An Environment Designed to Ignite the Imagination
The Lower Elementary Class (ages 6-9)
A child’s education between the ages of six and nine is built upon the foundation created in the primary environment. Dr. Montessori observed that the needs of these children differed from primary children. Children of this age are driven to understand the universe and their place in it. Elementary children have seemingly endless energy for exploration and research. They conduct their work with great joy and purpose.
An elementary classroom must accommodate the unique characteristics of these children. The strongest of which is the development of the reasoning mind. The elementary child has a powerful drive to know the reasons for things. Their questions often begin with “why” and “how.” They are drawn to ideas and enjoy discussions about ideas and logical trains of thought. Dr. Montessori observed that this was the greatest period of intellectual development.
Montessori’s inclusive approach to education fosters a feeling of connectedness to all humanity and encourages children to contribute to their world. Graduates of the elementary program are well-rounded, confident, responsible, joyful learners who are balanced in physical, intellectual, and social achievements.
The child of this age is also highly social, expressing a strong desire to be with friends. In the elementary class, as the child is driven to connect to the social group, all lessons are given to groups of children. This need is supported by the Montessori philosophy, which encourages children to work collaboratively with their peers after the lessons.
The elementary years also begin a period of moral development. A great sense of honesty is associated with a sense of justice and morality. Children want to understand for themselves and use their judgment. They want to know not only, “What are the rules of the game?” but, more importantly, they want to know, “Why are these rules the rules of the game?”
Whole Child Development
Montessori education aims to serve the development of the whole child. The goal is to support each child’s intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development. Elementary studies include geography, botany, zoology, history, language, mathematics, science, music, and art. Further exploration of studies in each area is encouraged through student-planned and student-led small group excursions outside the classroom to community resources such as the library, planetarium, botanical garden, science center, factory, hospital, and historical sites.