Beginning to understand the interconnectedness of all things
Elementary students, from 6-12 years old, are in their second plane of development and expanding their reasoning minds. They want to know the “how” and “why” of everything around them. In true Montessori practice, the children want to research and find their own answers to the questions they develop. Following the child’s interest, the mysteries of the universe open up and fill them with wonder and awe. They begin to understand the interconnectedness of all things as they seek more knowledge and understanding. This keeps them on the road of successful lifetime learners.
Montessori Method teaches us that the best way to internalize and truly understand concepts is to start with the concrete and move to the abstract. In Montessori math, we do just that and the child’s understanding of difficult math concepts becomes very clear as they use hand-eye connections with our math materials. Distributive properties become clear when you are using the racks and tubes, understanding squares becomes instinct as the child builds mathematical squares on the pegboard. Even the youngest children begins to grasp high level math concepts with this concrete application. When the child is ready, the move to abstract math is a very easy transition as the picture of the concept stays with the child.
The cultural area of our Montessori classroom includes science, geography, history, art, foreign language, and music. These areas of interest spark the imagination and draw the child into a world of fascination. Through the cultural studies, we bring the world to the child and the child to the world. They become global thinkers and doers.
In our Montessori classrooms, science is experienced through hands-on experimentation and research. The areas of zoology, botany, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and geology are explored. Children learn scientific method and put it to use as we delve into the many lessons waiting for us to discover.
From the origins of the universe, through ancient civilizations, to present day current events, our children come to understand that history is a living, breathing passage of time. We feel the connection with those who went before us and gain the understanding that we will, someday, pass this world on to new generations. Through this work, the children become knowledgeable, caring citizens of the world.
Art and Music are highlighted in our Montessori classrooms. We are students of many different genres of art and styles of music. Each classroom chooses artists and musicians to research and we come to know and understand their life’s work. Artists from the classical sculptors and canvas masters to present day graphic and environmental stars, open our minds to the possibilities within ourselves to express our thoughts and feelings through art. Composers, musicians, instruments, and musical styles are parts of discovery of music. Upper elementary students have the opportunity to take the next step in music instruction by joining the OSM Band.
Taking a close look at the geography of a country, gives the children a glimpse into what life is like for the people of that land. We learn about what adaptations it takes for animals and plants to survive in different biomes. The children find that the land, whether it is mountainous or flat, covered with water or a desert, is home to many life forms of life. Learning the location of different points around the globe and how to locate any place of interest, helps us understand our place in the world.
Language arts, including reading, grammar, creative writing, handwriting, and analysis of literature are every day staples of our classroom. The children are working at a higher level now to read and absorb literature. We use literary tools to not only understand what we read, but to make our writing more interesting. Beginning with the development of a good sentence, we graduate to paragraphs and on to sustained written works. We indulge our love of research to create informative and engaging projects about a variety of subjects. We work to fine tune our writing with lessons that reinforce proper grammar and form for writing. Soon the children discover the joy of the written word and we share our love of reading and writing any time we get the chance.
Maria Montessori believed that connecting the child with nature as often as possible was imperative to developing mind, body, and soul. She called this important part of their development the Erdkinder or Earth School. The upper elementary class spends one week of each year immersed in the natural environment at Nature’s Classroom Institute. This week not only exposes us to incredible lessons in science, language, history, and geography, but it allows us to put into practice life skills we have developed in practical life studies. We work in cooperative groups to solve problems, we care for ourselves independently, and we are free to explore and discover on our own and with our peers. We look forward to this exciting time each year and keep the memories forever.
Role of the Elementary Directress
- To encourage and inspire exploration, independence, and responsibility
- To link the child to the environment
- To recognize and respect the needs and interests of the child
- To provide a flexible working atmosphere, ensuring that necessary work is accomplished, including traditional school’s curriculum
- To provide limits and parameters to foster self-control, self-discipline, and to ensure children’s safety
- To facilitate social development, generate an understanding of the rules of the class and society
- To generate excitement and interest in the Great Lessons and Key Lessons.
- To have an open line of communication with parents and staff
- To be a silent observer and watch for the human tendencies in operation