Welcome to Upper Elementary!

Dear Upper Elementary Parents,

Welcome to our community! We are happy to inform you that our program has moved to a bigger residence—the Tower! In two floors, with multiple rooms, we have the ability to spread our focus areas and accommodate the students’ need for space. Having a beautiful outdoor environment underneath the trees that the children can work in is also a great joy. We’re excited to breathe life in this space and create new memories with the students!

Ms. Karen Snyder continues to be part of our dynamic Upper Elementary team. Her love for language will be shared to the students as she teaches our Literature and Writing classes this year. We are excited for this opportunity to share her passions with you all!

Ms. Christine Helm remains our lead and will oversee the robustness of the Upper Elementary program. She will be responsible for teaching Math and Language to her advisory class as well as teach American History to the entire community.

Joining us this year is Ms. Lauren Bernard. Ms. Lauren will use her expertise in teaching Math and Language to her advisory class, as well as presenting Human Biology to the entire community. Please join us in welcoming her to our program!

Upper Elementary is a dynamic level full of exploration, growth, and realizations of understanding. Your children of 9 to 12 years old are now at an age where they seek to answer questions about themselves and learn about their boundaries, while challenging their previous parameters of existence. To foster this increase, our teaching approach uses Socratic questioning to challenge their intellect, while employing narratives in our lessons to inspire them to imagine, discern, and delve deeper about the theories we share. Our weekly class meetings and Peace Education curriculum support their need for empathy and empowerment.

Our program is active, following closely your children’s need for independence. We teach them time-management skills to help them be successful throughout their day, as well as uphold them to quality work pursuant of excellence in their education. Our semester projects reflect the skill-building required in being self-sufficient workers even at home. With our guidance and your support, the students will meet milestones throughout the year. This fall, the students will have Home Economics Fair. In the spring, they will publish their own books to our UE community during Author’s Tea.

At the end of each year, we go on a weeklong trip out of state, or Field Study, where the students take command of every aspect of the expedition– from projection of logistics, self-care, group efforts in meal management, preference of daily activities to best experience the history, culture, flora and fauna of the state, financial planning, to bolstering everyone’s confidence in undergoing this quest. We have a lot of fun in the process and the students come out stronger and more confident in the end!

Throughout the year, we have various community service projects to engage the children’s empathy for others and the environment. For 10 years now, we have led the DGM Food Drive to help a local organization called Friendly House. We hope to continue serving them and look forward to partnering with you in helping us in this endeavor!

This year, our cultural theme is American History and our science unit is Human Biology. Our learning is made richer in the past from parents who have shared their resources or knowledge by giving presentations to our students. If you are one of them, let us know so we can schedule you in! Our novel studies will mirror our cultural theme, as well as serve as inspiration to other subject areas in our program.

In an effort to maintain the health and safety of our children and staff this year, each classroom will be considered a “Classroom Family.”  Each Classroom Family will be a small, tight-knit community which consists ONLY of the students and teachers/staff assigned to the classroom.

Within our Classroom Family, we have created two advisory groups. The teachers will share presenting the curriculum, as well as managing the intricacies of students’ learning experience and unique needs. During the morning work period, the students will be in their respective advisory homeroom classes. We will come together at different times of the day to accommodate the need for Montessori lessons and access to different parts of the environment.

If you would like to connect with us, please email us anytime:

Ms. Christine: chlem@desertgardenmontessori.org

Ms. Lauren: lbernard@desertgardenmontessori.org

Ms. Karen: ksnyder@desertgardenmontessori.org

To best serve your child during the school day, please allow for a 24-hour turnaround time for an email response. Please also keep an eye on the Upper Elementary page on our website for additional updates on our communication systems.

We are looking forward to an outstanding year filled with joyful moments and excellence of learning!

All the best,

Ms. Christine, Ms. Karen & Ms. Lauren