From the First Plane of development, which Dr. Montessori called "The Absorbent Mind," children grow into a second plane of development known as "The Reasoning Mind."
The Seond Plane offering insite into the Reasoning Mind, Ages 6-12. This is the age of imagination; the Absorbent Mind is no more. Children now feel the need to do the work, actively searching for information and bringing that information together into a comprehesive understanding. "Imagination" is, thus, not limited to inventing creative stories, for instance, but allows a child to "see" the stories told. In the story of the formation of the universe, for example, the child can "see" the formation of stars, the formation of the earth, the volcanos forming earth, the development of life on earth, the early life in the Paleozoic sea, the coming of humans to Earth, the development of language, etc...
Montessori curriculum and BC curriculum are presented in small groups. Prepared materials allow individual practice. Children show their understanding of concepts by sharing their understanding using art, drama or another method of recording. For children in this place of development, our Montessori elementary program provides a beautiful prepared environment, rich in materials that continue to give hands-on experience in all areas of the curriculum:
⦁ Practical Life Skills
⦁ Sensorial Development
⦁ Cultural Studies
⦁ Continue to develop, allowing children to be active in the care of the room, the care of the materials and the care of the schoolyard as well as to organize their own materials and gather materials needed to produce their own work.
⦁ Further develop intrinsic motivation, the joy of choosing work, working until it's finished and self-evaluating. Adults recognize effort rather than offering rewards or looking for errors.
⦁ Now recognize the belonging to the group. Certain graces and courtesies need to continue from preschool. Skills are extended: active listening, responding verbally and suitable body language to the requests or statements of another child or an adult.
⦁ Now continuing to further develop the need to explore with the hands, using different media in art, materials in music to show understanding of work.
⦁ Further develop organizing and classifying skills in personal belongings and work materials.
⦁ Further develop organizing and classifying skills using materials in botany, zoology, history and geography.
Children enter Kindergarden being read to by an older partner, enjoying books, sharing jokes and pictures, tracking words and using known sounds to unlock words. Phonetic skills are used to record stories about their daily life, stories are reread, key words are learned and memorized and progress is made to different levels of reading.
As reading and writing skills develop with specific lessons and daily practice with writing and reading, children progress, are to read the next level of books and are happy with their progress in ability to write more, to read it back and to draw beautiful pictures about happenings in their lives.
⦁ Conventional spelling is noted as a child becomes more proficient at writing phonetically and also is reading fluently. Word books (dictionaries) with commonly used words are used to correct spelling gently.
⦁ Listening and speaking appropriately are practiced. Active listening and appropriate responses are consciously practiced.
⦁ Children are taught how to deal with speak to bullying, how to ask for help and how to help others.
⦁ Skills from preschool are further developed, with the aim to have children "love" math.
⦁ Using 100s boards, building four-digit numbers with golden bead materials, adding, subtracting.
⦁ Chains, counting, placing numbers to 1000.
⦁ Using specifically developed materials to build numbers beyond thousands to 1,000,000.
⦁ Using materials developed to understand fractions, to add and subtract fractions, make equivalent fractions, change to percentages, decimals.
⦁ Materials developed to understand and work with decimals, place value, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.
⦁ Introduce cultural studies with stories of the Big Bang Theory, timelines to show the development of the formation of the universe, the formation of Earth, the development of the life on Earth, the development of humans.
⦁ Classification in Botany, and Zoology.
⦁ Further continent studies, using wooden puzzle maps to show information about British Columbia and Canada.
⦁ Using pin maps to name countries, capitals, flags, large cities, lakes, rivers, oceans, mountains, deserts, islands.
⦁ Organizing these materials and the atlases needed to help with the work.
⦁ World continent studies using atlases and a variety of educational materials.
In Our Montessori Elementary Classroom
The aim of the multi-aged elementary Montessori classroom is to allow children the opportunity to learn, to progress, in all areas in a manner that is individual, respectful and intrinsic in nature. Individual differences are supported. The underlying guidelines for behaviour are:
⦁ A child must "do the work" - no longer can she absorb by watching someone else, and
⦁ A child (or adult) may not interrupt or disturb another person at work.
Materials are self-correcting, beautiful, and respected. Lessons may be done more in groups at this age, but the practice is individual. Friends may work together to solve problems in math, to share books, to enjoy each other's writing or art. They may have a conversation, decide to have a snack at the same time, get a drink of water wen they need to and sign out to the washroom when they need to.
Work mats are used to place materials and workbooks to help a child organize belongings and work materials. Children learn to walk around the mats in order not to upset someone else's work. Talking is quiet in order not to disturb. Visitors comment on how quiet our rooms are, how busy and focused the children are, how polite they are to each other and to visitors.
Work times are three hours long, as Maria Montessori recommended. It is best for children to finish the three year cycle of 6-9 years old and 9-12 years old. Children who complete this cycle are known to be highly skilled in academic areas, well-behaved at school and out in the world (field trips for instance), very independent, confident, able to solve problems alone and in groups and able to work hard at whatever needs to be done.
Progress in work is evaluated individually and reported on in anecdotal style, three times per year, after child-parent-teacher conferences. No grading is done, no homework assigned.