At Downtown Montessori Academy, we believe that children learn best when they are at ease and comfortable. The key is to see the hidden nature of the child at given stages of development and to design an environment that will fulfill the child’s innate potential.
The educational approach is for children to trust in their own ability, to think and to solve problems independently. The goal is to lead students to think for themselves and become actively engaged in the learning process. Like the rest of us, children learn through trial, error and discovery. The students learn not to be afraid of making mistakes. They learn to try and try again without fear of embarrassment. As we allow students to develop a meaningful degree of independence and self-discipline, we also set a pattern for a lifetime of good work habits and a sense of responsibility. Our Montessori students are taught pride in their work. We value good communication between parents, teachers, and administration as we seek to offer a comprehensive curriculum to all our students age 4 through 8th grade.
Our school day is five days per week. School day hours are:
Before School Care 7:00 - 8:40 AM (Optional)
Classes 8:40 AM
Dismissal 3:30 PM
After School Care (Optional) 3:30 - 6:00 PM
After School Programs (Optional) 3:30 - 5:30 PM
The Children's House at Downtown Montessori Academy comprises of multi-age classrooms of up to 26 students ages 3, 4, and 5. Their learning is guided by a certified Montessori teacher and a classroom assistant. Students in our Children's House benefit from the Montessori practice of three-year cycle of study with the same teacher.
Our Children's House provides a prepared environment to meet the developmental needs of the child. Children work individually and collaboratively with sensorial materials that engage curiosity and allow students to explore and observe at their own pace. The primary goal is to develop the child's love of learning. The classroom engages the child with numbers and language, writing and reading, the tools of reasoning and communication, and the basis of self-directed learning.
Students learn by working with engaging materials that offer concrete and tangible representations of abstract concepts. The Montessori materials are organized around the classroom by area of study appeal to young children and to promote curiosity, awaken the senses, and inspire self-motivation.
Our Children's House students begin to acquire knowledge through the Montessori Curriculum which includes five areas of study: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, and Culture (science, history, geography, art, and music). Students also participate in physical education and the 5-year-old students also participate in the Urban Ecology Center's Neighborhood Environmental Education Program (NEEP). The Children's House program prepares children for readiness into the first year of the Lower Elementary program, our first grad equivalent.
Children's House School Day
Children entering this program must be three years old by September 1 of the year they begin attending Downtown Montessori Academy. Children age 5 may attend full-day Montessori sessions that run from 8:40 AM to 3:30 PM. Children ages 3 and 4 may attend a half-day Montessori session that runs from 8:40 AM to 11:45 AM. We also offer before and after child care for a fee.
All Children's House programs are five days per week. School day hours are:
Before School Care (Optional) 7:00 - 8:40 AM
Full Day 8:40 AM - 3:30 PM
Half Day 8:40 - 11:45 AM
After School Care (optional) 11:45 AM - 6:00 PM
Children in the Downtown Montessori Academy Lower Elementary program enjoy multi-age classes (grades one, two, and three) and a three-year cycle of study. With a low student/teacher ratio and with the help of assistants, a teacher can give patient attention to each student, and can determine a student’s learning style and interests. Students learn abstract concepts by working with Montessori materials, and the Lower Elementary lessons require self-discipline and enhance the student’s ability to concentrate.
Students have opportunities to mix with their peers from other classes at certain times throughout the day. The school day allows for blocks of concentrated work (individually, in pairs or, in small groups) in the Montessori Curriculum.
Downtown Montessori Academy utilizes the Scholastic Guided Reading Program and Writer's Workshop.
Lower Elementary students also participate in physical education, art, music and in the Urban Ecology Center’s Neighborhood Environmental Education Program (NEEP).
The Upper Elementary follows a 3 year curriculum cycle in all non-math areas of study. In depth research plays a dominant role. We continue to provide multi-age grouping within an environment that encourages cooperative learning and self-discipline. This is an explosive period of social and intellectual growth.
The Upper Elementary program is based on the “Great Stories” and explores everything from the microscopic to the cosmic, allowing the child to discover the interrelatedness of all things. The program builds on the foundations of the Lower Elementary program. The child continues to learn through discovery, experimentation, and exploration at an individualized pace.
An interdisciplinary approach to learning is also emphasized as is respect for self and community. Materials and group activities develop individual and collaborative skills in the areas of biology, mathematics, language, history, geography, music, and the visual arts. This environment fosters the child’s natural curiosity. The child learns ways of inquiring, investigating and resolving questions. The sense of responsibility to self and to the community, begun in the Children’s House and enhanced in Lower Elementary, is further developed in the Upper Elementary level.
Upper Elementary students also participate in physical education and in the Urban Ecology Center’s Neighborhood Environmental Education Program (NEEP).
The Adolescent Program is an integrative and projects-based learning environment designed to meet the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of our 7th and 8th grade students. Throughout each week, students participate in the following: math, language arts, humanities, occupations, academic writing, human growth and development, book group, coffee shop, in- and out-of-school community service, class council, restorative justice, student-led clubs, art, music, and gym.
The coffee shop is a part of their micro-economy in which students learn how to run a small business, and are able to raise funds for outings and community needs.
Occupations is where students learn about the sciences, but unlike most traditional programs, the focus is on legitimate occupations within the sciences. The adolescents incorporate real work as much as possible. For example, during their fall 2019 ecology unit, they removed the grass from in front of the adolescent building and planted a prairie garden!
Humanities is where students study all things human. Evaluating our past and present as a means of considering possibilities for our future.
Class council is a student led whole-community meeting in which students check in with each community member and work to solve any general issues.
Community service varies throughout the year. They do such things as rake, shovel, plant, and weed for nearby residents. They also do virtual volunteerism and in-school community service when weather does not permit to be outside. Students also give up one study hall per week to volunteer in younger classrooms.
Downtown Montessori Academy is committed to learning through the arts. We have a rigorous, innovative and interdisciplinary visual art curriculum encompassing the entire student body from K-3 through 8th grade. Our 21st century art programming exposes students to various point of view, methods, and media by investigating diverse cultures as well as modern and contemporary art movements. Simultaneously, our art program successfully integrates student engagement in real tangible work, involving critical thinking and awareness, social-emotional learning, global concerns and real-world problems. We infuse creative problem-solving and while reaching local and global audiences.
Art students at Downtown Montessori Academy are proud to have artwork exhibited locally and statewide, at place such as; the Wisconsin State Capitol, the Milwaukee Historical Society, our ongoing gallery space at Bay View Colectivo, and at our annual Spring Arts Gala. We have also collaborated around the world participating in global art projects with students in places like Colombia and Syrian Refugee camps. Additionally, this year we have begun working with the Milwaukee Art Museum through their Junior Docent Program. By sharing their artwork with a wide range of local and global audiences’ students come to understand that their voice matters.
Downtown Montessori nurtures, embraces, and encourages students’ inherent creativity. Our art program fosters students to honor and trust their own instinctive ingenuity and ability to solve hard problems. We believe that art education can help create a generation of flexible and creative thinkers to help solve the multifaceted problems in our world.
Downtown Montessori Academy offers its students a variety of school-day enrichment opportunities:
Urban Ecology Center
Downtown Montessori Academy is proud to be one of the UEC’s Neighborhood Environmental Education Program (NEEP) schools. All DMA students age 5 and older visit the Center least 6 times per year for science and environmental education, both within the center and the surrounding Riverside Park.
Art Museum's Junior Docent Program
Students visit the Museum for themed tours over the course of three years, building on concepts and skills around art while engaging with the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Collection.
JDSP is designed to teach elementary school students vocabulary, history, and interpretation strategies in visual arts. The instruction provided assists students in developing awareness and understanding of the visual arts in relation to history and cultures. Additionally, students explore and develop various verbal, visual, and critical-thinking skills that can be applied to discussing works of art. They also develop a sense of ownership and belonging to a vital cultural institution in their community and encourages their continued attendance to museums in the future.
In Year 3 of the program students will:
Select a favorite work of art from the Museum’s collection for further investigation
Create a reproduction and a creative response to the selected artwork
Research and develop a 3-5 minute presentation of the selected work of art
Deliver the presentation, artistic reproduction, and creative response to a group of peers, family, and Museum staff as Junior Docents during the graduation tour.
STARBASE Wisconsin is an interactive academic program that helps youth increase their knowledge in STEM. Fifth grade students are taken on a five-week odyssey into the exciting world of the sciences though hands-on activities and experiments, technology projects, and interaction with professionals in STEM fields.
What students do:
Experiment with indoor and outdoor rockets to learn Newton’s laws of motion.
Learn navigation and mapping.
Explore solid modeling using Pro/Engineer software.
Design and create solid objects using the 3-D printer.
Conduct investigations of rovers to identify the function and practical use of different sensors.
Use temperature probes and computer technology to test how heat is conducted through various materials.
Build molecular models and investigate properties of fluids.
What students learn:
Math: units of measurement, estimating, plotting, coordinate graphing, interpreting graphs and predicting.
Science: Newton’s Laws of Motion, properties of air, speed, energy transfer and pressure.
Engineering: Apply science and math content to engineering challenges, develop criteria, test and evaluate designs. Students will learn the entire engineering design process.
Science and Inquiry: ask a question, make a hypothesis, do an experiment, make an observation, collect data, analyze your data, change a variable, and make a conclusion
Ask questions, solve problems, and work in teams.
How to communicate what they learn; how to take their learning to the next level.
After School Clubs & Sports
Brownies & Girl Scouts
Fiber Arts Club
Children’s House Summer Camp
3 – 6 Year Olds
We would like to invite your child to be a part of our Montessori Summer Program. Kim Fowler, one of our Children’s House teachers, will be teaching a five week Montessori Session for 3-6 year olds. The session runs from June 15th to July 16th. The hours are 9:00 a.m to 11:30 a.m., Monday thru Thursday.
Traditional Montessori methods will be applied to classroom activities such as science projects, cooking and art. There will be neighborhood walks and plenty of outdoor fun! For new students, this is a great way to get to know some of our staff and future classmates before the fall. You may sign up for individual weeks or the entire 5 week program.
Elementary Summer Camp
7 – 12 Year Olds
The Elementary Program is headed by fully certified Child Care teachers and assistants. The session runs from June 15th to August 28th. The hours are 7:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday.
Elementary students attend field trips all summer long. From the Milwaukee Art Museum to nearby Humboldt Park’s wading pool. Back at the center, activities range from cooking and art, to dancing and science experiments.