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"Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core."

Maria Montessori

Motivated Learning in Elementary

Learning in Context

An integrated approach allows the child to pursue logical areas of interest such as mathematics and language of music, or connections between art and science, and clearly differs from the traditional model most parents experienced in which the curriculum is compartmentalised into separate subjects, with given topics limited by grade level.

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Montessori students learn about life and how to work together within their community to pursue areas of interest, guided by their teachers to achieve what they need to, with the freedom to chose when and how they pursue this learning.

Research shows that learning in context brings meaning and purpose to a person’s exploration and discovery. Time lines, charts, and research cards help children study areas of interest, and books are available in the classroom library or the School Library which further explore these interesting questions. Older returning children soon investigate questions in more depth, and share this information with their friends either by preparing a project report which is presented to the class by the group, or writing a story or book or creating a drawing which may be published in the IMS Library. Work on a project is highly motivating to the Elementary child!

The Montessori Work Cycle Uninterrupted Work Time

The Montessori work period is an uninterrupted block of time in which children work individually or in small groups at their own pace in the developmentally appropriate, taking responsibility for choosing appropriate work according to their work plans, guided by highly trained teachers.

Peer-to-Peer Learning in the Multi-Age Classroom


The continuum of work in three-year age cycles within the class encourages children to constantly improve and perfect their skills so that they can share their experiences with the community.

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Much of this developing communication skill is encouraged by the mixed-age environment, where older children are reading more challenging books, which motivates the younger ones to try. The resulting increases in vocabulary is quickly evident in verbal communication, as well as the books the child is reading and the ever improving writing.


Reading helps children build their knowledge base, as does spoken language exploration. Interest in discussing and discovering new concepts in multiple disciplines often spurs on a child to read, and encourages the shy child to speak about a topic of interest.

verbal teaching method

Both the English-speaking and Chinese-speaking teacher in the Elementary classroom observe each child carefully, and get to know their language abilities to better build on the child’s foundational vocabulary in each of these languages.

seek and learn

The 6-12 environment is designed to be a springboard to the universe of learning; it is intentionally “not enough,” and students are encouraged to seek out the needed information from older peers, the school Library, and from specialists in various disciplines, within IMS and in the broader community.

The Importance of Choice

People learn deeply, apply themselves longer and gain deeper understanding when they are given choices, even when this choice is quite limited. The Montessori environment from the earliest days is designed to give children ever widening range of choices, limited only by the child’s own increasing ability to regulate themselves and act responsibly in this expanding universe of possibilities.

Movement in the Elementary Classroom Environment

Montessori children are given the freedom of movement in their environment, within the context of their ability to be responsible. Integrating movement and activity into the school day is a fundamental aspect of Montessori learning at every level, and the positive connection between related movement to learning is key.

Student-directed learning is motivated learning, and the Montessori environment encourages this desire to discover. Whereas the 0-6 age child is learning to describe the world around, the Montessori Elementary 6-12 child wants to understand how everything works.