The Montessori approach offers a vision of education as an aid to life. It is successful because its principles are based on the natural development of the child. The child is transformed from birth to adulthood through a series of developmental planes. Each level of human development has its own characteristics and the Montessori practice changes in scope and manner to embrace these characteristics and interests.
Primary Level (2 1/2 – 6 years old)
“Period of the Absorbent Mind” is the first plane of development occurs from birth to age six. Children at this age are sensorial explorers; they possess unusual sensitivity and mental powers for absorbing and learning from the environment. The child has a great need and potential for disciplined work as well as a natural desire to learn. To aid the child in this period the Montessori classroom provides a unique range of materials. Under the guidance of a trained Guide, the child chooses materials that encourage exploration and work at his/her own pace. The child’s creative energy is freed and the child develops independence, self-discipline and the habit of work. The environment is divided into five different areas: Practical Life – Learning to care for oneself, for others and environment; Sensorial – Assisting the child in learning about the senses; Cultural – Learning about the world we live in; Language – Developing fine motor, writing and reading skills; Mathematics – Working with precise materials to help the child move from the concrete towards abstraction.
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Elementary Level (6 – 12 years old)
The second plane of development occurs from age six to twelve. Children at this stage become more symbolic learners and have a strong interest in the world around them. The child’s sense of order is less apparent in the physical environment but instead manifests itself in the child’s growing intellect. The child thirsts for knowledge and the reason behind everything. He also has a passion for classifying everything. The trained adult is more active in the elementary classroom, acting as a link between the materials and the child and the pursuit of information and the child. Children at this stage love to work in groups on projects and also discuss the issues of the world. Academic growth develops alongside social and moral development. The curriculum includes: art, crafts, music, cooking, gardening, physical education, Spanish, geography, history, prehistory, earth history, physical science, botany, zoology, mathematics, geometry and language. Subjects are integrated into the day with the exception of Physical Education, which occurs outside the extended work period.
Read more about our Elementary Education program