Elementary (Kindergarten Through 6th Grade)

A free, public charter school, Bright Water Elementary is an urban-based Montessori program designed to inspire students to be passionate, life-long learners. We are an intentionally diverse community of children and caring adults. The elementary Montessori program is a holistic approach to help children develop intellectually, physically, and socially into respectful, caring, and engaged young people. Each elementary classroom has about 27 students, one Montessori-trained teacher, and one to two assistants. All Montessori classrooms include a three-year age range, ensuring that teachers get to know children's unique learning styles and that children become strong, confident leaders. Our Elementary school includes these environments:

  • Kindergartners are a part of the Children's House, where they are the oldest children (and have lots of leadership opportunities). Click here for more information.

  • Children in grades 1 to 3 are together in a lower elementary classroom. Our lower elementary classrooms are named Trout Creek and Eagle's Nest.

  • Children in grades 4 to 6 are together in an upper elementary classroom. Our upper elementary classrooms are called Gray Wolves and Black Bears.

Our work with the children centers on children's desires to become independent learners and contributing members of their classroom community. We provide a rich curriculum and hands-on materials in the areas of language, mathematics, geometry, geography, biology, zoology, history, art, and music. Children have ample opportunity to develop their social connections and problem solving skills as they work in collaborative groups.


A typical day in lower and upper elementary classrooms includes:


  • Arrival: The children arrive between 8:45 and 9:00 am (or can arrive as early as 7:15 am for our before-school program).

  • Morning work: Children make a to-do list for the day of the work they plan to accomplish. They have an uninterrupted morning of hands-on activities in language, mathematics, geometry, geography, science, history, art, and music. Throughout the morning, small groups of children are invited to lessons with the teacher. During work time, children choose where they work and with whom they work (as long as they are respectful and productive).

  • Snack: Children help prepare morning snack for their classmates and have their snack two children at a time throughout the morning.

  • Recess: They go outside for 30 minutes of outdoor play.

  • Lunch: We provide a healthy hot lunch in the lunch area.

  • Afternoon work: Children continue their lessons and hands-on activities until 4:00, when our regular school day ends.