During the second plane of development there is a great transformation in the child, like a new birth. The child is no longer interested only in himself and his family members but wants to explore society and the world, to learn what is right and wrong, and to explore meaningful roles in society.
“The passage to the second level of education (age 6~12) is the passage from the sensorial, material level to the abstract. A turning toward the intellectual and moral sides of life occurs at the age of seven.” ~Dr. Maria Montessori
Although the passing on of the family values and culture began at birth, it is very important during the years from six to twelve — the curious years — that we avoid no topics of conversation, however controversial. We do not want them to learn about these things from soap operas, TV talk shows, the Internet, and misinformed peers. The child of this age wants to know how everything came to be, the history of the universe, the world, humans and why they behave the way they do. He asks the BIG questions and wants answers. The Montessori elementary teachers role is to guide and facilitate this process of inquiry. We give research tools and send him out into the community with purpose. The teacher designs each lesson using stories, music, impressionistic charts, experiments, and games. The idea is always to inspire.
These and following lessons include such topics as algebra, square and cube roots, geometry, botany and zoology, evolution and classification, chemistry and physics experiments, the history of math and language, grammar and sentence analysis, and so on. The child learns to love these studies because the academic work is continually adapted to the interests of the child; the child comes first, not the curriculum.
Children learn to plan and to be responsible for their own education. Elementary children can work together to do research, plan and execute projects, and share them with other members of the class who are interested. They learn to work in multi-age and multi-ability groups, making use of the interests and abilities of all. This is excellent preparation for adult life in a peaceful society.
From the teacher’s example, the child learns how to teach. This facilitates social development, creativity, and independent thinking. Most important an environment is provided in which the work and concentration of the individual child is respected.
What good is knowledge if not combined with consideration for others? Peace education is interwoven throughout daily activities natural outcome of and educational method where children are happy with the way they are learning. The learn that peace is not just the absence of war, and/or conflict, but the way we treat each other in our daily lives, the way we communicate, and the way we solve problems.
Lower Elementary students are accepted or transition into the environment based on developmental readiness as early as 5 ½ years of age. Students remain in the Lower Elementary environment for a 3-year cycle, until they reach about 9 years of age. Students begin to visit and transition into the Upper Elementary environment based on developmental readiness (as early as 8 ½ years).
Upper Elementary students are accepted or transition into the environment based on developmental readiness as early as 8 ½ years of age. Students remain in the Upper Elementary environment for a 3-year cycle, until they reach about 12 years of age. Students visit and transition into the Adolescent environment based on developmental readiness (as early as 11 ½ years).