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Elementary:learn to penser

The Montessori elementary program offers the child a unique opportunity to grow in this new period of life. The imaginative, social and creative child needs an environment that provides appropriate freedom and boundaries, with an extensive curriculum to support their curiosity and prepare them for the challenges of the future.

Characteristics of the child 6 to 12 years old

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Reason and Imagination

“The imaginationnotis the eye that allows the child to see into the past and into the future." - Maria Montessori

Children aged 6 to 12 no longer just want to know "What is it?" They now need to know "why" and "how", and how it all fits together. They are able to use both reason and imagination to explore abstractions beyond the concrete, here and now.

 

Explore the Company

Children ages three to six learn about themselves and the world through their “absorbent minds.” Children aged six to twelve continue this exploration of the individual, but in relation to society as a whole. The child may think: "I want to understand what I don't see, to be part of the world that I haven't known." Primary school children are very sociable and interested in issues such as cooperation, fairness and decision-making.

 
Need to belong 

Elementary school children rarely work alone. This is the age of groups and clubs – what Montessori calls “the herd instinct.” Children want to do what everyone else is doing. They explore friendships as well as the rules of society. Group lessons with corollary work and discussions are important parts of the learning process. By collaborating on projects, children learn to identify and share their particular strengths and skills. Through activities that build group cohesion and resolve conflict, children learn skills and tools that encourage the art of cooperation for peacemaking.

Explore good and evil

Elementary school children question and love making rules. Even though they don't always follow the rules themselves, they constantly observe them to make sure everyone else is following them. Teachers help the child determine how to act in different situations, learn the basic rules of courtesy, and understand what is considered right and wrong by society.

Discipline and Problem Solving

Our approach to discipline is to help children learn that they are responsible for their actions and that these have natural consequences. Whether the problem involves two people or the whole class, teachers help children learn to solve problems on their own.

Curriculum

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Structure

Maria Montessori called the Primary curriculum Cosmic Education because its goal is to expose the child to the whole range of human knowledge in an integrated approach to learning set into the largest context possible.

The context for the elementary curriculum is established in an overview of the history of the universe. As they study ancient civilizations the children discover that all aspects of knowledge including mathematics, language, history, botany, geography, music and art developed the basic human needs. This understanding fosters a love for learning and eagerness to take their place as contributing members of the community.

Thrilled

During the period from six to nine years most lessons are primarily presented through the use of Montessori materials and exercises.

The transition to more abstract thinking and the reliance on books and other research materials begins at this level and continues through the older Primary years. The teacher and student go over lessons and assignments together. Our goal is to help students assess their own learning. Parent teacher interviews are held regularly throughout the year.

Mathematics

Mathematics is taught as a process of understanding through visualized abstractions. This is the essential reason for the use of didactic apparatus, as the children spontaneously understand the process. A child might say, ‘I can do the checkerboard without the checkerboard’ – meaning that he or she can multiply abstractly without the dependence on the materials. During the Primary years the children concentrate on basic operation, the decimal system, fractions and geometry through the use of hands on, manipulative materials. Some concepts of algebra, such as squaring and cubing are also explored.

Language Arts

Language arts emphasize spelling, grammar, and sentence analysis. Reading skills acquired at the three to six level are continually enhanced through direct applications in the classroom such as literature, poetry and book discussion groups.

Earth Systems Science

Earth systems science (geography, earth science, ecology and economics) is an integrated approach to studying humanity’s relationship to the natural world. 

Gardening

Gardening and caring for life is an essential experience. Montessori says, “Solicitous care for living things affords satisfaction to one of the liveliest instincts of the (young person’s) mind. Nothing is better calculated than this to awaken an attitude of foresight.” Permaculture extends the practice of gardening to an all encompassing context for integrating human living practices. It is an illustration of cosmic education.

Research Skills and Critical Thinking

Are introduced to enable independent and group study. In this process, the library, computer and other reference materials become an important resource.

Children are encouraged to go beyond the limits of the classroom to seek answers to their questions from resources in the community including libraries, museums and knowledgeable experts. Research results may be communicated through written reports, poetry, artwork, demonstrations and dramatizations.

During the Primary years the children begin to take responsibility for organizing and monitoring their own time. Formal lessons plant the seeds for group research projects and, especially for the older Primary years, teachers help children organize their studies within a time framework. Work diaries and other techniques are introduced to develop responsibility. These experiences become the foundation for self motivated and disciplined study.

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