math.Content.K-5.OA)
  • Numbers & Operations in Base Ten (CCSS.Math.Content.K-5.NBT)
  • Measurement & Data (CCSS.Math.Content.K-5.MD)
  • Geometry (CCSS.Math.Content.K-8.G)
  • Numbers & Operations – Fractions (CCSS.Math.Content.3-5.NF)
  • Expressions & Equations (CCSS.Math.Content.6-8.EE)
  • Ratios and Proportional Relationships (CCSS.Math.Content.6-7.RP)
  • The Number System (CCSS.Math.Content.6-8.NS)
  • Statistics & Probability (CCSS.Math.Content.6-8.SP)

Deb: Could you explain what is different for subscribers to Montessori Compass?

Lesson Accompanied by a Description, Photo, and Elements in Montessori Compass

Lesson Accompanied by a Description, Photo, and Elements in Montessori Compass

Anita: We are really excited to make the entire Scope & Sequence (Infant through Age 12) available to be viewed online for free. It’s a truly fantastic resource that will provide a lot of value to Montessorians, regardless of the nuances of their respective Montessori training. For the CCSS alignment, we are making available Kindergarten, Grade 3, and Grade 6 available for free. Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 4, and Grade 5 are available to Montessori Compass subscribers. Of course, Montessori Compass subscribers have numerous other benefits associated with record keeping and reporting.

Deb: Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know?

Tim: We are very pleased to have optimized the Scope & Sequence for use in the Montessori Compass online record keeping system. While there are other tools that are available, a truly comprehensive and user-friendly means of recording classroom activity online is something that we feel has been lacking in the Montessori community. Montessori Compass has developed a Web-based solution that we feel is easy-to-use and quite remarkable. We personally use Montessori Compass at our lab school, NewGate School and highly recommend it to everyone.

Anita: As a mother of 4 young Montessori children, increasing awareness among Montessori parents is one of the primary goals of our collaboration. We are making available a variety of parent-centric resources through Montessori Compass, including descriptions and photos of lessons/materials, digital access to Tomorrow’s Child magazine, and other educational resources aimed at providing greater insight into the Montessori classroom. Our belief is that a parent that truly understands the Montessori philosophy is more likely to complete the 3-year cycle at the Primary level and to commit to a Montessori education through elementary and beyond.

Thanks so much to Montessori Compass and the Montessori Foundation for this amazing resource and to Tim and Anita for their interview!

UPDATE: For more information, see Common Core Standards: An Opportunity for Montessori to Shine from Montessori Compass.

Montessori CompassMontessori Compass  is an incredibly user-friendly, web-based software application that provides online Montessori record keeping, school management, and parent communication from any web-enabled device. Sign up for Montessori Compass using the promo code LivingMontessoriNow and get a 14-day free trial and 50% discount for the first 3 months! (A review of Montessori Compass at Living Montessori Now)

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