Elementary Classroom Grades: First Grade-Eighth Grade
What sets Montessori apart in the Elementary years, ages 6-12, is the individually paced curriculum that challenges children academically and safeguards their well-being and sense of self. Engaging as contributing members of a respectful community, they learn to question, think critically, and take responsibility for their own learning-skills that will support them in later education and in life.
As at all Montessori levels, the elementary program is based on the belief that children learn best through movement and work with their hands and provides cognitive, social, and emotional support to help them reach their full potential.
Elementary children have an immense appetite for knowledge; they begin to think abstractly and they have remarkable powers of imagination. The philosophy that underlines the Montessori elementary program, known as Cosmic Education, is designed to help individuals search for their place in the universe and to recognize their relationship to other living things. The Great Lessons include the story of how the world came to be, the development of mathematics. They are intended to give children a “cosmic” perspective of the Earth and humanity’s (and their own) place within the cosmos.
Elementary students are encouraged to explore topics that capture their imagination. Former Montessori students look back on this aspect of the elementary program with particular fondness in later years.
Montessori is a library research-based curriculum. Elementary Montessori students rarely use textbooks. The approach is largely based on library research,with students gathering information,assembling reports, teaching what they have learned to their classmates, and assembling portfolios and handmade books of their own.
Students experience abstract concepts through concrete experiences and hands-on learning materials. Critical thinking skills are enhanced as students ‘’discover’’ and articulate these concepts for themselves. Ours is an integrated and academically challenging program that meets the child’s changing developmental needs from year to year.
Montessori children never lose the joy of learning!
Montessori is first and foremost concerned with a child’s character and emotional development,rather than academics for grades and test scores alone. We are inspiring children toward academic excellence and nurture the curiosity, creativity, and imagination hidden within every human being.
Sometimes parents worry that Montessori will not prepare their children for the “real world.”
Hearing that we do not offer letter grades but we do assign weekly productive homework to provide additional practise. Testing is presented as necessary to enhance the challenging curriculum to promote practise.
This new developmental period is characterized by;
In a Montessori Elementary classroom, students work individually or in small groups at tables or on mats on the floor. Natural lighting, soft colors, and uncluttered spaces set the stage for activity that is focused and calm. Learning materials are arranged on accessible shelves according to curricular areas, fostering independence as students go about their work. Everything is where it is supposed to be, conveying a sense of harmony and order that both comforts and inspires.
Children who are new to Montessori quickly feel at home with the inspired teaching that appeals to their deepest interests,and with the distinctive, hands-on learning materials that teachers introduce sequentially according to the students’ developmental needs. This multi-age classroom, older students serve as tutors and role models for the younger ones,which helps them in their own mastery (we learn things best of all when we teach them to someone else) and leaves them with a tremendous pride.
The best elementary Montessori teachers tend to be renaissance educators; individuals who are equally interested in mathematics, the sciences, the arts, architecture, literature, poetry, psychology, economics, technology, and philosophy. They provide a blend of structure to ensure that the “basics’’ are mastered while encouraging and guiding the students as they explore topics and ideas that capture their imagination.
The elementary Montessori curriculum is very demanding and requires teachers to have a broad and thorough education of their own. Elementary Montessori educators need patience, understanding, respect, enthusiasm, and a profound ability to inspire a sense of wonder and imagination.
The classroom is a happy community. Students are focused. They take joy in their work. They invent, explore, experiment, create, prepare lessons, and curl up with books; sometimes they might even reflect in a peaceful, meditative space. Meanwhile, teachers circulate throughout the room, presenting lessons,observing the students and making notes about their progress,ever ready to offer support or introduce new material, as appropriate. Expectations are both exquisitely clear and engaging open-ended.
What Your Child Will Learn
Teachers guide children through a rigorous curriculum individually tailored to their own interests, needs, and abilities. Teachers monitor progress against established benchmarks and expectations for student learning, including:academic preparedness, independence, confidence, intrinsic motivation,social responsibility, and global citizenship.