The Montessori Elementary program offers individualized education. The teacher strives to meet the developmental needs and learning styles of each child. He or she is able to move through the curriculum at a pace matched to his or her unique interests and abilities. As concepts are mastered, new ones are introduced.
In the Montessori classroom elementary students balance freedom with responsibility. While children have required work that fulfills specific learning objectives, their input and planning is essential. They are taught to keep track of their work and are accountable for its completion. A study plan or journal is kept stating when work needs to be completed. As the child becomes more independent and responsible then even more freedom can be given allowing the student to determine when to work on each subject area and what it will take to master each concept.
The multi-age grouping provides opportunities for broad social development and enhanced learning. The younger child watches the older and is encouraged to progress while the older child gains leadership skills and reinforces his or her own learning by helping the younger.
In a Montessori Elementary class, children are presented with materials that teach concepts in a concrete manner before moving on to paper and pencil work. Learning extends beyond the classroom as well through field trips and “going out”. These excursions provide the students the opportunity to experience the inner workings of our society and environment, all designed to enhance their learning.
An important part of Montessori education is respect. The teacher has respect for his or her students. Students respect themselves and each other as well as their classroom, their environment, and their teachers. Children learn to solve problems and resolve conflicts in creative, constructive ways. They learn to respect the differences in others and to understand that those differences are what makes us strong as a community.
The five Great Lessons are the foundation of the elementary Montessori curriculum. Through these lessons the child is introduced to the beginnings of history, writing, science, and mathematics. These lessons are also the introduction of Dr. Montessori’s theory of Cosmic Education.
The Five Great Lessons
The First Great Lesson weaves a tale of the origins of the universe and our own planet. Using impressionistic charts and experiments directly related to the basic physical properties of matter a foundation is made for the future study of physics, chemistry, astronomy and geology.
The Time Line of Life
This time line represents the beginnings of life on Earth from the simplest forms through the appearance of human beings. A great variety and magnificence of life is presented, with each organism a contributor to a vast, ineffable cosmic scheme.
The Coming of Humans
Continuing the exploration of life on Earth, this time line stresses the development of humans from the earliest beings through the use of tools.
The History of Writing
A theme area rather than a specific time line (although time lines may be developed), this follows the development of writing from its appearance in primitive cultures to its role in modern society.
The History of Mathematics
Also a theme area, this lesson involves the use of mathematics as an expression of the refinement of the human mind and as a response to the specific needs as well as the shared needs of human groups.