In Lower Elementary, social development is one of the main learning tasks of the student. In a Montessori environment, the teacher works with the students’ social needs as well as their academic needs.
Children stay with the same classroom over a 3 year period, giving the student the opportunity to work on projects with other children in a mixed age setting. One example of this is an older child reading to a younger child, occasionally pointing out letters of the alphabet as they read. The older child has the opportunity to develop and reinforce their reading, while the younger develops listening and early reading skills. This is also an important social and friendship building time for both.
This 3 year window also gives students a familiar learning environment, and a structure that lets them build upon their previous experiences, leading from concrete (hands-on) to more abstract learning. The benefit to the teacher is an in-depth knowledge of each student’s personalities and learning styles so that the child’s full potential can be reached while they are guided through the curriculum at their own pace and learn at their individual levels.
Our fully integrated elementary program provides numerous advantages. The student’s curiosity is encouraged by the careful preparation of the environment and the lessons within it. The child participates in meaningful, purposeful activities which helps them see a broader application in real life. This helps them understand why learning is important and how each of the areas of study is interrelated and connected. It also allows them to see how this will apply to them and real life, and how they can impact their community and the world.
... the same successive choices of material do not appear among the children as a whole. Indeed their individual differences begin to assert themselves progressively at this point in their education."
~ Advanced Montessori Method II, Clio, 1997