Lower Elementary
(Ages 6 – 9 years) (Grades 1 – 3)

The Montessori Lower Elementary program, for children between the ages of six and nine, is designed to meet the needs of your child in a new phase of development. This age is characterized by heightened social awareness, imagination, and a sense of morality.

The starting point for all courses of study is the “Great Lessons”; these impressionistic and scientific stories are presented every year and give the students the “big picture” of cosmology, astronomy, earth science, geography, chemistry, physics, biology, history, anthropology, cultural and social studies, language, math, music, and art.  Subsequent lessons offer the children keys for exploring these areas of human knowledge in more detail. As in the primary classroom, the lessons are starting points for your child’s own activity. Meaningful learning happens when children are inspired by a lesson and begin to explore the subject and work on their own.

Based on the foundation built during the Primary years, students continue to use hands-on materials to understand new concepts. Through observation, the guide determines when the child has internalized a concept and is ready for a new concept. Guides (“teachers”) keep meticulous notes of which lessons the child has received and which he or she still needs. For example, the child who has used the pegs to find common factors may be ready to find common denominators with the fraction pieces. Montessori students are empowered to ask for new lessons because they enjoy fresh challenges.

Lower Elementary Faculty:

Lourdes Mora

Lead Spanish Immersion Lower Elementary Teacher

Lourdes was born and raised in Ecuador. She has her Bachelor of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language from Cuenca University. As an ESL teacher, she has experience working at both elementary and high school levels, as well as in activities outside of the traditional classroom. Her first teaching experience was during high school when she worked as a volunteer elementary religion teacher at her church for 2 years. Additionally, for 5 years, she worked in one of the most important hydroelectric projects of Ecuador, Sopladora. Lourdes is currently pursuing her Lower Elementary Montessori Training Certification for children age 6-12. She is excited to continue teaching Spanish and the Hispanic culture at Alegria. When Lourdes is not teaching she enjoys painting, reading, and taking care of her flowers.

Denise Hudgens

Reading and Writing Specialist for Lower & Upper Elementary

Denise is a Florida native and moved to St Petersburg from Tampa in 2003. She attended USF and holds a B.S. in Environmental Science. She also has her AMS Early Childhood Credential and has been teaching in both primary and elementary classrooms for over 15 years. Outside of school Denise enjoys gardening, music, art, and spending time with her son, Nathan.