As at all Montessori levels, the Upper Elementary program is based on the belief that children learn best through movement and work with their hands, and provides cognitive, social, and emotional support to help them reach their full potential. This includes addressing their needs as they enter a new period of development characterized by a transition from concrete to abstract thinking, growing interest in socialization, thinking and memory that is enhanced by creativity and imagination, and an interest in fairness, social justice, and compassion.
The classroom is a happy community. Students are focused. They take joy in their work. They invent, explore, experiment, confer, create, prepare snacks, and curl up with books; sometimes they might even reflect in a peaceful, meditative corner. Meanwhile, teachers circulate throughout the room, observing the students and making notes about their progress, ever ready to offer support or introduce new material, as appropriate. Expectations are both exquisitely clear and engagingly open-ended.
The spiral curriculum of the Montessori Upper Elementary program exposes students to many interrelated topics repeatedly over six years. With each repetition, children build on the knowledge they have about a topic, delving deeper into the details, seeing the connections more clearly, and ultimately developing a deep understanding of our complex world.
Upper Elementary is an exciting time for students, beginning a stage where they can express their independence and be “old enough”. They are on their way to building a strong academic rapport and display their independence, developing a higher sense of self-confidence. Learning soon becomes more rooted in a formal curriculum, readying the child for the future. Although academics are the key priority, students continue to enjoy a well-rounded approach to learning through hands-on, student-focused materials, and extracurricular activities.