The Upper Elementary program serves 10 – 15 children ages 9 – 12 with a credentialed Montessori Directress. Program hours are 9am – 3pm, 5 days per week. The enrichment activities are foreign language, art, music, PE and computers.
The upper elementary Montessori program introduces students to a broad spectrum of topics and interests. Maria Montessori referred to this as “cosmic education.” The curriculum paints a picture of the universe as a whole, thus building the framework of understanding for all facets of learning.
As in the primary and lower elementary classrooms, the upper elementary program encourages students to use materials for developmentally appropriate knowledge acquisition. At this plane of development, Maria Montessori believed that learning still moves “from the hand to the head.” Students in the upper elementary use their hands to explore abstract concepts such as fraction division, sentence diagramming, and ancient civilizations. Once they have mastered the materials, students are equipped to move the ideas to abstraction.
A fundamental component of the upper elementary program is that of personal responsibility. In this part of the Montessori program, students direct their own learning, in partnership with the teacher, through negotiation of work contracts. Students gain increasing responsibility for developing a work plan, tracking their own progress, and presenting a finished product that demonstrates mastery of a topic. Special emphasis is placed on writing, art and oral presentation as methods of communicating with others.
Community interaction is also a vital part of this plane of development. Students learn how to share concepts with others and how to work in groups. Classroom conflicts are solved in community meetings, where students and teachers seek to solve concerns in a discussion-based format. These skills will accompany students as they transition to a Montessori or public middle school.