Situated in the heart of The Montessori School’s main building, the MSSA is a learning resource center that instills a love of reading and independent research skills among all members of the community.
The program seeks to ensure that all students are independent, productive users of the library’s resources, which are collected, designed, and formatted to support the classroom curriculum. A collection of more than 13,000 books, DVDs, CDs, periodicals, and electronic media is varied, age appropriate, and high quality.
The library has a ratio of 40 items per student (1.75 times more than the Texas “Exemplary” requirement), and the average collection age is less than 17 years old. Book lists provided include selections from the Newbery Medal, Caldecott Medal, Coretta Scott King Awards, Texas Bluebonnet Award, and Texas Lone Star list.
The MSSA library hosts a variety of events and opportunities, including:
• Author, storyteller, and illustrator visits
• The Geography Man
• MSSA Multicultural Fair
• Earth Day Celebration
• Texas Bluebonnet Reading Program
• Classics Reading Program (Newbery and Caldecott books)
• Readers’ Theatre
• Pumpkin Patch Poetry and Picnic Poetry
• 25 Cent Book Buy
• Scholastic Book Fairs
Primary students mainly focus on learning basic vocabulary: days of the week, colors, numbers, animals, food, clothing, parts of the body, school, and family, as well as learning how to respond to greetings and other simple questions. They learn how to follow simple commands in Spanish. Much of their learning is achieved through songs presented in the class.
Lower Elementary students continue learning various basic vocabulary in addition to the vocabulary pertaining to what they are learning in their classrooms. This creates a correlation between Spanish class and their regular classroom. Lower Elementary students learn how to distinguish feminine and masculine nouns and the articles that correspond to the nouns. They are able to recognize words in Spanish and write simple sentences in first person. In addition, they begin to practice conversational Spanish, and are presented with cultural studies of the Latin American/Hispanic culture.
Upper Elementary students improve their listening skills by listening to and understanding Spanish dialogues. We cover topics such as greeting people, learning about someone new, and telling what one likes or dislikes. Students practice reading and pronunciation by reading small dialogues out loud and creating skits to present to the class. At this level students learn verb conjugation in preparation for middle school. Students also research Hispanic countries and cultures.
Middle School students complete the equivalent of a high school Spanish I class. For practical conversational skills, students concentrate on vocabulary and information needed to travel to a Spanish speaking country, including everyday greetings and responses and how to give and ask for directions. For written content, reading comprehension and sentence formation are the main points of emphasis.
At the core of music education is the Kodály philosophy, which encourages good vocal tone production and teaches musical literacy (reading and notating music rhythms and notes) through traditional folk songs and well-composed music. Music literacy teaching begins with a very young child and continues through Middle School.
Students participate in singing, music games, rhymes and speech exercises, movement, and folk dances, and are eventually led to rhythmic and melodic improvisation and composition. The Orff instruments become an extension of the singing voice and are used to enhance the student’s musical experience. Our Middle School music program offers the choice between brass ensemble and vocal ensemble with a focus on performance. Our brass ensemble includes the choice of studying trumpet, trombone, French horn, or euphonium.
All students meet with a music specialist on a regular basis each week and have performance opportunities during the school year. Music studies and activities also take place within the Montessori classroom environment and are supported by the classroom teacher.
The Montessori School’s music program features opportunities for students to perform in our school choirs, Singers (Lower Elementary) and Chamber Singers (Upper Elementary and Middle School). One of the after-school activities is a handchime group, Chimers (Upper Elementary and Middle School). Our performing groups give concerts at school and throughout the community.
The art program at MSSA strives to instill creativity as a foundation in problem solving for each student. Utilizing the elements and principles of art, students are able to practice and utilize different art methods in all disciplines of education.
Each grade level attends a scheduled weekly class where they are exposed to a variety of media, history, and techniques. Students strive to show craftsmanship and ownership in their artwork.
When time allows, students can also attend open studio where they may work on a current class project, an art project, or an independent lesson of their choice. Open studio provides the students at MSSA with a unique opportunity for exploration and the freedom to make their own creative choices.
The Montessori School’s athletic program gives each child the opportunity to experience individual accomplishment, teamwork, and the value of sportsmanship.
Supported by a solid core of motor skills, techniques, and coordination training, each child engages in a wide array of games and activities and pursues his/her specific interests and talents. As students explore their potential, the athletic staff instills in them high standards for personal wellness and provides them a supportive venue for athletic trials and successes.
As part of the Independent School Athletic League (ISAL), MSSA offers team soccer, track and field, tennis, volleyball, and basketball for girls and boys at the Middle School levels. After-school soccer, golf, tennis, jump rope, and sports clubs for younger ages are also available.