The Montessori curriculum meets, and often exceeds, the required learning outcomes as outlined by the the B.C. Ministry of Education for Kindergarten to Grade 7 students. Due to Montessori’s integrated Spiral Curriculum design, subject areas and learning outcomes at times occur in a different order during these eight academic years when compared directly to a traditional public school curricula.
The curriculum in the Montessori classroom is referred to as a Spiral Curriculum, which encompasses the concepts of a subject integrated, collaborative and constructive curriculum. Each area of the curriculum begins with what Montessori called the five great lessons, also known as the Cosmic Curriculum, which provide a starting point for further exploration and study.
The Spiral Curriculum refers to the idea that the curriculum spirals over three year cycles, covering the subject areas of math and geometry, culture (socials and science), language, physical education, fine arts and social/emotional responsibility. With each three year cycle, the subject matter is refined into a more sophisticated level of discovery.
The Integrated Curriculum refers to the manner in which the Directresses integrate all subject areas within each cultural lesson. The extensions or projects that are planned involve activities that require skills of math, language and culture to be demonstrated as student learning outcomes evolve.
The Collaborative Curriculum refers to the fact that for every project or lesson given, teachers and students collaborate with each other to provide curriculum outcomes that cover concepts to be taught and to be learned and final mastery of those concepts.
The Constructivist Curriculum refers to how each subject taught incorporates a component that addresses students with varying multiple intelligences, or ways of learning, including kinesthetic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, auditory, etc.
The Cosmic Curriculum refers to the concept that Montessori believed that the stories of the universe surpassed all the stories available to young students. These stories were presented through the five great lessons: The Story of the Universe, The Story of Life, The Story of Humans, The Story of Civilization, The Story of Language, and The Story of Numbers. Each of these stories provides an impressionistic depiction of the origins of our universe and the basis or scaffold for further studies.