In the Elementary program, students ages 6 through 12 develop self-discipline, imagination, freedom, and cooperative living through cosmic education.
TThe Montessori elementary program is based on an extensive curriculum, known as Cosmic Education. This encourages children to explore the universe around them with enthusiasm. Consequently, nothing is off-limits to them. Instead of following a strict syllabus, teachers are charged with triggering curiosity and providing varied opportunities for exploration through both imagination and logical thinking. To achieve this, the Great Lesson is used to pique interest while key lessons open further avenues of enquiry. The materials help children hone skills that enhance their learning experience within each subject area - although in totality Cosmic Education isn't separated into such areas; rather these divisions are useful when discussing the subject with adults. We recently took the step of summarising what takes place in the classroom by looking at it from a variety of subject perspectives so you can appreciate your children's educational journey.
This biotic or living study covers plants and animals and begins by introducing the needs of all living things. Through impressionistic charts, various concepts are established to help children further develop their reasoning power of the second plane. To strengthen this development, materials are made available to perform simple experiments and exploration of both the living and non-living worlds. For older children, other sciences are also supplied with the necessary materials for research. In addition, a selection of plant and animal life is provided within the classroom for observation and inquiry; not meant to completely encompass all knowledge, but rather to guide students towards further investigation outside the classroom.
This covers both natural and human history. We start with the first Great Lesson (the universe's creation), and move on to the inception of life on Earth before progressing to humans. There are fascinating stories about geometry’s origins, our alphabet’s beginning, as well as art and music etc. History is a survey of everything that has occurred; all things have a past associated with them. Studying this theme can deepend children's connection across different fields of knowledge. It can also help them comprehend that individuals everywhere share the same fundamentals needs and have numerous ways for fulfilling those requirements. Additionally, it brings appreciation for people who formerly contributed to society and recognizes the potential of humans to invent through their intellect, discover through their wisdom, and demonstrate compassion to others.
The intent here is to impart a broader understanding of the universe and how it all works together. Our approach helps the child gain an appreciation for the interconnectedness of our world. Through key lessons, we demonstrate facts about geography while showcasing its various branches such as map skills, earth science, astronomy, the study of cultures, and economic geography. As they learn more about these disciplines, they are reminded that even though they have seen stars and the sun in their day-to-day lives, it’s just part of a greater whole. Both chemistry and physics often intersect with what they learn in their geography classes. In sum, by demonstrating this interdependency we hope to instill within them a sense of gratitude for being part of something bigger than themselves.
In the Montessori classroom, language isn't just seen as a way to convey information - instead, it is seen as an exciting exploration. In order for students to get the most out of the Cosmic Education plan, they must become proficient in spoken and written language. To do this, children need a practice environment where they can interact with it. Allowing them to do this unlocks the beauty and power of language, along with its potential for meaningful communication. Students will have opportunities to learn about its history, functions of words, writing mechanics, and other areas such as creative and expository writing, reading and spoken language. Rather than having students focus on rote memorization of spellings or grammar rules or seeing composition tasks as a chore they must complete; these things are not part of a Montessori curriculum.
Mathematics is a perfect example of Montessori theory, as many tend to think of it solely as a day-to-day subject to be learnt by rote. We, however, view it from a cultural standpoint, recognizing its place in human history and its use as an invaluable tool. To engage the student we weave the tales of mathematical figures into our lessons. As the young learner transitions out of the sensorial level and into higher thinking, non-repetitive teaching techniques are necessary. However repetition does still play a role in building mastery - this comes through different methods with which to accomplish any given skill. Our materials go beyond regular class requirements too. We concentrate on giving students an image that encapsulates the abstract concept at hand. The three areas covered in elementary mathematics are numeration, arithmetic operations (whole numbers, fractions and negative numbers) and algebra (generalised arithmetic). Algebra can be further used to solve word problems; our presentations here also provide the child with a firm base on which to progress with learning. Lastly is Euclidian geometry: we introduce terminology via multiple activities and resources, as well as encouraging children to understand how relationships work inside the subject's logical structure.
There are multiple ways of engaging with music - from simply listening to it, to singing, playing instruments, reading notation and understanding its history. Music is a central component of the Montessori curriculum because life doesn't divide itself into subjects; rather, music should be organically integrated throughout the classroom. The music materials are designed not only to enhance an appreciation of music but also to inspire a recognition of its connection with the world at large. Rather than focusing on teaching particular intellectual skills and concepts, these materials help cultivate the child's entire self.
Art is an essential part of life and forms an intrinsic part of a Montessori classroom. Music isn't taught in isolation either - rather, the children are offered different creative media to explore and experiment with. The materials within the classroom aim to nurture their creativity and imagination, as does the prepared environment which encourages them to recognise art in things such as nature, architecture and photography.
Our Elementary students may receive the occasional take-home assignment or project. Unlike traditional education, there is no emphasis on memorizing facts by rote or completing lengthy worksheets. In keeping with Montessori methods, the aim of any homework is to stimulate critical thinking while inspiring a joy for learning. These assignments typically include book reports and practical projects such as dioramas, demonstrations and scientific experiments. Parents are encouraged to be actively involved in helping with work at home - activities can range from menu planning and family trips to creating savings plans for more practical skills; or enjoy creative pursuits such as writing stories and poetry, or drawing together. Beyond this, families can become part of their communities by volunteering at local organizations or taking part in local activities.