The Elementary program includes a 6-9 group as well as a 9-12 group. When children enter the elementary program from the primary program the move their education from concrete lessons to more abstract concepts. They continue with their individual progress through the curriculum in math and language. There are individual or small group lessons to move them on to the next step just when they are ready. Within a class of 25 children, with the help of a Montessori guide and an assistant, they are responsible for their daily work plan. The work is done with manipulative materials rather than work sheets. Seeds are planted in the young child’s imagination with impressionistic lessons and followed up with activities motivated by the children to create a product to share with the class. In this multi-age environment, younger students are inspired by the older students and the older students reinforce their skills by mentoring the younger students. The curriculum that covers each three year cycle is dynamic and inspiring. The curriculum is integrated in order to help the children make connections and to show how everything is connected and nothing exists in isolation. For example, during the time that the invertebrate phylums in zoology are studied, we introduce the historical perspective of “Time Line of Life” that illustrates how animals evolved in complexity. Time lines are shown in regular intervals of time so here we are looking at millions of years. In math, we explore the concept of a million. At the same time, the ocean biome is explored as the context for the beginnings of life on the planet. Language is used to read more about the subject matter than fascinates us and to write factual “research” papers to share with the class. Art is used to draw life-sized drawings of the animals we study and touches on measurement.
The social community at this age becomes very intentional and interconnected. A culture is established where children take on responsibilities that insure the operation of the classroom on a daily basis. They train others to take their place as jobs rotate. Social issues are brought to the circle to be resolved by consensus. Procedures for the classroom are written by the children and edited as they decide together. Through trial and error, they create a system that works for them and is not imposed from the outside. In this way, there is nothing to resent or rebel against. They learn what it is to be a member of a functional culture of interdependence. They are able to allow their individual personalities to flourish because their community is a place where everyone belongs.