Below is a summary of the Whole Idea, Early Childhood (3-6), Elementary I (6-9), Elementary II (9-12), Middle School (12-14), Art, Music, Library and Physical Education/Health. Scroll down for each area:


The Montessori curriculum inspires students to become independent learners who appreciate and understand the world around them. Lessons (presentations) are given individually, in small groups, and to the whole class. Studies are introduced concretely in the Early Childhood and Elementary I classrooms and are represented several times over the years at increasing levels of abstraction and complexity. Students engage in collaborative and independent work that integrates all curricular areas. The teacher's role is to guide the students and to provide them with tools that are necessary to become lifelong learners, critical thinkers, problem solvers, and active members of our global society. In the upper grades, more emphasis is placed on cooperative and project-based learning along with a focus on research.

All classrooms are carefully prepared and furnished with manipulative learning materials designed by Maria Montessori to promote a multi-sensory learning experience. Materials are sequential and allow students to move at their own pace from the concrete to the abstract. Classrooms are designed to allow for a great deal of movement and have work areas throughout the space. Materials are openly displayed and available on accessible shelving. Our Montessori classrooms empower the students to become active participants in their learning.

Each of our Montessori classrooms is multiage, an important characteristic of Montessori education. The students remain with their classroom teacher for three consecutive years. This allows for the teacher to bond with the students and families in addition to allowing the teacher to know the needs, learning styles, and interests of their students. Learning is not interrupted at the beginning of each academic year. Within the three year cycle teachers are able to better support their students socially, emotionally, and academically.

The three year cycle also allows for a true community to develop within each and every classroom. Only one third of the students are new to the room each year. The remaining two thirds of the students are able to bring new students into the calm, friendly, and safe learning environment. Mixed age levels allow students opportunities to receive reinforcement of skills and to move ahead and challenge themselves by working with older students, presenting to younger students and peers, and taking on leadership roles both socially and in their areas of academic interest and expertise. Students witness the spiraling curriculum in action. The older students take on responsibility and act as role models.

As a public Montessori school, Drummond is accountable for addressing the Common Core State Standards. To read more about how Montessori addresses the Common Core State Standards please visit Seton Montessori’s Public Policy Advocacy Page.

Our teachers utilize a leveled library for guided reading instruction and literature circles, part of our whole language approach to literacy instruction.

Early Childhood (ages 3-6, 2 years of pre-K and Kindergarten)

As the child’s first experience of school, the Early Childhood team works diligently to create partnerships and establish life-long bonds with families. As their first “home away from home”, it is critical that our students feel comfortable, safe and nutured in their classrooms.

Our program focuses on the Montessori Method of education. This method is unique in that it combines educational theory with psychology and philosophy. The educational methods and materials devised by Dr. Maria Montessori are based on her scientific observations and study of children.

The basic principle of the Montessori philosophy is that children carry within themselves the qualities of the person they can become. In order to develop their physical, intellectual, and spiritual powers to the fullest, the children must have freedom—a freedom that is achieved through order and self-discipline.

Dr. Montessori recognized that the most valid impulse in learning is the self-motivation of the child; children move themselves toward learning and are self-aware of their accomplishments. The teacher prepares the environment, directs the activity, functions as the authority, and offers the work according to the readiness of each child.

Elementary I (ages 6-9, 1st-3rd grades)

Liberty, Freedom, and Choice

"It is clear therefore that the discipline which reveals itself in the Montessori class is something which comes more from within than without. But this self-discipline has not come into existence in a day, or a week, or even a month. It is the result of a long inner growth, an achievement won through months of training." Maria Montessori

When a child comes into the world they are completely cared for by adults. They have no freedom or responsibility. The goal for each child is to grow into a mature, independent adult. How does each person go from one point to the other? The key is to increase their liberty/freedom gradually over time. A six-year-old can be responsible for himself; a ten-year-old can be responsible for himself and those around him. The important thing is that the ten-year-old was given some freedom as a six-year-old, seven-year-old, eight-year-old, etc. so that by the time he or she is ten, he or she can independently make good choices.

Elementary II (ages 9-12, 4th-6th grades)

We are a Montessori school which means that we place great importance on the often contradictory ideas of freedom, choice, discipline and responsibility. For the 9 to 12 year old child, there is a balance of these ideas as the child demonstrates self-discipline, accountability and responsibility.

For a child to gain benefits from the Montessori classroom, s/he must be engaged in productive work. The Montessori environment is prepared and structured to provide a stimulating, safe, and nurturing environment. In addition to the academic experience, the unique environment allows children to learn important life skills such as time management, self-regulation, and responsible choice. In the Montessori classroom every learning style is embraced. This is why there are many presentations on the same concept. This, in turn, gives every child an opportunity to grasp the key lessons addressing his or her learning style.

Middle School (ages 12-14, 7th-8th grades)

“This world, marvelous in its power, needs a ‘new man.’ It is therefore the life of man and his values that must be considered. If ‘the formation of man’ becomes the basis of education, then the coordination of all schools from infancy to maturity, from nursery to university, arises as a first necessity.”

-Maria Montessori

Drummond’s Middle School encompasses all the academic subjects needed for our students to become well rounded, active members in society and to successfully transition into their high school careers and beyond. When students leave our school as rising ninth graders they are prepared for both the academic challenges that lie ahead and the many challenges that the outside world will present to them.

Montessori placed Middle School students on the third plane of development. They are developing an identity of themselves outside of their family and immediate friends. It is a time of dissonance as they seek a place in the world. Your adolescent student will continue to build upon their sense of justice and fairness and will be drawn to work on causes with high ideals. Adolescent development hinges upon being given freedoms with responsibility and respect.

Our teachers will act both as expert instructors in their fields of expertise but also as guides for our students. They will help all the students to seek out challenges and tasks which spark their curiosity and ignite a passion for learning. Drummond’s staff will facilitate those projects students select which require actions and planning in the outside world.

Projects are chosen by the students because they believe they can make a positive difference in the world. We strive to connect our students with nature in order to help them develop a sense of responsibility and stewardship towards natural resources.

The Montessori Middle School remains a multi-age setting for our students. A pillar of the Montessori philosophy multi-age classrooms encourage collaborative learning and facilitate students working at their own levels. Multi-age classrooms also allow for groups to be exceedingly flexible. Groupings differ depending upon student interest, subject matter, and/or student need. The stability offered within our multi-age classrooms helps children develop a strong sense of community and supports social development.

Drummond’s Montessori Middle School curriculum is departmentalized, offering a bridge to the high school world. We have a strong humanities focus with four theme based units taught each year on a two year rotation. Themes focus on Social Justice and Conflict. Great literature is used to teach historical events as well as cultural literacy. Language arts lessons and writing assignments grow out of these historical and political explorations. The United States and Illinois Constitution are studied every other year. This focus on American History and government coincides with the Middle School trip to Washington, D.C.

Rigorous programs for math and science are included in the daily schedule of academic instruction. The Common Core Standards guide lesson planning and teachers assess student mastery through projects, papers, tests, and quizzes.


Drummond Art Teacher's Studio Puts Kids in Center of Expressive Universe By Alisa Hauser | Updated on March 24, 2014 from DNAinfo.com

Wendy Rejman, Drummond Montessori BUCKTOWN — Energy and urgency crackle through an arts classroom where — with just 40 seconds to present their "studio work" — a group of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders are just as eager to share their art as they are to get feedback from their teacher and peers. Wendy Rejman, the visual arts instructor at Drummond Montessori Magnet School, assigns one artist to be the timekeeper, another to ring a bell if she "sees someone not respecting," and a third to snap photos of the artwork to eventually put on the school's Tumblr page. Student Joaquin Barrett used clay to make "a fudge pot," which he said was inspired by a trip to Margie's Candies, a local candy shop and ice cream parlor."I messed up the clay, but then I fixed it again," Joaquin said. Another student, Yamile Padilla, 11, proudly displayed a landscape piece called "Color Change." "I'm always thinking, 'Why can't the sun be blue or the water red?'" Yamile said. Rejman told Yamile that she had a unique idea to "turn everything around" and adds that it was a diversion since Yamile is "usually very literal." Rejman is familiar with Yamile's artistic style, not just from this school year, but the previous six years, since Yamile and several of the 24 students in Rejman's classroom have been taking the "SmArt Studio" arts class once each week at Drummond, a Chicago Public Schools magnet school at 1845 W. Cortland St. in Bucktown. In the studio-based class, students conceive their own project, choose the tools or material/medium and see it through to the end, usually over a three-week session before starting a new project. After the class, Rejman said she is "not really worried about the product" and wants her students "to value and understand the artistic process," which she bases around studio habits of developing craft, expression, observation, envisioning and "engage and persist," a habit the young artists said they use often. Rejman structures her students' lessons around the Teaching for Artistic Behavior method, which regards students as artists and encourages them to see the classroom as their studio. While the teaching method gives young artists freedom of expression, it does not provide them freedom to run amok in the classroom, which is highly structured under Rejman's careful watch, often from the vantage point of sitting on the floor in a circle or next to a child at a table. "I resist using the word teacher and consider myself to be more of a guider," said the 45-year-old instructor, who began her CPS career teaching at Walter Gresham Elementary School in 1993 before joining Drummond in 1996. In 2004, Drummond became CPS' first public Montessori school.Montessori education is centered on the child and rather unique for CPS, where Drummond is one of just four Montessori schools in the Chicago Public Schools system and the first to offer a "whole school" Montessori program for grades K-8,according to the CPS Office of Access and Enrollment. Rejman, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a National Board Certified teacher, said she has "never considered teaching anything else but art." "I get to watch children learn, grow, be creative and share themselves," Rejman said. Yamile, who has been a student of Rejman's for six years, said what she likes best is that Rejman "gives you a chance to mess up. She helps you and takes time to help." Jennifer James, a parent of two Drummond students, said she has sat in on some of Rejman's studio classes. "It's amazing the little kids can talk about what they are making and why they are making it," she said. James credits Rejman for helping her children to "learn how to begin something and see it through the end." "Sometimes they like their work at the end, and sometimes they don't. It sounds pie in the sky, but it has had an incredible resonance in their life, just engaging and persisting without being afraid from beginning to end," James said. Though some parents have expressed fears that further budget cuts in CPS, which have already forced Drummond to lay off a Spanish teacher, could eventually affect Rejman's program, James said she is hoping that CPS can learn from Rejman's classroom. "Drummond at its best is incredibly peaceful and very deep. There is no short answer to anything; the art room powers our community values and also reflects them. [Rejman's] art studio has a quiet power to it that I value as a parent, and I am grateful for that opportunity for my children." Rejman said she considers her teaching mantra to be "be present and give selflessly" and at the end of the day, help children build their self-worth and esteem and learn how to reflect and to observe through art, which Rejman said "is so important for critical thinking. "And on a superficial level, kids like art," she added.


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Physical Education/Health

Thomas Drummond Physical Education and Health program is a product of the Enhanced P.E. Task Force, which was adopted by Drummond in the Fall of 2014. Enhanced Physical Education (P.E.) is defined as a curriculum that focuses more on following each child to engage, participate and spend more time in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in P.E. class. Drummond incorporated MVPA within its Health curriculum as well by using a curriculum that focuses on a lot of hands on learning.

Enhanced P.E. not only correlates directly to the lifelong health and well-being of the students but also has cognitive benefits too, making students more receptive to learning.

Our quality P.E. program focuses on lessons with activities that help students develop the skills needed for life-long physical activity. We also incorporate into each lesson teambuilding and cooperative learning (led by our innovative students). Fitness, individual, and team sports are incorporated within the curriculum. Our program is designed to promote physical activity, healthy food choices and health promotion to prevent childhood obesity. Creating healthy habits leads to lasting behavior changes!