The Digitally Prepared Environment

Music and Tech collide in a cacophony of digital sound.


It’s the 21st century and cell phones, laptops and iPods ensure we are more connected than we’ve ever been. Studies show that children are more wired than ever – and not always to their benefit. So why include Technology as part of the MSR curriculum?

From its humble beginnings three years ago, MSR’s Technology program has sought to bridge the gap between the Montessori prepared environment and the digital world. Productive, purposeful lessons help students find a level of computer literacy while also firing their imagination with creative sparks. Beginning in their third year of Lower Elementary, students meet on a weekly basis for lessons with Technology teacher and Librarian Jay Cullis. At the Middle School, students meet every other day with David Hughens for Technology lessons.

At the LE level, students begin exploring how machines and technology help them get through their everyday life (What would your day be like without a microwave? A clock? A computer?). They develop their word processing skills and express themselves artistically through digital arts and photography, and they develop logical thinking through simple computer programming.

Middle School students use technology as a communication tool.

At the UE level, lessons spring from the classroom curriculum and are more fully integrated into the students’ work. Classroom blogs help students connect with the digital world and express themselves while developing sound writing and communication skills. Working with Mr. Cullis, students use computers and software to create presentations, animations, music and video to complement their class work.

At the Middle School level, the integration with the classroom curriculum culminates in a collaborative environment that teaches students to use technology as a tool for communication. We have discussions on the safest way to navigate today’s technology-filled world. Students collaborate to develop, design and present their ideas.

Mr. Cullis helps an LE student with a tech project.

MSR’s Technology program isn’t just about computers and machines, though. Working in the MSR Library, students in the LE and UE levels learn how to navigate an encyclopedia, how to use indexes, and how to take notes. They learn about the perils of Wikipedia and where to find good information online for their research. Every day they know they can find a good book on the shelves or a recommendation from their librarian.