“To do well, it is necessary to aim at giving the elementary age child an idea of all fields of study, not in precise detail, but on impression. The idea is to sow the seeds of knowledge at this age, when a sort of sensitive period for the imagination exists.”—Maria Montessori
The age of imagination
The Montessori Elementary Program provides the 6-12-year-old child limitless opportunities to apply their great powers of imagination and capacity for hard work. The deeper concentration, increased attention span, good organizational skills and self-direction that are often a result of the Montessori Early Childhood classroom allow these children to take on some rather complex projects.
The Elementary child is also ready for the transition from concrete to abstract thinking. As the basic skills of math and reading are mastered, the advanced Montessori materials and unique Cosmic Curriculum introduce the children to new dimensions in learning.
CONTENT-RICH, HANDS-ON CURRICULUM
The Montessori Lower Elementary classroom is a resource center to be used by the student/scientist to research any field of knowledge. Our goal is to inspire students and to encourage creative exploration.
Lower Elementary cultural lessons integrate history, geography and science. Children are introduced to the whole universe through the First Great Lesson,which leads to studies in astrophysics, astronomy and chemistry. Further impressionistic lessons lead students through the coming of life on Earth, the arrival of humans and the development of mathematics and language. Receiving this information through a sequenced, historical perspective provides a solid framework on which future knowledge can be built. This work enhances the child’s sense of place in the world and awareness of the interconnectedness of all things.
The ingenious sequence of Montessori math manipulative materials allows children to develop a concrete understanding of abstract concepts. Writing, art and music are integrated with all curriculum areas and are also presented as independent subjects for skill development. In addition, these subjects serve as outlets for creativity and personal expression.
Field trips are an integral part of the program at this level. Opportunities to go out in the community are selected to further enhance classroom studies and expand students’ self-confidence and independence.
In a multi-age classroom, students continue to benefit from the many levels of ability and interest amongst their classmates. Children of diverse skills and ages are able to assume the role of teacher or learner, leader or follower depending on their level of mastery. WMS students enjoy the opportunity to move at their own pace and spend time to gain mastery in a given area. Time management and organization skills continue to develop throughout their elementary years.
The constant encouragement to collaborate and assist each other engenders an atmosphere that is cooperative rather than competitive. The prevailing attitude is that learning is interesting and that problems can be solved by teamwork.
Ample opportunity to interact with teachers ensures that children’s progress is being constantly assessed and that lessons are adapted to fit the individual learner.
COMMUNITY CONSCIOUSNESS AND GLOBAL AWARENESS
Elementary age children are increasingly absorbed in understanding their place in the world as they mature and develop a moral sense. Their thinking is pervaded with concerns about right and wrong, fair and unfair. Regular class meetings are held to develop communication skills, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution techniques and positive social values.
Understanding the interrelatedness of all things and seeing themselves as citizens of the world helps students develop a strong commitment to the environment and global community. This is reinforced through the many ongoing environmental and life science studies. Community and environmental service projects, both local and global, are a regular part of WMS life.