About the Elementary Program

  • twostudents

    The Elementary Program serves grades 1 through 6. Students discover how the concrete ideas and skills they gained in early childhood programs fit into larger and more abstract concepts, and the Montessori approach reflects the children’s increasing independence and problem solving skills. Individual lessons combine themes from multiple disciplines like geology, history, language, math, art, music, and science, and students increasingly learn through in-depth (and at times cooperative) projects and research. Study materials reflect multiple levels of understanding and students progress at their own pace within the curriculum.

    Children at this stage of development have a heightened sense of moral order. Their strong sense of justice and fairness helps them establish internal accountability and the ability to collaborate and cooperate within a community. This is also a sensitive period for children to use the power of their imagination and intelligence. The Elementary Program helps students hone their sense of justice and fairness, reinforces oral and written communication, provides for in-depth experiences in all academic skills, and nourishes imagination and creativity.

    Elementary students gradually move from concrete to abstract, from simple to complex, from distinct to integrated and interrelated. By questioning the universe and their place in it, Montessori students develop the problem solving and critical thinking skills necessary to navigate the next great period of transformation: adolescence.

Elementary - Classroom Schedule

  • poetry lesson While there is some variation depending on the day of the week, here is a sample schedule for a day in the Elementary Classroom

    7:30 - 8:00 | Arrival

    8:00 - 11:30 | Morning Work Cycle

    11:30 -12:00 | Group Time/Jobs

    12:00 - 1:00 | Lunch and Outdoor Time

    1:00 - 1:30 | Read Aloud/Afternoon Work Cycle

    1:30 - 2:45 | Afternoon Work Cycle/Special Activities

    2:45 - 3:00 | Dismissal

    During the morning and afternoon work cycles, students choose lessons and activities that suit their interests.  Special activities such as art, drama, music, and band also happen during this time.

a child who is self-assured and confident in every aspect of life - I think this is the greatest benefit of Montessori
elementary artwork

Meet the Elementary Guides

 Gussie Greer

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Gussie Greer

Elementary Program

Gussie has a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University and a B.A. in Anthropology from Connecticut College. She completed her Associate Level Training in Orton Gillingham in May of 2016. She joined the MSB elementary team in 2014. Previously she worked in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District and was the Assistant Teacher at the South Egremont School. She moved to Great Barrington from NYC with her husband and three children eighteen years ago. Gussie has always been passionate about education, particularly alternative education, and is currently pursuing her Elementary AMI certification. Gussie enjoys hiking, yoga, Pilates, and reading. She also loves spending time at home with her two French Bulldogs and her cat.

 Leia Bibiloni-Bastow

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Leia Bibiloni-Bastow

Elementary Assistant

Leia has been part of the MSB community for four years as an assistant in the Toddler, Children's House, and Elementary classroom, in addition to coordinating and supervising the after-school program for our students. Prior to MSB, Leia has had experience working with youngsters in Japan, Guatemala, and Spain. Leia completed her AMI Montessori assistant training in the fall of 2015, and is thrilled to use her knowledge and bilingual skills with the children of the MSB community.

 K. Meagan Ledendecker

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K. Meagan Ledendecker

Co-Founder, Director of Education, Elementary Program Guide

Secretary, Board of Trustees

Meagan grew up in a Montessori school with two Montessori teachers and administrators as parents. She has an M.S. in Environmental Education through the Audubon Expedition Institute/Lesley University. Before co-founding MSB, she worked as an Education Coordinator for nonprofits, taught at the elementary level for Pittsfield Public Schools, and provided professional development for teachers. Meagan began her adult Montessori path after the birth of her first daughter. Meagan is trained in AMI Assistants to Infancy (0-3), Montessori Educators International (MACTE accredited) early childhood (3-6), Montessori Educators International elementary training (6-12), and is nearing completion of her AMI elementary training (6-12). Although usually at the school, Meagan has been known to enjoy gardening, yoga, hiking, running, and reading with a cat curled up on her lap.

 Erika Chait

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Erika Chait

Elementary Program

Erika graduated from Colby-Sawyer College with a BS in Exercise and Sports Science, and has spent much of her professional life in healthcare and human resources. She’s been part of the MSB community as a parent for five years with her son Roberto, and her daughter Thalia. After spending time as a parent volunteer and class liaison, she was excited to join the Elementary classroom two years as an Assistant Guide. Erika has enjoyed getting to know all of the students, and learning about Montessori from a different perspective. She has also recently completed her Montessori Primary Assistants Certification through AMI. Outside of the classroom, Erika enjoys reading, hiking, cooking and gardening.

Specialists in the Elementary Program

 Sheela Clary

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Sheela Clary

Languages

Sheela is a long-time language teacher, having taught in both public and private school settings, in New York City, Boston, Italy and with the Peace Corps in Papua New Guinea. She works with both the Elementary students on Latin and its connection to English, and with Adolescent Experience students on Italian, Spanish or French, as they choose. She has a Masters in Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University, and is working on an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sheela grew up in Egremont, lives in West Stockbridge, and her three children attend MSB.

 Aaron Eliassen

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Aaron Eliassen

Learning Support Guide, Elementary and Adolescent programs

Aaron is a graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, with a self-designed major in psychology with a focus on empathy building. He grew up in Cambridge, MA, and before coming to the Berkshires eight years ago, worked in the Boston area for eight years at a therapeutic after school program. Aaron earned his certificate in Montessori training from MEI in 2012 while working at MSB and spent seven years an elementary guide. In his new position of learning specialist, Aaron will be focusing his time on students who need additional tools and support to achieve their full potential. Outside of school, he particularly enjoys art projects and social skills groups with children. In his spare time Aaron likes to play games of all kinds, watch movies, hike in the woods, canoe, do art (especially painting, drawing and sculpture), swim, and go to the gym. Aaron and his wife also like to travel in their spare time.

 Dana Harrison

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Dana Harrison

Drama Specialist

Dana holds a Masters degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College. She has been teaching drama at MSB since its inception in 2006. Dana is a professional actor, education artist, and manager with Shakespeare & Company, and performs with other theatre organizations. She was cast in two of the Berkshire Eagle’s top 10 productions of 2011: Shakespeare & Company’s As You Like It, by William Shakespeare and Mixed Company’s Taking Steps, by Allan Ayckbourne, and was most recently seen in Moliere’s The Learned Ladies at Shakespeare & Company in February and March 2012.

 Andrea White

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Andrea White

Learning Specialist

Andrea White is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Certified Autism Specialist and is the owner of Berkshire Speech & Language, a speech-language pathology private practice based in Williamstown. Andrea did her undergraduate work at Oberlin College in art history & applied art. She has Master’s degree in elementary and special education from Lesley University in Cambridge and a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology from The college of New Jersey. She has also completed the Certificate (Earned With Distinction) in Educating and Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) at University of California at Los Angeles and has received certification from the Hanen Centre in Toronto. In addition to working with children and their families, Andrea adores hiking and traveling with her husband and teenage son.