Montessori School of Denver

Curriculum Enrichment

At MSD, you’ll find a wonderful mix of academics and discovery, creativity, athletics, music, and so much more.

Special area subjects, called “Specials” at MSD, are classes meant to enrich the already robust Montessori curriculum and school culture. Specials are taught by specific, specialized teachers to give children a more rounded education. These classes are in addition to regular classroom studies and include physical education, music and theater, art, Spanish, library sciences, and technology. The Urban Farm Team is also considered part of the Specials Team (click here to read more about our Urban Farm Program).

Specials classes are intended to cultivate interests, inspire, and help students to reach their full potential. Specials classes often collaborate by working together on performances, field days, cultural fairs, storytime in the library, and more. All students, Toddler through Middle School receive Spanish language lessons. To learn more about each program, continue reading below.

LANGUAGES, ARTS, & ATHLETICS

Our students are well-rounded and multi-talented.

WORLD LANGUAGE CURRICULUM

In addition to the core academic curriculum, MSD offers classes in Spanish. Students in the Toddler, Primary, Elementary, and Middle School Programs have Spanish once a week, while Kindergarten students have two Spanish classes per week.

Learning a world language enhances the human experience, it expands our cultural horizons, and fosters meaningful connections. MSD offers a comprehensive Spanish curriculum that incorporates the Montessori philosophy and aligns with national proficiency standards. Our Spanish program builds upon the early stages of the Toddler lessons all the way through Middle School. Lessons are designed and presented according to a child’s cognitive and linguistic readiness.

Toddler, Primary, and Kindergarten students learn mainly through topic-based and interactive activities that enhance language comprehension. Critical and analytical thinking at these program levels are supplemented by the use of hands-on Montessori materials. In Lower Elementary, the students demonstrate a higher linguistic awareness of Spanish as they are exposed to a more structured language curriculum. Lessons at this level target the development of listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. Hands-on Montessori materials remain present and Montessori grammar symbols are consistently used in the composition of basic Spanish phrases. In Upper Elementary and Middle School, Spanish classes become more interactive and communicative. Teamwork and collaboration are valued elements to learn Spanish at these levels. In the same way, the students are also guided towards a more independent language acquisition. The use of technology is included in the completion of individual writing and listening activities. Upper Elementary students focus on the development of vocabulary, whereas, Middle School students  focus more on its application. In addition to regular world language classes, Middle School students have the opportunity to deepen their linguistic skills in a “Conversational Spanish” class.  This class not only reinforces the use of Spanish, but the small class size also creates a safe space for the students to strengthen their self-confidence.

Creative Arts Curriculum

In addition to the core curriculum, MSD offers a variety of Special classes in the arts at the Kindergarten through Middle School levels including art, music, and theater classes to enrich classroom studies and student development. The Arts are integrated with MSD’s yearly continent study as well as the yearly school wide theme study.

Art

At MSD we value the benefits that art brings into the life of children. It not only awakens and promotes creativity, but it also improves neural development and fine motor skills. Art allows problem solving, processing world events, and dealing with emotions. Students at MSD use art to understand cultures, address social justice issues, and find their place in the world. Our program is carefully designed to offer our students the best artistic experiences. Students from Kindergarten all the way through Middle School have the opportunity to create their own masterpieces and discover the artist inside.

The journey begins in Kindergarten where children learn what artists do and how they think. They learn important routines, experiment with materials, and properly care for thier art supplies. At this stage, the children also gain exposure to the Elements of Art such as line, shape, and color. In Lower Elementary, the students learn about two and three-dimensional work through drawing, painting, collage, and clay work. They experiment with new materials such as chalk and oil pastels, printmaking materials, and low-fire clay. It is in Upper Elementary where they refine their artistic skills; they create sketchbooks, brainstorm ideas for new projects, and flex their creative muscles. These students work on advanced two and three-dimensional works through drawing, collage, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and more. They are assigned longer projects and learn to sequence steps to create their masterpieces. Children on this level also learn about the life of artists, both contemporary and throughout history, and their significance in the art world. Middle School students enjoy art electives throughout the school year. These are topic-based art classes where students explore their creativity and artistic mediums in a deeper and more meaningful way. The students taking these electives get to go on fun field trips to museums, artist studios, and other places where art is experienced. Each April, the art program hosts MSD’s Gallery Night where the school community gets to admire the masterpieces made by all the students throughout the year. 

Music & Theater

Children develop their creativity, communication, collaboration, and leadership skills through music and theater classes. The exposure to these disciplines also correlates to a higher academic achievement. MSD provides a well-rounded Music and Theater program for Kindergarten through Middle School programs. Our students learn multiple aspects of Music and Theater, including singing skills, rhythm, articulation, tempo, volume, matching pitch, dance, creating choreography, performing, developing characters, and improvisation, among many other things.

In Kindergarten, children learn how to handle and use instruments, and they also work on rhythm, storytelling, and imagination. Singing is a large part of MSD’s curriculum in all grade levels, starting with Kindergarten. Adding to this, Lower Elementary students learn listening skills, creative teamwork, and moving with a supported and calm body. The students in Upper Elementary focus on singing, movement, and character development. They also prepare for auditions and performances of the spring musical. Middle School students dig deeper into reading sheet music. They also work on improvisation games where they are asked to demonstrate multiple tasks simultaneously, such as listening to one another, creating a character, and building a scene that has a beginning, middle, and end. An important part of the Middle School program is the auditions, rehearsals, and performances of the spring play, in which they not only perform, but also run the show, such as working on backstage tech crew, costume construction, and set design. This program also offers multiple electives which gives Middle School students extra opportunities to explore their theatrical and musical creativity. All K-8th Grade MSD students also get to participate in the Winter Concert, Graduation Day, Grandparents’ Day, and other important all school events.

Athletics

Students, Kindergarten through Middle School, participate in physical education classes. At MSD there is freedom of movement in the classroom, meaning students can choose where they work and move throughout the classroom as needed, as well as structured and open recess time at all levels. A curriculum-based physical education class is also a part of the student’s schedule two days a week in Elementary and one day a week in Kindergarten and Middle School.

Physical Education (PE) plays a fundamental role in the development of motor skills in children. It also contributes to improving academic performance, social interaction, leadership, and an overall healthy lifestyle. According to the program level, children learn different techniques to develop their good sportsmanship, teamwork, balance, eye-coordination, and self-control. They are exposed to several kinesthetic activities and games through which they exercise, but also have fun.

All programs usually begin their PE classes with with a fitness warm-up. Kindergarten students jog-walk-practice jog-walk-jog, skipping, galloping, hopping and sideways shuffle. They enjoy playing games such as Tag, red light-green light, popcorn, and pin guard. In Lower Elementary, the students do a circuit of six activity stations for thirty seconds each. This circuit includes proper lifting techniques, jumping jacks, planks, windmill rotational exercises, and balance. Upper Elementary and Middle School play Target ball while learning offensive and defensive teamwork tactics and game awareness. Middle School students have the opportunity to enjoy an extra PE class when they choose it as an elective where they play, learn, and master more advanced movements and techniques. MSD Kindergarten through Middle School students, as well as teachers, also participate in a Beehives Field Day celebrated in May. The teams practice good sportsmanship in a series of games and activities that get us all moving and having fun!

After School Sports

Middle School students have the option to participate in After School Clubs where the emphasis is on honing certain skills required for team sports (such as basketball, soccer, lacrosse, rock climbing, track and field, and ultimate frisbee), intramural competition, and general fitness. We are in the process of developing a more formal after school sports program and hope to coordinate MSD teams soon.

Technology, Library,
& Science Tower

We believe in the power of technology for teaching, exploring, engaging and collaborating – think big.

Technology

We believe in the power of technology as a valuable educational tool, supporting specific skill acquisition,therefore we’ve integrated technology into our classrooms, using it for learning assessments, differentiating instruction, classroom culture work, and communication when developmentally appropriate. Students use computers for research, writing, long distance collaboration, and exploring a variety of concepts using specialized software. All Elementary classrooms use SMART Boards to extend and enrich classroom learning and assess understanding and the Middle School classrooms, Community Room and Science and Innovation Tower are equipped with Apple TVs. The Middle School students have a design class using a 3-D Printer and an engineering class using Lego Robotics. Students in both programs utilize laptops and iPads. In addition, the MSD Library is wireless and has a publishing center for students to produce their work as well as laptops that can be checked out for classroom work.

Library

All Kindergarten through Upper Elementary students have Library classes. Students learn how to conduct research and the proper (safely and responsibly) use of technology. Students also engage in creative projects to demonstrate understanding in digital media, including movie making and web-based presentation tools. In Kindergarten students learn how to navigate the library to find high-interest topics and are taught core literary vocabulary while developing competencies in listening and learning through storytelling. In Lower Elementary, curriculum is built to support a growing love of learning by fostering information gathering skills that allow students to learn independently while gaining greater competencies in navigating digital information. Upper Elementary students continue their information learning by gaining a greater understanding of online resources and digital fact-finding. Middle School students take part in electives such as digital imagery and filmmaking in the Library that provide an opportunity to broaden their technology skills. Additionally, the Library provides a space to explore creative thinking and foster a love of life-long learning. The Librarian offers storytime in the Library to our half-day students once a month. In the Library, students are encouraged to follow their passions and read widely to explore all of the possibilities their future holds. 

Science Tower

At MSD, our students experience the joy of collaboration and self-discovery everyday. They are challenged to learn at their own pace as well as work alongside others to find an answer. They learn how to ask questions and be solution-finders. They learn to think out of the box. MSD encourages kids to think big at all program levels, whether it is to propose their own projects for investigation and exploration, solve a global problem, come up with a new idea and find a way to implement it, students are allowed the freedom to think expansively and to think about the impact that they can someday make on the world. Big Ideas are welcome here!

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A Note From Our Admission Office: MSD is in remote learning mode now through April 17, 2020. While our Admission team may not be physically on campus, we are working, welcoming inquiries, and are happy to answer any questions about our dynamic curriculum, culture, and community. Please email info@msd-co.org for more info.

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