Montessori School’s projects displayed at library


GREENVILLE—The Decolores Montessori’s “Colonial Village Project” is completed every three years as part of the North America curriculum in the Upper Elementary (4th-6th grade) classroom. The project combines teamwork, writing, math, and art into a hands-on, long-term project. Students have the opportunity to put what they are studying into practical use over the course of a semester.

The project begins with a plan. Students research many types of actual colonial buildings and choose one that interests them. Students with similar interests are teamed together and partnered for the duration of the project. Their first task is a written report about the building they have chosen. This report includes either a real picture or a realistic drawing of the building, a works cited entry, and typically a few rough drafts. Later, students summarize their papers into the page displayed with their building.

After the writing, students begin the layout process. This is when the builders suddenly realize that math is involved in building. We use pictures, to get actual measurements when possible and make educated guesses when required. At this stage, builders learn to convert their measurements to a chosen scale. The project requires the use of many math skills such as fractions, angles, ratios and, of course, our basic math facts. All of this work culminates in a scale drawing to be used to guide them in the actual construction.

Before the actual construction begins, builders are familiarized with the safe use of our tools. This is the first time many students have used a real hand tool. No power tools are used by students in the construction. We feel hand tools are not only safer but they slow the body down and allow our brain time to focus which aids learning. Hand drills, saws, planes, sanders and more than a little hot glue are just a few of the tools used in the construction process. Finally, it’s time to build.

Builders use their pictures as a guide for the construction of their creation. Exact replicas are not possible or expected. Students are given the opportunity to plan the time needed to complete their project. Builders must follow specific instructions on how to build certain parts of their project. At the same time, they are encouraged to be creative both with the design and the materials used. We use natural materials when possible but if a student has a different idea, we do not limit ourselves.

The culmination of the project is to set up all the creations as a village, landscape around the buildings, and invite family and friends to “tour” the village. As students bring their ideas to reality, they are amazed at the product and the work they have been able to do together. This project is often remembered by former students as one of the all-time highlights of their years in the Upper Elementary classroom at Decolores. Several students have kept their buildings for many years and display them in their homes. This experience has become an invaluable part of our learning community!

The village is now on display in the Greenville Public Library for the next couple of weeks. For more information on Decolores Montessori, please visit their website at or call (937) 547-1334.