Upper Elementary (9 - 12 years)

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“An inner change has taken place, but nature is quite logical in arousing now in the child not only a hunger for knowledge and understanding, but a claim to mental independence.”

Dr. Maria Montessori

Overview of the Upper Elementary Program

The Upper Elementary program works to refine cognitive skills gained at the lower level by applying their foundational knowledge in practical ways. The understanding of mathematical operations and geometry are being used to create structures and solve real world problems. The gains made in reading skills now allow the student to evaluate and interpret novels or synthesize research materials. Hands-on materials continue to be used to introduce new concepts and develop a deep, lasting impression of advanced ideas.

Our program remains focused on independent work habits, self-direction, and individual progress. Students create weekly work plans based on current concepts being studied, prioritizing to meet deadlines and balancing a variety of content areas. As students demonstrate mastery, advanced lessons are given to individuals or small groups in order to provide new challenges and maintain interest. Cultural subjects are taught to the entire class, and students present follow up information to one another after initial lessons. In the Upper Elementary, the advancement of executive functioning skills, such as planning and completing tasks, problem solving, and logical reasoning, are stressed and developed through daily activities. To this end, students are asked to reflect on their progress and develop individual goals regularly. They are also active participants in parent-teacher-student conferences, where they present an evaluation of their progress in the classroom.

At this stage, students take more ownership and responsibility for the community. With a developmental need to become an integral, active part in the communities of which they are a member, our students take a lead role in the management of the classroom with discussions and committee work. They divide up the work load during class fundraising projects and create procedures for the classroom based on consensus. When working on academic projects, they are often divided in small groups to develop their skills with delegation and compromise. Continued service to others is stressed in our classroom through collaborative learning and peer teaching and in the school community through programs like Reading Buddies and fundraiser pizza/hot dog lunches, where students lend their skills to other classrooms for academic support or community development.

Learn how the Montessori elementary years, ages 6 through 12, prepare children intellectually, emotionally, and socially to navigate the next stage of their education through this video prepared by the national Association of Montessori Schools (AMS).