The Elementary program, for students 6 – 12 years old, is organized as two three-year cycles: Lower Elementary for 6-9 year olds and Upper Elementary for 9-12 year olds. As in the Primary classes, students spend all three years in the same class, building community with one another and deepening relationships with teachers.
Dr. Montessori has said to give the entire universe to the child. In keeping with this, the curriculum for the elementary aged child is dubbed as ‘cosmic education’. Cosmic education exposes the child to interrelated topics in all subject areas, by which they are able to discover and build a unified picture of the universe.
The spiral curriculum of the Montessori classroom exposes students to topics repeatedly over time. With each repetition, children build on the knowledge they already have about a topic, delving deeper into the details and seeing the connections more clearly. This connection between topics and the building of information little by little leads to a real depth of understanding of our complex world.
Elementary age children continue to learn through the use of concrete materials as they move gradually toward more and more abstract thinking. The Elementary lessons and materials are multi-sensory, dramatic, and impressionistic, serving to ignite the imagination and curiosity of the students.
We encourage children to work at their own pace in a non-competitive atmosphere, to gain an understanding of themselves and develop a sensitivity to others. Children may work alone or in groups, all in an atmosphere of courtesy and respect.
Elementary students engage in building practical skills such as cooking, organizing going out trips, and time management. Each student confers with her teachers to chart her progress. As children get older, they are given more and more responsibility in planning and executing various tasks.
Understanding language as a fruit of mans soul and mind, the elementary child delves into the history of language and writing. Children will continue to work on decoding and fluency in reading, semantics and syntax, vocabulary, literature and genres and research skills. Writing focuses on helping the child articulate their thoughts, feelings and opinions with increasing efficiency and elegance.
Geography is approached in two ways:
Static geography, which includes political geography.
Dynamic geography, which highlights the interaction of various natural forces and the subsequent results in natural phenomena. Experiments and other aids to imagination, serve to provide a concrete basis for the child’s abstraction.
The elementary aged child is often called a little philosopher and the history curriculum strives to introduce ideas that students can really ponder upon. The origin of the universe, the formation of Earth, the evolution of life, the fundamental needs of human beings, the history of various aspects of human culture, early and modern humans, ancient civilizations are all introduced.
The young child is fascinated by plants and animals. Stories, experiments and experiences in the natural world help the child observe the behaviour of plants and animals, understand their role in the upkeep of the environment and gain insight into the interdependencies of all life. Topics in Biology include the comparative study of vertebrates and invertebrates, plant and animal classification, microbiology, evolutionary biology and human biology.
Dr. Montessori said that one should ‘sow the seeds of all sciences’ during the elementary years. Children are exposed to hand-on experiences which help them understand abstract concepts and provides an aid to their imagination, so that they may apply these concepts to understand larger phenomena. The science curriculum asks the children to think like scientists – to observe, question and predict. Some favourite activities include constructing magnets, making models of atoms and molecules, testing elements and compounds, studying the behaviour of light, electricity, 3 states of matter and so on.
The focus of the art curriculum for the elementary child is to provide a wide range of experiences with different techniques and media. We provide an introduction to art history and exposure to various artistic forms. Further, art is integrated into the classroom curriculum through projects which allow students to express their knowledge in creative ways.
Grace and Courtesy
Acting with grace and courtesy toward others is modelled by the adults in the Elementary classrooms and courteous behaviour and consideration for others is expected of Elementary students. Children can help one another remember to use polite language and that their actions affect others.