The elementary (age 6-11 years)
The second plane of formation lasts from the child’s sixth to twelfth year. The children’s
focus shifts from individual formation to development as social beings and the direction
of their explorations of the world tends to the abstract rather than the concrete.
As the Absorbent Mind disappears, a new way of relating to the environment and a new
power of mind becomes manifest. It is the functioning of the environment and the
relationships within it which arouse the children’s interest. The children’s appetite for
knowledge is immense. Montessori proposed that the elementary students should be
presented with the universe and all that is in it through the five great lessons. These
lessons provide a basis from which the children can explore and learn.
The children become interested in judging behaviour and this extends to a new interest
in justice and compassion for others. They not only want to discern just from unjust but
also want to fight injustice whenever they are aware of it. As a result they also develop
‘hero worship’ at this time and have an interest and admiration for men and women who
have pushed the limits of human capabilities and brought about change in the world.
“Going out” experiences are key in elementary. These are outings and trips that arise as
a natural outcome of the children’s questions about their work and the need to research sources outside the classroom for their answers.
Children now begin to play more social games and establish groups with rules. The rules can seem strange to adults, often involving secret languages, passwords and rituals. They want privacy from adults and choose their own leaders and follow a purpose. Through their play they rehearse for adult society. While in the primary children where drawn to learning facts and developing themselves as individuals, now they are interested in learning reasons and developing themselves as social beings.
It is this detailed understanding of child development which enables the Montessori
teacher to ensure that the child is being presented with new knowledge and information
in a way that will enable them to grasp it best.
The children, guided by their teacher, take greater responsibility for their learning
through tutorials and workbooks. The teacher regularly maps the child’s progress against
national curriculum standards to ensure each child is progressing appropriately.
STAFF IN THE CLASS
When children have a question they seek to find an answer to they have "Going out" as a tool. They are able to plan their own trips to find answers to burning questions. Children are given a termly budget, which rolls over. They are responsible for working out the logistics (budgeting, looking at bus or train times, maps and opening times, phoning or emailing centers).
Having been introduced to early grammar in the primary class and now able to read, the elementary children continue to practice reading at increasing levels of difficulty. They begin doing sentence analysis, comprehension and more creative writing. They present research to classmates and debate different points of views.
Building on their number skills from primary, the children now begin more complex applications of number such as measurement and data handling. They explore fractions and time in more detail as well as geometry and angles. The Montessori materials allow children to gain a concrete understanding or more complex maths such as algebra, cubing and square roots.
Glimpse into CMS
"Do not tell them how to do it. Show them how to do it and do not say a word. If you tell them they will watch your lips move. If you show them, they will want to do it themselves". - Maria Montessori.
The elementary curriculum covers 6 great lessons: The coming of the universe, the coming of life, the coming of humanity, the story of communication, the story of number and the interconnection of all life.
Through this wonderful storytelling method, children become captivated to learn more. They research fossils, single cell organisms, volcanoes, ancient civilizations and so much more. They get exposure to a huge array of science, history and geography as well as PHSE topics. By providing children with the big picture they are able to appreciate that what they have is the result of much that came before them and gets them to question what their contribution to our world will be.