The Elementary Program, 6-9 & 9-11
The elementary school child occupies what Maria Montessori called the “second plane of development.” Children at this stage are in a period of rapid intellectual growth as they develop the ability for rational thinking. Children want to know the how and why of things. Through exploration and experimentation, they discover the quantities and facts of the world. Self education is the mode through which the elementary children learn most effectively. The teacher's role is to provide and support children in this all important endeavor.
Dr. Montessori developed what she called the “cosmic curriculum” for this educational level. In the cosmic curriculum, children discover the history of the world and of the human race, and in this process, begin to define their own place in the life of human kind and of nature. Sequentially, all things are naturally related to the creation of the universe and our earth. We encourage children to begin asking questions. Children pursue and research historical, scientific, artistic, and cultural interests. Information is gleaned from a rich variety of literature, experiments, art projects, tapes, films and community field trips.
During the elementary years, children explore the academic world in increasing depth through the related disciplines of mathematics, reading, penmanship, creative writing, research methods, art, music, science, botany, zoology, anatomy, history, geography, social/cultural studies, drama, and physical education; all is taught as parts and contributions to the whole. Multi-age classrooms and a spirit of cooperation rather than competition, allow children to grow emotionally and intellectually at their own pace.
The Montessori elementary programs offer individualized instruction and evaluation. Students are grouped in a multi-age setting, ages 5-6, 6-9, 9-12, or 12-15, to allow for cognitive development without competition. Teachers evaluate the students' work in an on-going basis and meet three times annually, each trimester, for a progress report with the parents. Parent-teacher conferences detail the progress of the student in each subject area, as well as noting social and emotional growth. Each spring, students take a yearly, standardized achievement test.
Early Indicators for Success
Maria Montessori devoted her life to developing an educational method comprised of sound child development practices and developmentally appropriate activities. The Montessori Elementary School is modeled upon this dual system and we build our school policies from this base. We emphasize the importance of balance among the intellectual, social-emotional and physical needs of the child.
The mixed age grouping, which is a cornerstone of the Montessori method, allows ample time for the teachers to address the development of the complete child within each developmental stage. These stages are referred to as the 0-3, 4-6, 6-9, 9-11, and the 11-15 levels at TMES/TMMS/Casita. It is important to realize that there is an overlap within these levels, and that each level may be beneficial for a child for three or even four years.
To further understand how the Montessori method applies to the elementary aged child, please watch the following videos:
"Montessori: The Elementary Years"- from the American Montessori Society
- "What is Montessori?" - A great video about the basics of what the Montessori method is and what that looks like in a classroom.
- "Structure with Choice in the Montessori 6-9 Classroom"- A video about how Montessori classrooms allow students to have structure with choice.
- "Multiage Elementary Montessori Classrooms"- This video describes the way children benefit from being in a multiage Montessori elementary classroom.
- "Looking to Montessori to Guide Education Reform: Anna Lee at TEDxMidAtlantic" - Anna Lee, Director of Education at Meadows Montessori in Frederick, speaks about her experience as a Montessori educator.