Learning How to Think - from MariaMontessori.com
The Montessori Elementary program offers an unparalleled opportunity for the ongoing development of your child. He is entering a new period in his life; this imaginative, social, creative child needs a planned environment and expansive course of study to support his burgeoning independence and potential. The Montessori Elementary program, is designed to meet the needs of your child in this phase of development. This experience will shape not only his knowledge and skills, but also his attitude about learning for the rest of his life.
The elementary “curriculum” is only limited by a child’s imagination
The goal of a traditional curriculum is to delineate what a child is supposed to learn. In Montessori, we want your child to be able to learn everything! The starting point for all courses of study is the “Great Lessons”; these impressionistic and scientific stories are presented every year and give the students the “big picture” of cosmology, astronomy, earth science, geography, chemistry, physics, biology, history, anthropology, cultural and social studies, language, math, music, and art. Subsequent lessons offer the children keys for exploring these areas of human knowledge in more detail. Meaningful learning happens when children are inspired by a lesson and begin to explore the subject and work on their own,
Children work collaboratively and cooperatively.
Children have a strong drive to be social and to collaborate. For this reason, most of the lessons and follow-up projects in elementary are done in pairs or groups of children. Each day, your child will practice the social skills necessary to plan and carry out his projects: delegation and division of labor, sharing resources, making group decisions, taking responsibility for actions, and celebrating the success of peers. Conflict is not uncommon, but the motivation to resolve it comes from the children and their engagement with their projects. The Montessori teacher models and supports constructive and respectful problem solving. Learning how to work well with the different personalities and characteristics of other children in the classroom community is a significant life lesson with practical applications in the “real world”, college and the professional workplace.
The children’s work is open-ended and creative.
Each child’s response to a lesson is unique, and their follow up work reflects those individual differences. Your child is free to form or join a group to work with the concepts introduced in a lesson. For example, a group of children might have a lesson on the parts of a river. Some might choose to label an outline map with the rivers of North America. Others might choose to repeat the demonstration with the river model (and without the teacher), labeling for themselves the parts previously demonstrated. Another pair might be intrigued by a particular river mentioned in the lesson or by the river running through their city, and they might launch a research project about the Mississippi or the Willamette. Because the children are free to move around the classroom and see what others are doing, it’s not uncommon for an idea to spread; children are stimulated not just by the teacher’s lessons, but by each other.
The children explore their own interests while meeting age-appropriate standards.
Montessori elementary students study both broadly and deeply, covering many subjects not attempted in traditional schools. The children often develop expertise in a subject that is especially interesting to them. Because there is not a rigid schedule or prescribed curriculum that the whole class must follow, your child can focus intensely on her a work, with minimal interruption. At the same time, she will collaborate with the teacher to ensure that the skills for each grade are mastered. A version of the public school standards is available to the class, and the teacher facilitates your child’s use of these standards as a guide to her work choices. To support her individualized plan of study, the teacher meets with her regularly to plan and assess her progress.
Montessori elementary children transition well into other schools
At the end of the Montessori elementary program, your child is ready for a very important transition: becoming an adolescent. His elementary years have given him the freedom to develop as a unique individual. He has experienced the challenges and rewards of working with a group of other children of different ages and has seen his skills and talents put to use in many group projects. He has developed proficiency in all areas of academic endeavors and looks forward to the new opportunities beyond Montessori elementary. He loves and trusts the adults with whom he works. Above all, he is flexible and adaptable.
These skills, the culmination of the 6 year Montessori elementary program, will help him to easily assimilate into new academic and social situations in high school, college and beyond