Oh, how immense of a transformation that takes place within the child of, what Maria Montessori calls, the second plane of development! Their urge to explore the world, their eagerness to fulfill meaningful roles in society, and their inquisitive minds itching to ask questions, are all vital elements in their ability to tap into all areas of knowledge while developing creative ways to process and explore.
At this level we foster those innate characteristics in many different ways. While we are still working with hands-on materials, the work increasingly becomes challenging. We use the Montessori equipment so the child is able to see and work through the whole process, with much repetition, until mastery is achieved and the next concept is introduced. We incorporate history by diving into topics that relate to current events. We also travel through time as we read classic stories with valuable life lessons. Presenting the past events and introducing various cultures or customs to the children’s seeking minds help them understand changes and similarities that may have taken place. The environment around us inspires learning experiences in science which allows the children to open their box of curiosity to discover possible answers to an array of open-ended questions. Weekly music and art encourage appreciation for a mixture of genres in both areas.
Although we like to include all the subject areas for learning, there are two that heavily outweigh the other subject areas: language and math. These are the two subjects that are considered crucial to our lower elementary curriculum.
Math is all about mechanics and the process. With the use of the Montessori equipment manipulated in such a precise way, from beginning to end, the students will be able to see what they are doing and how they are doing it, as they move towards the end goal. With much repetition they develop and foster their mathematical mind.
Language is essential to all areas of learning. Children go from learning sounds, to learning words and the meanings behind them, to comprehending phrases, then constructing grammatical sentences, to comprehending the thoughts and contexts behind the words they have read.As the children nurture their reading skills, the more fluid they will become, and in turn the success will trickle into other areas of learning such as enhanced success with word problems in math and an even better understanding of geographical or scientific vocabulary.
“Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence.” ~ Maria Montessori