The Montessori elementary program builds upon the valuable skills developed in the primary program. A new stage of development begins in which children learn to reason for themselves and move from concrete to more abstract processes. No longer does the child rely solely on their senses to experience their environment. They are developing their own sense of fairness and what is right or wrong. Students become incredibly imaginative and their innate curiosity about their world forms the basis for their studies in the classroom.
Cosmic Education – Cosmic Education forms the basis of the Montessori elementary curriculum. It is grounded in the view that the universe is a system within which humans have a place. There is a grand, universal scheme. The students explore the world from its creation through modern day.
Great Lessons – Much knowledge in the elementary classroom is shared through narratives known as the Great Lessons. Beginning with a creation story, students then learn about the development of life on earth and how that life evolved into the advanced society of today. Stories are told of the development of language and numbers. The child’s curiosity is peeked and further study and exploration naturally follows.
Mathematics – Students begin to move beyond the use of concrete materials at the elementary level to work at a more symbolic level. While they may need only pencil and paper to perform some tasks, new concepts are introduced with new materials. The multiplication checkerboard and the long division racks and tubes become favorite materials, enabling early learners to work with numbers well into the millions. The children are enticed into repeated practice with these large numbers. Geometry moves beyond recognizing shapes to constructing shapes and providing definitions for given figures.
Language – Elementary Montessori students write daily, whether it is free writing in a journal or expository writing on a self-selected topic. The child’s desire to write is further nourished by the absence of a constant focus on perfect grammar and spelling. These fundamental skills are taught in specific lessons, but students are encouraged to use invented spelling when necessary to get their ideas down on paper. A systematic study of spelling rules, vocabulary and grammar takes place simultaneously, and the growth in the students’ abilities becomes apparent through their writing. Reading is also done on a daily basis, either silently or to a friend or teacher. High quality literature surrounds the students and becomes a model for their own writing. It also allows the students to participate in discussion groups and builds skills to be applied when researching topics of interest.
Cultural Studies – Various cultures are studied yearly as part of the integrated Montessori curriculum. Throughout the three year classroom cycles, each of the seven continents and cultures will have been studied in depth. Art, music, dance and cooking will be included as well as literature from the chosen regions. Science is integrated as the children research the animals and environment of the countries being studied. The overall message of the research is based in the Fundamental Needs of Humans identified by Dr. Montessori. Through this work, children see the interconnectedness of all human beings in that we all have the same basic needs. They then learn to celebrate and appreciate the various ways in which these needs can be met.
Going out – Elementary Montessori students learn to make use of the resources beyond the four walls of the classroom. They identify community resources that can assist in their studies and help the teacher make arrangements so that these resources can be utilized. At least once each week elementary students will go out into the community to see not only what it can offer to them, but also what they can do for their community.
Practical Life – Practical life at the elementary level goes well beyond learning to tie a shoe or button a coat. The elementary students focus on being contributing members to their school community. In addition to regular work caring for their environment, they may also plant a garden, prepare snack and engage in service learning activities. They will write articles for the school newsletter and assist in planning school field trips.
Snack and rest - In our environment, we firmly believe that it is the children who know when they are hungry or need a break. These needs are not met according to the teacher’s schedule. For this reason, students have access all day to our Peace Corner if they need to rest. The snack table is available for two students at a time for the duration of the morning and afternoon work periods.