Due to increased interest, St. Dominic’s is opening a second Elementary classroom for the coming school year. As a Montessori school, the Elementary classes are grouped with several grades together in one class.

This leads to better cooperation in learning among the students and helps the younger students more quickly learn the routine, says school director Margot Davidson. “It’s great to see friendships and learning alliances grow between children of various ages.” And now, with the added class, the school will be able to accept more Elementary-age students (Grades 1 – 6).

What makes the program so popular is individualized learning plans, freedom of movement in the classrooms, and a wide variety of activities to choose from. Also, “going out” is an essential component of Montessori education. Students are encouraged to seek outside sources for the topics they are studying.

The Upper Elementary students go out on a field trip at least once a month. Some may go out more often if they find a resource in the community. Some of the field trips in the past include: Reptiland, the boulder field at Hickory Run State Park, Shuman Point on Lake Wallenpaupak, University of Pennsylvania Archeology Museum, Valley Forge, Lacawac Sanctuary, and the public library.

Also, students in all grade levels play outside on the grounds and in the woods every day. This is an essential part of our program, Mrs. Davidson says. “The experience of nature is integral to our human experience and the kids crave it. It is especially important for the Elementary-age child to move and get fresh air in the school day.”

Last year, a 7th and 8th grade classroom was opened, focusing on applying the learning habits experienced in Montessori education to a liberal arts curriculum. These years prepare the student for high school, providing a bridge from Montessori to traditional classroom education. “The focus is on effective communication and logic as well as Math and Science preparation,” Mrs. Davidson explains. “Hands-on activities are still part of the program as they were in Montessori, especially in Math and Science, but the focus shifts to more abstract thinking and being able to communicate your thinking.” The students also participate in a wide variety of electives such as, for example, drama, art, and archery.

St. Dominic’s Academy is an independent non-profit Catholic Montessori school implementing authentic Montessori principles as well as the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, an internationally acclaimed catechism program based on the Montessori method.