Elementary: first through sixth grade
The montessori elementary experience will shape not only their knowledge and skills, but also their attitude about learning for the rest of their life. They will Learn to become independent thinkers who are self-directed.
Elementary children typically develop a strong interest in ethics and "fair play." The same impulse that led the Primary child to insist "Help me to do it by myself" for physical tasks—putting on a coat, or carrying a chair, or opening a door—now moves into the moral realm. Elementary students want to independently investigate grace and courtesy, rules of behavior, and roles in a group. Their questions move from the Primary "What is that?" to the Elementary "Why is that?" Cause and effect, connections and consequences, are of paramount interest.
Our elementary communities harness this urge towards expertise by throwing open the doors to the whole of human knowledge: the history of ancient civilizations, the mechanics of language, biological and geological classification, the intricacies of physical and political geography, the methods of mathematics from basic operations through cube roots and basic algebra. Abstract ideas should not merely be told; for lasting learning, ideas must be discovered. Academic rules and laws are points of arrival rather than starting points.
Stories, impressionistic charts, and evocative materials give a sense of the size and age of the observable universe, the steady progression of life on Earth, the variety of terrain and climates on our planet, and the saga of human evolution, invention, and civilization. The teacher tells stories (“Great Lessons”) which lay out a general organization for knowledge, then invites the children to investigate details and relate them back to the whole.
Our Elementary community holds regular meetings, not only as opportunities to share work and research, but also as a chance to work out social problems in a fair and reasonable fashion. Teachers act as moderators and facilitators, helping students learn how to negotiate solutions that respect everyone's thoughts and feelings to maintain a smoothly functioning classroom community—and develop real-world skills of compromise and diplomacy that will serve them well for years to come.