Our Montessori Primary Program

At Agia Sophia Academy we offer a Montessori Primary Program for students ages 3-6 (Preschool & Kindergarten). Montessori is a method of education developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900’s. Montessori programs are found world-wide, spanning six continents and becoming extremely popular in the U.S. in the last 50 years. It is founded on the scientific observation of children’s learning processes; teaching abstract concepts in a concrete way through the five senses.

The Montessori curriculum is organized into seven main areas: practical life, sensorial, mathematics, language, science, history/geography and art. The materials are available to children on low shelves with each subject area found in a different part of the room. Each work is designed to be used by hand and absorbed by the mind, providing a strong kinesthetic approach to learning from which all children benefit. Children are usually presented “lessons” individually or in small groups to maximize their learning potential and teach to each child’s readiness. An additional benefit is that this affords an opportunity for the teacher and child to cultivate a strong relationship.

Sample Montessori Preschool Schedule

8:10a Drop-off begins & Greetings
8:30a Morning Prayers
8:40a Attendance, news, group lessons, singing, literature, announcements, etc.
8:45a Students work independently, in small groups or have lessons with teacher
9:15a P.E./Library/Art (depending on the day)
10:25a Prepare, serve and eat snack
11:45a Music/Greek (depending on the day)
12:15p Half-day dismissal/Recess
12:30p Lunch
1:00p Rest Period for Younger Students / Kinders in Small Group Work or lessons with teacher
1:30p Classroom work time for all / small group work/stories/language and science activities
2:50p Afternoon Prayers
3:00p Dismissal

Curriculum Descriptions

Students at ASA begin and end each day with a short prayer service. Additionally, we have one Divine Liturgy a month, as well as visits from local clergy and guests. Faith class supplements home and church attendance with consistent reference to and instruction in the Gospels, the Nicene Creed and Divine Liturgy.
PE is provided for all ASA students. Our students learn to develop the sense of physical and spatial awareness through movement towards the eventual mastery of locomotor and nonlocomotor movement patterns. Manipulative skills & fitness activities strengthen the motor skills and the developing body. We achieve this primarily through the use of BrainDance® developed by Anne Green Gilbert.

Students pursue health, physical fitness and active lifestyles based on the National Standards for Physical Education and Dance which aids in developing Muscular Strength, Aerobic Capacity, Muscular Endurance and Flexibility. Through Cooperative Games, Creative Dance, and Folk Dances, the students learn about other cultures, social awareness, cooperation, problem solving, and self and group expression.
We believe music is core to fully educating the person; therefore students receive music instructions 3 days a week. Classes include dance/movement, theory, history, and application through writing and playing instruments. Students acquire these skills using art songs, classical music, Orthodox music, and American Folk Songs.

We believe, as Zoltán Kodály believed:
  1. Music is necessary for the development of the total man.
  2. Music is the birthright of every child, not just the musically gifted.
  3. Music and culture are preserved through music study; therefore, children are to become musically literate by reading and writing the music of their own culture.
  4. By becoming immersed in the elements of music, students become discerning listeners.
The Kodály approach to music education is child-centered and taught in a logical, sequential manner, training musicianship and providing an understanding of the world of music through the experience of singing and the use of instruments, including the keyboard, various percussion instruments and the Baroque recorder.

Music Informances
Each year our children participate in different ways of demonstrating what they have learned in music. Each Christmas brings a Christmas Pageant and concert; each spring, the students present an informance demonstrating cumulative skills learned throughout the year.
We believe Art is a fundamental part of a complete education. It provides experiences, knowledge, and a way of knowing not found in any other curriculum area. Art education provides a means for students to be artistically creative, the ability to express themselves, and involves students intellectually and spiritually. It also provides knowledge and skills that transfer to other disciplines and life situations. Art connects us to the fundamental concerns of civilizations, and leads us to a deeper comprehension of our culture and ourselves. Art education allows students to satisfy one of humanity’s fundamental needs to go beyond mere existence – to exercise their God-given desire to achieve and create.

The Art program begins at the Kindergarten level, teaching students the rules and mechanics of drawing. They learn about: line, form, shape, space, value, color, and texture. To create an aesthetic whole they learn about: contrast, emphasis, balance, unity, proportion, movement, and rhythm.
Children also learn and work with various media including: charcoal, ink, clay, collage…to stimulate their imagination and creativity. With respect to color, they learn the basics of color wheel and color mixing, which is a foundational skill for this age.

Art History is integrated into Art program to build a clearer understanding and engage the children in History.
Learning a second language at a young age is advantageous in many ways. Modern Greek is an important part of our program for Montessori Preschool students.

Greek Language
ASA students begin learning Modern Greek class starting at the age of 3. Our Greek class is inspired by the Total Physical Response language instruction principles, which emphasize teaching language naturally, in the same way that children learn it in the home. Using images, songs, actions, and manipulative objects, children learn how to identify objects in Greek and follow simple directions. Greek culture and history are also taught through traditional songs. The curriculum for Lower Elementary and Montessori is strictly verbal, while the Upper Elementary children are also exposed to basic reading skills, etymology, and verb conjugation. Etymology is especially valuable as it can tie in to other subjects, including science, religion, mathematics, other foreign languages, and more.

Each year we host a variety of activities for the students at ASA. These may include, but are not limited to: Passport to ASA, Special Guest Day (i.e. Grandparents Day), Pizza Day with the Board, 100th Day, St. Nicholas Day, Safety Days & other in-house presentations.

In the past, Agia Sophia Academy also organized and hosted the annual Orthodox Youth Cultural Exchange, where children from Portland’s various Orthodox churches shared their ethnic dances, songs and more, in celebration of Orthodox culture.

Montessori Resources

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Check out our Frequently Asked Questions or Contact Us for more information.