The Elementary II environment is carefully and thoughtfully designed to provide a well balanced and rich learning experience where students can explore their consciousness and abilities. A nine to twelve year old begins to truly realize that learning is a rewarding means to a full and prolific life. They demonstrate a sense of collaboration, social consciousness, values and morals.
Students in the Elementary II environment persist to perfect and extend the skills already initiated. Daily interdisciplinary lessons integrate social science, physical sciences, geography, language arts, mathematics, geometry, fine arts, community service, physical education, and Grace and Courtesy. The Montessori work is designed to enhance conceptual thinking. Children’s reasoning ability is profound, and they enjoy turning concrete experiences into abstract thoughts, worlds, and mathematical or scientific formulas. All of the necessary tools are provided to bring about knowledge based on experience. The students’ greater abilities to be independent and take initiative are supported by the expansive nature of the curriculum. More independent projects are pursued based on common topics studied. The nine to twelve year old is ready to take overnight field trips that allow for more independence, responsibility and expanded learning opportunities. Trips are closely tied to the subjects being studied in the classroom.
The Elementary II environment entails a new level of independence. Students are guided toward ownership of their education; they choose work, explore their interests, and take responsibility for completing their own work cycles. Children are given free time to collaborate on both self-initiated and teacher-initiated projects. Challenging themselves and experiencing success and failure gives students confidence and competence. They learn what it takes to set and complete a goal.
The Montessori math curriculum includes arithmetic, geometry, and algebra. Students are observed and assessed to determine where on the continuum they fall. Teachers work with students on their level and at their pace, providing ample opportunities for success and challenges, while progressing toward higher mathematical thinking. Students work collaboratively on projects improving their problem solving skills.
The Montessori language curriculum fosters growth and development of receptive and expressive language. Choices of literature complement the study of history, culture, science, and social skills. Comprehension, reading aloud, and group discussion skills are reinforced, and techniques for literary criticism are introduced. Essay writing in different genres is emphasized, along with research and report writing, and creative writing. Sentence analysis and diagramming using manipulative grammar materials continues throughout the language curriculum. Progression in word studies, vocabulary, and spelling continue with higher sophistication.
Elementary II cultural studies include history, science, geography and the arts. Students continue to work toward understanding the interdependence of nature and humankind and examining one’s role in the universe. The science curriculum enhances their experience with the fundamental principles of scientific investigation and strengthens their powers of observation, problem solving, critical thinking, and exploring some of the basic concepts within all fields of science. Many of these principles are learned by student-generated experiments and projects. Service to the community takes on an increasingly important role with the older student. As lessons in Grace and Courtesy continue in conjunction with an emphasis on serving others. This focus helps students understand and accept their responsibilities as members of a greater community, as well as to help them develop a clear sense of values. Elementary II students continue to explore social and moral responsibility. Teachers assure the presence of opportunity for students to grow in their own discovery of core values. Children at this level begin to answer the question, “How do I want to show up in the world?” A connection forms between ideas and principles discussed in class and their own life. That connection then continues toward relating current events to their burgeoning values and deciding for themselves what is right and wrong in the world.