Empowering collaborative problem-solvers. Exploring big ideas.
AGES 6 years to 12 years
Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him[her] learn things,
but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him[her] that
light which is called intelligence.
The elementary program offers a continuum built on the Primary experience. The environment reflects the needs of children in the Second Plane of development and offers what Dr. Montessori refers to as Cosmic Education, which is the tool designed to meet these needs. The objective of Cosmic Education is to spread humanity’s knowledge before the child and the method provides the whole first with the parts, or details following thereafter. Cosmic Education helps the child learn how they fit within the universe by finding answers to big questions, such as “How do I relate to living and nonliving things?” At this level, the Montessori philosophy, methods, and lessons are designed to show the child their responsibility towards the world we inhabit.
The philosophy of Cosmic Education is enacted at the start of each academic year with the Five Great Story Lessons: The Creation Story, The Coming of Life, The Coming of Human Beings, The Story of Language, and The Story of Numbers.
Studies are integrated not only in subject matter but also in the manipulative materials. The role of the Elementary guide is to facilitate an interdisciplinary elementary program where no subject is taught in isolation. Our elementary program is a six-year plan with a course of studies that includes life and physical sciences, history, geography, English language, mathematics, geometry, art, music, and Spanish.
Classroom work is enhanced through “Going Outs,” which are trips outside the school to local museums, nature centers, libraries, and theaters in search of further enhancements to the curriculum or the child’s personal study. Throughout these years, students increasingly learn how to manage their own studies and time, having been given opportunities to make choices and act independently during these important formative years.
The Elementary Program is a 5-day a week, full day program from 8:30 am - 3:15 pm
The educational approach of a Montessori classroom at the elementary level has been called “Cosmic Education”, a concept dating back to ancient Greece. This term denotes the holistic, integrative method of learning employed at this level: the children are encouraged to explore all facets of the world around them and to view them in harmony with each other. The elementary curriculum is responsible to fulfill the obligations of the Public School Curriculum, but is by no means limited to it.
The elementary child, in contrast to the primary child, is chiefly interested in how and why things function the way they do. Maria Montessori called this the “second plane of development”. in the elementary classroom, we open doors to the various paths of knowledge. We want the children to get a glimpse of what lies beyond so they can choose their own particular paths. Storytelling is the method that we use to open the doors to the universe. The child of the second plane asks for reality, but one that can be explored by his or her imagination. The five “Great Lessons” form a framework for exploring the cosmos:
Without the Great Lessons, the elementary class would be reduced to a matter of syllabus, curriculum material and subject matter; instead, the Great Lessons set the stage for imaginative exploration. They are further divided into nine subjects as follows.
Dr. Montessori believed mathematics should be easy for all children to grasp, rather than something in which just a few can excel. The elementary math curriculum builds on the primary curriculum: the students continue to work with the four mathematical operations. They also learn squaring and cubing, after which they have the foundation for extracting a number for a square or a cube. They also work in other bases other than the decimal system and explore algebra and the history of math.
The elementary geometry program covers the following six areas: 1) Congruence, equivalence, and similarity,
2) Polygons, 3) Angles, 4) Lines, 5) Plane Figures, 6) Solid Geometry. The lessons are presented creatively to allow the child to interact with the materials and explore them for himself.
Children at this age are very interested in the origins of language, the origin of sounds, the construction of sentences, and other fundamentals. Again, in the elementary classroom, the subject is presented as a series of stories that capture children’s imagination, such as the story of spoken English, the story of written symbols, and the history of writing materials and implements. We study etymology because it touches people of the past and people of different lands, bringing the subject alive.