Dr. Maria Montessori developed a philosophy that embraces the whole child and children's natural curiosity and passion for learning. She believed that, when provided the space to work with concrete materials in an intentionally prepared environment with an open-ended curriculum, children can reach their highest possibility, academically and socially. The Montessori program for students ages six to twelve, the elementary years, is an individually paced curriculum designed to challenge children academically while developing and protecting their wellness and sense of self.
At this level, elementary school students are engaged members of a respectful community, learning to ask questions, consider critically, and take their learning into their own hands. The Montessori Elementary program aims to provide academic, cognitive, and social support to help young learners reach their full potential.
Within the Elementary school, the curriculum develops upon the foundation built in the Montessori Early Childhood program. The Montessori Elementary curriculum contains the following areas of learning; practical life lessons, math, language, cultural studies, science, and social studies. At the Elementary level, skills shift from focusing on fine motor skills to skills that allow children to discover their interests, manage their time, and participate in society.
Elementary level students are developing math skills like number concepts, place value, numerals, and related quantities. They strive to master linguistic conventions through grammar, spelling, and mechanics studies. Furthermore, students will analyze what they read and are encouraged to think critically about literature within Elementary school. Cultural and science studies continue from lower levels and integrate geography, geology, zoology, botany, physical and life sciences, and anthropology, among many other subjects. Through these lessons, children explore the interconnectedness of all things and discover what they are passionate about learning.
Influence on Cognition
Dr. Montessori noticed in her studies on education that correction and praise from adults disrupted the concentration of children, which is essential for their cognitive development. Dr. Montessori's philosophy states that children learn best through unrestricted investigation of their environment. Identifying developmental stages in childhood and cognitive development is paramount in early childhood education today, whether it is a Montessori program or not.
In a Montessori Elementary program, teachers work to maximize their students' cognitive development during transitional or sensitive periods by closely observing the child, noting their interests and developmental level in each area. Once observations are complete, the teacher presents the student with tailored lessons and the appropriate materials.
Influence on Social Development
The Montessori philosophy seeks to elevate students on all levels, including socially. Creating multi-age classrooms grouped according to planes of development allows children to learn from their older classmates and, later, a chance to act as a model themselves, teaching their newly mastered academic and social skills to younger classmates. As the children progress through Elementary school with the same classmates for three years, a stable and supportive community develops.
Teachers, too, develop a deep connection with each of their students at the Elementary level, with teachers serving as a model of responsibility, compassion, and respect. Through this, students learn how to interact with others commendably. Elementary students become part of a bustling community, each with their individualized learning goals and interests. Many different social skills develop from this type of exposure, such as tolerance, acceptance, and kindness.
The Montessori experience is incredibly influential on its students, especially at the Elementary stage, where children are becoming young adults and learning about themselves, others, and the world. The Montessori philosophy supports students on each of these fronts, helping to encourage and grow the whole child.
The Montessori Charter School of Flagstaff was the first school in Arizona to have its application for a charter approved by the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. We offer an academic program that identifies and encourages each child’s individual social and emotional development. Visit our blog to learn more about our method or reach out today to begin your journey with The Montessori Charter School of Flagstaff.