As in the Primary program, the Montessori materials are a means to an end–they are intended to evoke the imagination, to aid abstraction, to generate a worldview about the human task and purpose. The child works within a philosophical system asking questions about the origins of the universe, the nature of life, people and their differences, and so on. On a factual basis, interdisciplinary studies combine geological, biological, and anthropological science in the study of natural history and world ecology.
The Elementary program reflects a new stage of development and offers the following:
A mathematics curriculum presented with concrete materials that simultaneously reveal arithmetic, geometric, and algebraic correlations.
Montessori-trained adults who are “enlightened generalists” (teachers who are able to integrate the teaching of all subjects, not as isolated disciplines, but as part of a whole intellectual tradition).
Emphasis on open-ended research and in-depth study using primary and secondary sources (no textbooks), as well as other materials.
“Going out,” or field trips, to make use of community resources beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Integration of the arts, sciences, geography, history, mathematics, and language that evokes the imagination and ability for abstraction of the elementary child.
Presentation of knowledge as part of a large-scale narrative that unfolds the origins of the earth, life, human communities, and modern history, always in the context of the wholeness of life.
Presentation of the formal scientific language of zoology, botany, mathematics, anthropology, geography, and geology, thereby exposing the child to accurate, organized information and respecting the child’s intelligence and interests.
The use of timelines, pictures, charts, and other visual aids to provide a linguistic and visual overview of the first principles of each discipline.
Studies are integrated not only in terms of subject matter but in terms of moral learning as well, resulting in appreciation and respect for life, moral empathy, and a fundamental belief in progress, the contribution of the individual, the universality of the human condition, and the meaning of justice.
Elementary students are exposed to a variety of guest speakers and teachers, with a focus on Spanish acquisition, art, outdoor sciences, theater, music and environmental studies.
Students are active community members within their classroom, taking on weekly and monthly jobs for the benefit of the community. Students also have opportunities to assume a variety of leadership roles within the multi-aged classroom. These combined opportunities extend the foundations of the practical life work birthed in the child’s experience in the Primary Classroom.
The schedule for an Elementary Montessori Classroom is fluid, with a dedicated three-hour work cycle in which children receive new lessons from their teacher, practice lessons both independently and collaboratively, and learn time management as they fulfill weekly and monthly goals.