“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” —Maria Montessori
Students in Upper Elementary are in the second half of the developmental stage known as the second plane of development. As in Lower Elementary, this is an age when children become more aware of and interested in the world around them, and have an intense hunger for knowledge. Children at this age often experience an increase in self-discipline and in their sense of morality. The movement from concrete to abstract thinking continues to progress as the child’s mental powers expand. Logic, reasoning, and imagination advance. Upper Elementary students are eager to use these newly discovered powers to explore the world beyond the classroom, and you will often see them working with our chickens, planting in the garden, and building community in their “forts.”
As in Lower Elementary, the Great Lessons engage students’ imaginations and paint a broad picture to inspire further study. The telling of these stories leads students to studies in mathematics, science, language, history and geography, and art. For example, the First Great Lesson: The Coming of the Universe and the Earth inspires students to study astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, geology, physics, and chemistry. Each Great Lesson teaches by taking advantage of the child’s desire to see the big picture.
The Upper Elementary classroom provides a three-year experience that allows students to lay a foundation and build on it, adding layers of abstraction and understanding of concepts. The mixed-age grouping of the three-year classroom gives younger children the opportunity to have role models to look up to and gives older students leadership opportunities. One way younger students learn is by observing older students working on more advanced material. The older students internalize and reinforce their knowledge by sharing it with others.
The Upper Elementary Community also builds on their previous experience in Music, Visual Art, and Spanish, continuing their knowledge and growth in these areas.