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Lower Elementary

Our Elementary School focuses on academic excellence, as we seek to instill a sense of curiosity in our students and teach them how to think independently and solve problems in creative ways. We are committed to small class sizes, which means all children receive a great deal of individualized attention, both in their academic work and in their social-emotional development.  Through the grades, we focus on a multi-disciplinary approach - connecting literature with history and science, and bringing concepts to life though art, discussion and debate, field trips, performances and research projects.

The Lower Elementary grades (1st-2nd) follow a traditional Montessori approach to learning. Language and Mathematics skills are taught through Montessori materials, with the guidance of Montessori-credentialed teachers. Because of the self-correcting nature of our Montessori materials, students are able to learn at their own pace and discover concepts independently, fostering a great sense of self-confidence in their academic skills.   But more importantly, Manhattan Academy students have fun learning together through our hands-on approach, which leads to enjoyable and dynamic classroom experiences.

Below. you will find more information on our core subjects. For information on our specialty classes, including Spanish, Art, Technology, Music, Physical Education, and Makerspace, please see our Elementary Specialty Classes page. For more details on optional after-school enrichment classes, please see our Enrichment page.

students reading

Language Arts

A strong focus in Lower Elementary is literature analysis, ensuring students are able to read at a high level and enjoy the act of reading as well. Our students develop strong reading and comprehension skills, and we complement this with active discussions to analyze each piece. Students learn to identify and discuss the basic components of writing, such as characters, plot, setting and dialogue. Children are able to write multiple paragraph essays, utilizing research skills, strong writing mechanics and sentence structure as well as a solid grasp of grammar rules.

Our Elementary Language Arts curriculum is complemented by our Reading Buddies program and Literacy Club, both of which bring together students from multiple grades.


We use carefully-curated Montessori materials to bring mathematics to life, so that students truly grasp the underlying concepts. When children understand the mathematical operation while using the tangible materials, they move on to master abstract work with the same concept. Math is taught individually, so each child moves at his/her own pace and receives consistent individualized attention from their teacher.


Children in Lower Elementary develop a strong mastery of math facts, including being able to add and subtract quickly. They also develop foundational skills in multiplication, division, long division, fractions, and geometry. We like bringing these concepts to life through class activities, like measurement, building and graphing projects, or working with pretend money.

student practicing math
students learning about the human skeletal system

Science & Cultural Studies

Science & Cultural Studies are taught in the Lower Elementary grades through Montessori's Five Great Lessons:

Coming of the Universe and the Earth

Astronomy, Meteorology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Geography


Coming of Life

Biology, botany, habitats, ancient life, animals


Coming of Human Beings

Ancient civilizations, inventors


Communication in Signs

Development of the alphabet and language

The Story of Numbers

Origin of numbers and mathematics

These lessons focus on the development of life on Earth and the building blocks of our universe. The goal is to ignite a sense of curiosity, wonder, ingenuity and discovery. Children begin to understand, analyze and think critically about the world around them.


All Elementary School students attend the following enrichment classes, taught by specialists in their field:






Physical Education


Read more about our Elementary Enrichment here.

Students also have the option of enrolling in a plethora of after-school enrichment activities. Click here to find out more about after-school enrichment.

children performing a musical concert
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