Lower Elementary Curriculum
Covering ages 6 to 9 years old, the Montessori curriculum in this stage maximizes the exploration, creativity, and independent learning innate in each child. The environment of the lower elementary stage of learning is full of opportunity to connect with nature, their inner world, and also their outer world.
Continuing on concepts taught on the primary years, the language arts curriculum remains to instill in the student things such as grammar symbols and sentence analysis among other concepts. In order to further enhance their understanding of language and their ability to communicate effectively, the student in this stage continues to master the skills related to writing, reading, penmanship, word study, the mechanics of writing, and overall grammar.
Mathematics in the lower elementary continues the work that began in the early childhood environment. The student will continue to explore the basic math facts and the four operations through the use of hands on materials. This allows the students the opportunity to work from simple to more complex and abstract arithmetic concepts. Larger numbers and place values are grasped in a very concrete manner. The exploration continues through the concepts of math, fractions and geometry. They also gain a full understanding of the practicality of fractions and the operations involving fractions. They use hands on materials in order to grasp these complex ideas through their manipulation. The concepts are presented from a concrete sensorial perspective in order to ensure a full understanding of the topics covered.
Moving from the concrete to the abstract understanding of our planet, students study the physical environment of the earth through maps, the study of the sun, the study of the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the lithosphere. Through these studies the student will gain an appreciation for the beauty of the world. It will also be evident through the lessons the power of nature, and also the fragility of our ecosystem. This area of the Montessori curriculum also instills a sense of responsibility for “where” and “how” we live as human beings.
In this area of the lower elementary Montessori curriculum, the student will focus on the people in regions of the earth, and the different lenses through which one can view the world. Each of the continents is explored along with their people. Cultural celebrations, political borders, and the use of the natural resources of the earth are also studied in this section. Emphasis is also placed on the way different countries and industries change with the way in which people immigrate.
This area of the Montessori curriculum concentrates on the discussion of timelines, both of life and of people. Civilizations are introduced in this stage. Besides the common factors that make up a civilization, the study of the common needs of people and how they have applied these needs to their own time and human experience is studied.
This explores the fascination that every student has with nature. Exploring plants and their functions are activities that will happen in this stage. The importance of plants is linked to life sustainability. Finally, the students are presented with a microscopic study. This final experiment introduces the student to the wonder of microorganisms and introduces the microscope as an indispensable scientific tool.
Animal classification and organization are at work in this part of the curriculum. Beginning with the overview of the animal kingdom, the student starts specific animal classifications. Through engaging lessons students are taught not only about animals and their specific organization system, but also about the interdependence of life.
Matter and Astronomy
In this part of the curriculum, students are mesmerized by the power of a tiny atom. They explore the mysteries of the universe and are able to answer many of the questions regarding "how" our visible and invisible world came to be.
This area presents the students with the information needed in order to gain the skills necessary to take care of themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Here, the students will learn about the interdependence and interconnectedness of living things. In essence, this communicates to the students the idea of learning the skills necessary to become peaceful citizens of the world.
Advanced Practical Life
Since the student was introduced to practical life in the early stages of his or her education, this is a continuation of that area in the Montessori curriculum. Advanced Practical life lessons will bridge the environment from the early childhood years to elementary experiences. Most of all, this section is very important because it can become a cornerstone in fostering a healthy independence within the child.