St. Stephen’s Episcopal School – Houston (St. Stephen’s or School) embraces a continuum of education, where each developmental stage of the student is nurtured. Students ages 15 months through 6th grade are guided through the Montessori philosophy and pedagogy, as accredited by the American Montessori Society. The Middle Years program (7th and 8th grade) augments accelerated learning in core academic subjects with dynamic electives, linking all subject learning to conceptual themes.

The Montessori principles and methods, which sit at the very heart of the school’s educational philosophy, align seamlessly to the advantages a child will enjoy when exposed to an interconnected and balanced curriculum. Subject specialisms in the arts, the sciences, wellness and athletics, engineering, languages, mathematics, and literature are celebrated in our school and with our students. As our students progress, we deliver authentic project-based learning experiences in which academic excellence, collaboration, and community impact are at the forefront. 

Founded on Dr. Montessori’s Planes of Development, our multi-age levels are as follows. 

  • Orientation: 15 months – 3 years
  • Primary: 3 – 6 years
  • Lower Elementary: 1st – 3rd grade
  • Upper Elementary: 4th – 6th grade
  • Middle Years: 7th and 8th grade

Orientation: 15 months – 3 years

Our Orientation program celebrates the child and their first steps into the classroom, where the indoor and outdoor environments are prepared to facilitate child-centered learning and develop intrinsic motivation. Here, the child will learn the three-finger grasp for writing, one-to-one correspondence for math, skills in relationship building, and a sense of wonder and curiosity that will guide the child’s educational journey at St. Stephen’s and beyond. Three-year-olds move to Primary, having experienced their first opportunities to lead by example in the classroom. 

Mentored by caring teachers and teacher assistants, children will explore:

  • Art, 
  • Language Arts,
  • Math, 
  • Music, 
  • Physical Movement and Wellness,
  • Practical Life Skills, and 
  • Sensorial Lessons. 

Primary: 3 – 6 years

In our Primary program, learning becomes intentionally curricular, supporting the development of reasoning and perception. Experienced teachers gently employ the Montessori and Socratic teaching methods to instill responsibility for student-centered learning and inquiry. Working independently or with a friend, students arrive at a clear understanding of abstract concepts through the use of carefully planned, progressive, manipulative materials. Older students take on leadership roles, helping the teacher and modeling lessons for younger students. Kindergarteners graduate from the Primary program as empowered learners and responsible classroom citizens.  

The academic program in Primary is diverse, including lessons in:

  • Culture, 
  • Geography, 
  • Language Arts (reading, writing),
  • Math (addition, subtraction, skip-counting),
  • Music, 
  • PE, 
  • Practical Life, 
  • Science, 
  • Sensorial Exploration, 
  • Spanish, and 
  • Visual Arts.

Lower Elementary: 1st – 3rd grade

In Lower Elementary, students create and execute their own work plans in collaboration with their Montessori-trained teachers. The Lower Elementary student gains competency and confidence in math, language arts, science, history, and geography. Broad concepts are first explored, and then specific details are examined in depth. Students are introduced to the process of research and frequently work in small groups to discover additional information. Engaged in project-based learning, students learn how to delve deeper, work together, and take turns in leadership roles. Through daily class meetings focused on issues of general concern and centered on kindness and respect, Lower Elementary students engage in the governance of their small community. 

Lower Elementary curriculum includes:

  • Culture, 
  • Geography, 
  • History, 
  • Language Arts (reading comprehension, writing, grammar), 
  • Math (addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, geometry), 
  • Music, 
  • PE, 
  • Science, 
  • Spanish, 
  • STEM in the da Vinci Lab, and 
  • Visual Arts. 

A message from the teachers:

We take joy in practicing the Montessori Method. Our class of Lower Elementary students serves children 6-9 years old. We are a multi-aged class, at a variety of levels academically, socially/emotionally, and spiritually. We believe in educating the whole child to the fullest of their potential. We celebrate individual strengths and actively work on challenges. The process of learning is in our minds daily as we seek to guide our children in education and life. We trust the child to take increasing responsibility and leadership in our classroom and our community. We follow each child, by carefully observing the child each day in our prepared learning environment. We invite children to lessons throughout the day both individually and in groups; simultaneously children are initiating and accomplishing work on their own and in groups. We encourage children to talk about their work, work cooperatively, and communicate effectively with grace and courtesy. We empower the child to develop their inner guides in learning. We hold deep conversations with children to help them become self-aware, develop their whole person, persevere, problem solve, and acknowledge both successes and gifts. We are preparing the child by teaching them to build a strong work ethic, to develop balance, and to achieve quality in their work. We believe reflection on our work is vital to self-awareness and leads to development of planning ahead, setting individual goals, and developing intrinsic awareness of growth. We encourage children to try new things and to develop their personal interests. We work to create an environment that promotes communication and peace, so that all children may enjoy learning each day.

Upper Elementary: 4th – 6th grade

In Upper Elementary, increased emphasis is placed on self-management. Students are given weeklong assignments and are responsible for planning and organizing their work and their time. Organizational skills are embedded in the language arts curriculum, including note-taking, outlining, crafting citations, writing reports, creating exhibits, and public speaking. Empowered to “read to learn,” students explore the interconnectedness and real-world applications of academic subjects. Having progressed from using concrete manipulative material to working in the abstract, Upper Elementary students utilize higher-level thinking skills, including analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Sixth graders are invited to participate in leadership beyond the classroom through the St. Stephen’s Student Council. 

Academic exploration in Upper Elementary includes:

  • Culture, 
  • Geography, 
  • History, 
  • Language Arts (reading and writing workshops, literature, grammar), 
  • Math (geometry to pre-algebra), 
  • Music, 
  • PE, 
  • Science, 
  • Spanish, 
  • STEM in the da Vinci Lab, and 
  • Visual Arts. 

Middle Years: 7th and 8th grade

In Middle Years, students learn from an elevated curriculum that sparks creativity and curiosity and inspires them to reach their academic potential. Eighth graders complete their journey at St. Stephen’s in honors courses in algebra, integrated physics and chemistry, and Spanish. With a focus on language arts across academic disciplines, St. Stephen’s students become experts in argument and composition, honing their critical thinking and analytical skills. Cross-curricular instruction continues in visual and performing arts electives as well as applied STEM in the da Vinci Lab. Middle Years students are inspired to take action and positively impact their school and the greater community as organizers, advocates, and volunteers. 

Advanced courses in 7th grade include: 

  • English,
  • Health,
  • Life Science,
  • PE,
  • Pre-Algebra, 
  • Spanish,
  • STEM in the da Vinci Lab, 
  • United States History, and
  • Electives: Choir, Film, Theatre, Visual Arts.

Advanced courses in 8th grade include: 

  • Algebra,
  • English,
  • Integrated Physics & Chemistry,
  • PE,
  • Spanish,
  • STEM in the da Vinci Lab, 
  • World Geography,
  • World Religions, and
  • Electives: Choir, Film, Theatre, Visual Arts.

Vibrant Specialist Classes

Specialist classes supplement the Montessori and IMYC curriculum. The Fine Arts Program is fully integrated with the core curriculum; our students enjoy creative outlets to express their learning in history, math, literature, and science. Through music, film, theatre, and visual arts, including photography, St. Stephen’s students give life and form to their creative ideas and share their talents in showcases, exhibitions, performances, and other special events. 

Our Spanish Program begins in Orientation with an informal introduction to the language, guided by bilingual teachers and assistant teachers. The Spanish curriculum begins in Primary and builds a strong foundation of Spanish language and culture. Spanish classes include puppets, props, storytelling, pictures, movement, songs, poems, fables, and rhymes. The Spanish curriculum emphasizes listening and comprehension in Primary and incorporates more speaking in Lower Elementary. The Upper Elementary and Middle Years curriculum balances listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This comprehensive curriculum is designed to prepare students to take the Spanish National Exam, be high school ready, and be well-rounded global citizens.

Project-based learning, innovation, and STEM combine in the da Vinci Lab for Creative Arts & Sciences, a program and a place for students in Lower Elementary through Middle Years. Supplementing the math and science pedagogy at St. Stephen’s, the da Vinci curriculum focuses on technology and its practical applications. Students learn touch typing, Internet safety, and computing skills, including coding, 3D design, and electronics design. Capstone projects include invention fairs, innovation projects, and e-fox hunts.

St. Stephen’s Athletics and Wellness Program encourages integrity and fair play. To this end, no emphasis is placed on scores or winning or losing, but rather on the experience of spirited competition and the development of healthy minds and bodies. St. Stephen’s students participate in PE and wellness classes as a component of the curriculum and may participate after school in team sports, yoga, dance, and more.

Orientation: 15 months – 3 years

Primary: 3 – 6 years

Lower Elementary: 1st – 3rd grade

Upper Elementary: 4th – 6th grade

Middle Years: 7th and 8th grade

Middle Years: 7th and 8th grade students