Let us give the child a vision of the whole universe. All things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. This idea helps the mind of the child become fixed, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge.
- Maria Montessori on the curriculum for the Elementary level
Adults who visit our Lower Elementary environments are often surprised to see a space that seems a lot like the type of modern, creative office they'd like to work in: lots of natural light, soft music in the background, ample room for work independently or in groups, and an overview of the day's objectives. Not to mention a full kitchen where hot lunch can be prepared!
These students have entered the phase Maria Montessori termed the second plane of development, where they have gained new powers of imagination along with the ability to think in a more reasoned and abstract way. They learn through doing, through trial and error, by experiencing how and why things function the way that they do, and that is the basis for their work.
Each year of the Lower Elementary three-year cycle, students explore a variety of courses, concentrating on math, science, language, technology and the interdisciplinary studies of art, music, dance, drama, and physical education. Here is a look at what happens on a typcial day.
9:15 Morning circle where the class gathers to read the day's schedule and hear any morning announcements. Students fill
out their work record with ongoing work to complete and the lessons for the day.
10:30 The work cycle is underway. Children are free to use the outdoor space to work as well as gardening projects on particular days. The library is available to children when they have exhausted the classroom books.
2:00 Finishing up readling aloud (done daily) and Spanish lessons, students get ready to go outside for Physical Education. During the morning work period, a few students help to prepare, present and clean-up snack for the class.