The Age of Imagination begins in Lower Elementary and carries into Upper Elementary. The 9-12 year old child is undergoing significant changes physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually as they move towards adolescence and greater independence. The 9-12 year old child is now embarking upon The Age of Intellectual Independence.
Advanced materials and complex work
In Upper Elementary, Advanced Montessori materials continue to support student learning in language arts, math, science and social studies. Students are exploring all subject areas at deeper levels and applying their skills to real life situations.
Overnight field trips and more specialist classes
Field trips and specialist classes also aid continued growth in confidence, independence, and problem-solving. Upper Elementary students attend a multi-night overnight fieldtrip and participate in art, Spanish, music, drama, STEM specialist classes and PE classes at the YMCA.
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.
Deepening 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. At this age students deepen their moral consciousness and move from concern with right and wrong to a greater questioning of social justice. 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. Through the study of ancient civilizations, medieval times, and United States history, Upper Elementary students develop an appreciation for what has come before them. Environmental and life science studies reinforce the interconnectedness of life. Community and environmental service projects, both local and global, are a regular part of WMS life.
“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
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