The Lower Elementary years are dedicated to the construction of abstract concepts through classroom exploration and individual discovery. As our students advance from Early Childhood, they are ready to take on a more theoretical approach to learning, with the curiosity to question and the imagination to find their own answers. Unlike the Early Childhood environment, where children are introduced to small concepts that gradually evolve into larger ideas, Lower Elementary students assume major theories, and from there they are able to explore the individual concepts that make up a larger framework.
The Lower Elementary curriculum features a classic sequence developed by Maria Montessori during her exploration of these years, titled: “The Five Great Lessons.” As one of the most important and unique curriculum developments of the Montessori design, the Five Great Lessons tell the story of the Universe, the Earth and life on Earth. In succession, these lessons incorporate the following themes: The Elemental Story of the Universe, The Timeline of Life, The Story of Civilization, The Story of Language and The Story of Numbers. As a believer in the child’s ability to progress humanity, the Five Great Lessons teach peace and tolerance. These lessons are presented every Friday to our Lower Elementary students, and can serve as a reference for virtually all other forms of discovery and learning.
As a socially sensitive period, elementary children are looking for a place of their own within the classroom and within a group. Through her observations, Maria Montessori discovered that as children arrive at the second plane of development, they develop a great thirst for social interaction and growth. It is because of this innate thirst that the Lower Elementary students are often given the opportunity to work in groups. Group work fosters communication, collaboration and the habit of contribution. Through friendship and shared interests, children find their capacity to belong.
Lower Elementary truly is an explosive intellectual period, with great focus on human civilization, language and fundamental scientific principles; these are the subjects that guide each student through a journey of discovery. It is a discovery of earth, and the story of our race; and it is through these years of exploration that the elementary student will gain an appreciation for diversity and human heritage, and then find joy in becoming their own person.