The Elementary Montessori approach should not be seen as a simple continuation of the Primary program. While the curriculum launches from the concepts and materials with which the Primary child is familiar, it also considers that the Elementary-aged child is entering a new stage of mental, physical, and emotional development. The behaviors and expectations of our older students are very different from those of the Primary children, and the Elementary curriculum is carefully designed to meet these new demands.
Thanks to the work done in the Primary environment, the Elementary-aged children’s imagination, curiosity and hunger for knowledge are at their peak. They don’t just want to know “what” something is, but “why” it is. Fortunately, their mental development allows them to accurately imagine what they can’t see with their eyes, and to reach conclusions based on related experiences. In a Montessori environment, these developmental traits are stimulated through the use of concrete didactic materials, charts and graphs, storytelling, visits to museums, interviews with experts, books and other resources.
Lessons are presented to small groups in the Elementary classroom, and the children are encouraged to work with each other collaboratively, sharing their collective knowledge and skills. The Elementary work helps our students develop critical thinking skills through the use of reason. The materials are scientifically designed to satisfy the changing curiosities of children in this new stage of cognitive growth.
Consider that in our world, there is history to be found in math, literature in science, and geometry in geography. All subjects of human knowledge are interrelated, so in the classroom we present them in this way so that the children can truly understand them. These associations give children a framework for understanding how the world works and where they stand in relation to the Universe.
Language materials in the elementary classroom provide an opportunity for children to study grammar of the English language through written expression and creative dramatics. Functions of words (“parts of speech”) and sentence analysis are introduced, along with word study, to provide further opportunities to develop total reading.
Mathematics is introduced to children through concrete learning materials that provide a solid foundation for understanding basic mathematical principles. These materials allow the children to reach abstractions in arithmetic, geometry and algebra.
Geometry begins at a young age when a child first becomes familiar with shapes and solids. Through exploration with materials, the child is introduced to further concepts such as lines, angles, polygons and the study of area and volume.
History is viewed the study of how people around the world, from the very beginning, have answered the needs that all humans share (shelter, food, clothing, defense, and spiritual needs). The children include themselves in this history and develop a natural reverence and respect for all cultures.
Sciences are experienced through the child’s imagination! Great stories are told that encourage and inspire further exploration (and experiments) into botany, zoology, and physical geography.
Art is explored in relationship to history and geometry. Additionally, art materials are always available for the children to use, as artistic expression is integral to development.
Music education is widely available in a Montessori environment by incorporating singing, rhythm, instruments from around the world, and music history.