When children enter the second plane of development at age 6, their thinking begins to shift from concrete to abstract. They are able to use the power of their imagination to understand concepts. The child’s awareness in other cultures, people, and ideas, both past and present is heightened and his interest moves from himself and his family unit outward to the larger community, the world and the universe. The elementary child is no longer content with knowing what something is. The child at this stage of development wants to know how and why and is willing to work to obtain that understanding.
The elementary classroom meets the needs of your transforming child through a variety of ways. The Great Lessons, key experiences, and impressionistic charts make use of your child’s new powers of imagination. These tools inspire your child’s intellect to explore. The materials in math and language are designed to take your child from concrete manipulation to abstract thinking. The elementary teacher presents lessons through the use of concrete, hands on materials that thoroughly engage each child. Your child is allowed to use the materials until he or she is able to understand the concepts abstractly. The teacher introduces concepts and gives lessons when your child is ready, not according to an arbitrary timeline. It is her goal to lay a path for every child to reach his or her potential in each area of study.
Students in the elementary class work to refine their skills in reading, writing and mathematics so that they are free to research and explore topics in other curriculum areas such as history, geography, geometry, zoology, botany, physics, art and music. Students work individually and in groups, learning from each other and establishing roles within a social group. Your child, in the Montessori classroom, is free to learn at his or her own pace, working toward mastery.
Opportunities for learning are not confined to the classroom or with the teacher. Students in this environment will learn from each other by working in small groups, preparing reports and presentations to share with their classmates and by helping each other. Students in the elementary classroom are encouraged to connect to the outside world through field trips, guest speakers, and outings with their families. Community service within the school and the community at large is a natural and important part of the elementary program.