Montessori School of Ojai


Lower Elementary

Lower Elementary School Year

Elementary students, with their increased ability to focus for longer periods of time, will make the transition from concrete to abstract thought. For example, math manipulatives are used to introduce basic math operations, as well as algebra and fractions. Mathematics, reading, writing, and spelling comprise the curriculum core. Social studies, science, art, music, garden, Spanish, and physical education are also taught at this level.

Montessori education is designed to help children with their task of inner construction as they grow from childhood to maturity. It succeeds because it draws its principles from the natural development of the child. The inherent flexibility allows the method to adapt to the needs of the individual regardless of the level of ability, learning style, or social maturity.



Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural drive to work and learn. The children’s inherent love of learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, meaningful activities under the guidance of a trained adult. Through their work, the children develop concentration, motivation, persistence, and discipline. Within this framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities, during the crucial years of their development.

The more experienced children share what they have learned with those new to the group. Each child’s unique personality is encouraged; each child is respected as an important member of a community.

The Teacher

The role of a Montessori teacher is one of guide and observer, whose ultimate goal is to intervene less as the child develops. The teacher builds an atmosphere of calm, order, and joy in the classroom and encourages the children in all their efforts, thus promoting self-confidence and discipline. With the younger students at each level, the teacher is more active, demonstrating the use of materials and presenting activities based on an assessment of the child’s needs. Knowing when to observe and when to intervene is a skill the Montessori teacher develops during a rigorous, specialized course of training.


Discovering the joy of learning and developing social and intellectual discipline lay the foundation for a happy, productive life. The children develop an appreciation for the world while becoming responsible human beings and active members of a harmonious society.

Before and after school child care available. See Child Care section.

Lower Elementary Staff

Liz Cossairt

Liz has been associated with the school since 1980, starting out in the Child Care program and then assisting in the classroom while completing her Montessori training. Since obtaining her Primary and Elementary Montessori certificates, Liz has been head teacher for children from kindergarten through the third grade. She also serves as resource teacher for science and social studies.

Liz’s educational background includes undergraduate work in Zoology and Botany. She has a B.A. degree in Psychology from Antioch University. She has also been a teacher trainer for Mortensen Math. All three of Liz’s children have attended Montessori School of Ojai.  Liz is the Assistant Director of the Montessori School of Ojai.