The Elementary programme 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.
This includes addressing their needs as they enter a new period of development characterized by:
- A transition from concrete to abstract thinking
- A growing interest in socialization
- Thinking and memory that is enhanced by creativity and imagination
- An interest in fairness, social justice, and compassion
In a Montessori Elementary classroom, students work individually or in small groups, at tables or on mats on the floor.
Learning materials are arranged on accessible shelves according to the curricular area, fostering independence as students go about their work. Everything is where ít´s supposed to be.
The classroom is a happy community where students are focused and take joy in their work. They invent, explore, experiment, confer, create, prepare snacks, and curl up with books; sometimes they might even reflect in a peaceful, meditative corner. Meanwhile, teachers circulate throughout the room, observing the students and making notes about their progress, ever ready to offer support or introduce new material, as appropriate.
Mixed-age groups of children ages 6 – 9 (Lower Elementary) and 9 –12 (Upper Elementary) provide a heterogeneous mix in which children can collaborate and socialize. These inter-age relationships strengthen the entire community. Older children are seen as role models within our community. They support the growth and development of younger children through socialization, assisting with new work, or teaching skills they have mastered themselves. Younger children follow the example set by the older students and have peers to support them in areas of the curriculum in which they may be more advanced. This multi-age community provides opportunities for all individuals to learn from each other. It also develops an appreciation of differences.
Teachers guide children through the 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, autonomy, intrinsic motivation and social responsibility.
Beyond building the children´s skills in reading, mathematics and writing, elementary lessons help students discover the interconnectedness of knowledge and life on earth. At this stage, children have the ability to think abstractly and require variety in the activities they participate in, rather than repetition. Montessori students learn the “how,” “when,” and “why”, using specially designed learning materials that use real objects and actions to translate abstract ideas into concrete form support them in this learning. Teachers introduce materials to students according to their level of development and readiness. Students then work with the materials to make exciting discoveries—such as why, when dividing fractions, we invert and multiply.
One of the greatest experiences in the Elementary classrooms is that children operate within a framework of “freedom within limits.” They are free to choose their work. Along with that freedom comes the responsibility to manage their own time, focused on challenging, purposeful work that supports the lessons.