Overview of Program Levels

Maria MontessoriFree Horizon Montessori offers educational programs for children age three through 8th grade. Dr. Montessori identified four planes of development that all people, regardless of culture, experience as they grow from infancy to adulthood. Each plane, lasting approximately six years (birth to age 6, ages 6 to 12, ages 12 to 18, and ages 18 to 24), has two sub-planes of three years each. The first sub-plane consists of a time of intense acquisition, followed by the second sub-plane of refinement and internalization. Because she observed characteristics of each sub-plane as so different from the others, Dr. Montessori believed that schools would best serve students by grouping children by these developmental planes rather than by single age or grade levels. Based on this belief, FHM subscribes to mixed-age grouping in its classrooms. The older children at each level naturally help the younger ones, thereby deepening their understanding of concepts as well as developing empathy and leadership. Younger students benefit from seeing higher learning possibilities and working with role models close to their own age.

Teachers at all levels serve as guides, allowing students to pursue studies in areas of interest while ensuring overall broad curricular experiences are met.  In Montessori education, the teacher provides opportunities for the minimums to be met while maximums are determined solely by each student's imagination, desire to learn, and effort toward realizing their goal.  All programs meet and exceed content standards as established by both Jeffco Public Schools and the Colorado Department of Education.


Primary - Preschool, Pre-K, and Kindergarten

Refinement & Internalization

The Primary program serves children age three to six.  The plane of the Absorbent Mind is characterized by the time during which a child's mind is like a sponge, absorbing all that is within the environment.  Materials, lessons, and experiences within the Primary classroom are designed to compliment the sensitive periods for development of order, language acquisition, refinement of the senses, and movement.  Characterized by concrete thinking and fundamental formation of character, children endeavor to work independently within a structured environment doing real activities with an intelligent purpose and strive for independence: "I can do it myself!"


Lower Elementary - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade

Intense Acquisition

The Lower Elementary program serves children age six to nine, traditionally identified as 1st through 3rd graders.  Lower Elementary students continue on a strong academic continuum, with social interactions becoming intensely important as they explore issues of fairness, cooperation, and strive to make decisions for themselves.  Lessons provide an introduction to various concepts that are further acquired through follow up work with the Montessori materials and additional individual exploration.


Upper Elementary - 4th and 5th Grade

Refinement and Internalization

The Upper Elementary program serves children age nine to eleven, traditionally identified as 4th and 5th graders.  Upper Elementary students are ready for intense exploration of abstract concepts as well as those of social justice, historical relevance, and each individual's role within the greater community and society.  Extended opportunities for independent study of topics of interest allow students to be inspired by and make connections with the overall curriculum.

Extended Learning Opportunities

Dr. Montessori believed children gain knowledge through experiences in the real world that are unable to be developed in the classroom.  Through "going out," students connect with their community and broaden their personal and cultural understanding.  Upper Elementary students take a number of field trips related to curricular studies each year. 


Middle School - 6th, 7th and 8th Grade

The FHM Middle School is a progressive, holistic program founded upon a developmental response to the needs and abilities of the whole adolescent (physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and spiritual).  The curriculum, which is thorough, challenging, diverse, and integrated, fosters student growth in all areas and prepares them for the challenges they will face as leaders of tomorrow's world.  Education at this level continues the Montessori tradition of fully engaging, experiential learning with an emphasis on leadership development, personal responsibility, and rigorous preparation with 21st Century skills.  Whether in the classroom or out in the world in any number of internships and off-campus trips, students immerse themselves in meaningful, relevant real-life learning and graduate with the skills to flourish in a variety of high school, college, and professional arenas.

Extended Learning Opportunities

Dr. Montessori believed children gain knowledge through experiences in the real world that are unable to be developed in the classroom.  Through "going out," students connect with their community and broaden their personal and cultural understanding.  Middle School students take an average of one monthly field trips related to curricular studies in addition to a monthly excursion focused on community service. Our 6th grade students also participate in Outdoor Education Week, a week-long resident camp experience where students engage in a variety of activities designed to enhance scientific studies. All of our Middle School students take two curricular-related overnight trips annually.

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