The Elementary Curriculum Age (6 -12)
Inside the Montessori Classroom
Imagine a school where the children are seen as active participants in their own education, where the students pursue knowledge with vigor and excitement, where the four walls of the classroom can not contain their burning curiosity and they are encouraged to seek out experts in the community to find the answers to their questions.
The 6-12 child begins this journey by being inspired through the storytelling of the Five Great Lessons. Dr. Montessori recognised that all of science and history tell portions of the same story; that is the continuing creation of the universe. The Cosmic Education of the Elementary years tells this story. The experience offers children context for, and reveals connections between the various disciplines. These Great Lessons provide an integrated framework for exploration that ties separate disciplines of the curriculum together into studies of the physical universe, the world of nature, and the human experience.
The great lessons are designed to intrigue the child, spark the imagination, and delight the developing reasoning mind of the elementary student. The student is left with burning questions to investigate, which are later reinforced through experiments and using impressionistic charts. This is the beginning of the development of scientific thought.
This integrated approach allows the child to pursue areas of interest such as mathematics and language of music, or connections between art and science, and clearly differs from the traditional model in which the curriculum is compartmentalised into separate subjects, with given topics limited by grade level. Montessori students learn about life and how to collaborate to pursue areas of interest, guided by their teachers to achieve success, with the freedom to chose when and how they pursue this learning.
Beyond the Classroom
Children in the Elementary Years explore these areas of interests starting with using materials in the classroom. However the 6-12 environment is deliberately 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 Going Out into the broader community.
As an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum, the Montessori Elementary programme explores how different disciplines interrelate, which make the learning relevant and more interesting. Motivation is a key to learning, and is an important part of the teacher’s objective to determine how to interest the students. At IMS, we are delighted to have a Librarian and wonderful single-subject teachers who provide additional support and availability of resources. These single-subject teachers all work closely with the Montessori classroom teachers to develop an approach to access single subjects resources within the classroom, and help the child navigate this new freedom to explore these areas within limits, as the children move from the classroom to Single Subject learning areas