Parents of elementary-age children are very familiar with the ubiquitous question “Why?,” as children begin a lifelong quest to discover the interconnectedness of the universe, fueled by limitless curiosity.
“The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim therefore is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his inmost core.”
— Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential
Our Lower Elementary program (Grades 1 to 3) seeks to balance the child’s developing imagination with concrete skills learned through hands-on exploration. Montessori materials are exceptionally logical and beautifully constructed, enticing the children to want more, to learn more, and to achieve “flow” as they reach deeper and deeper levels of concentration. Our teachers carefully observe and track each child’s progress, and add levels of difficulty to the work with each new success they’ve witnessed. The Lower Elementary program creates students who are willing to take intellectual risks and have the resiliency needed for the challenging pursuits of Upper Elementary.
Dr. Montessori’s “Great Lessons” are the cornerstone lessons of our Lower Elementary classrooms. They include: The Story of the Universe, The Coming of Life, The Coming of Humans, The Story of Language, and The Story of Numbers. Stories, charts, experiments, and the arts form a narrative of human civilization through time—shaping a global vision and developing critical thinking, problem-solving, and research skills.
In the Upper Elementary (Grades 4 to 6) students focus on building greater independence and responsibility as they begin to think more abstractly and explore more complex ideas. Teachers encourage students to make cross-curricular connections and to seek ever expanding academic challenges. At this level, students truly refine their time management skills as they are offered “freedom with responsibility.”
While students continue to explore concepts using concrete materials, technology begins to play a larger role, enhancing abstract learning and providing new pathways for student expression.