Skip to main content

The Montessori Elementary

As Henry is finishing up his first year of lower elementary (ages 6 to 9, or grades 1-3 in the U.S.) I've had Montessori elementary on my mind a lot lately. It's been a big shift from the Montessori primary environment that I've become so familiar with over the last several years. That's not to say the change hasn't been a good one, just a change!

Information and resources on Montessori Elementary programs

I can't speak for every Montessori elementary program, but I think the change has more to do with the shift of the child into the second plane of development than it does anything else! Just like in the Children's House, the Montessori elementary classroom seeks to meet the developmental needs of the children in the community. Maria Montessori said, "Education between the ages of six and twelve is not a direct continuation of that which has gone before, through it is built upon that basis. Psychologically there is a decided change in personality, and we recognize that nature has made this a period for the acquisition of culture, just as the former was for the absorption of environment." 

Practically, this shift means that Montessori elementary programs can include different elements than a children's house. Some characteristics of the Montessori elementary include: 
  • Great Lessons - The imagination of the child is especially strong in this period of development, and children in the elementary years respond to storytelling in a very unique way. As a result, stories (often called the Great Lessons) are used to introduce different academic and cultural concepts. These include the creation of the universe, the story of life, the fundamental needs of humans, among others. 
  • 3 Hour Work Cycle - Children still work in 3 hour work cycles where they have the choice to pick the work they will engage in during that time. 
  • Student-Guide Conferences - Children and Guides work together to set goals and monitor progress of each individual student. This can look differently depending on the individual and the guide, but the basic idea is that they work together to meet the children's individual needs and interests. It might be a time to set goals, it may be a time to see if a child has mastered a concept, or if a child needs a new lesson. 
  • Freedom of Movement - Children continue to have and need the freedom of movement in an Elementary environment, while table work is common (especially small groups of children), children also have the freedom to move around their class, chose work and move their body
  • Collaboration - Because of the collaborative nature of children in the second plane, there is a lot more collaboration between children in a Montessori elementary. Children may create a project and work on it together, or they may choose to work with a friend. Lessons are often given in small groups, and the Great Lessons are given to the group. 
  • Going Out - Elementary programs should not be limited to their classrooms! Children have a need to be out in the community. Children plan, organize, and participate in field trip and community outreach in the Montessori elementary. Ideally children would be responsible for every aspect of the planning and implementing of these trips. 

If you are looking for some more information about Montessori elementary programs or children, here are some resources:

Do you have other resources for Montessori elementary learning? I would love to hear them! 


taquid said…
Thanks for you great article. I will start next September/October with elementary at home. I am looking for all information possible and in portuguese which is very difficult to find. Your article is really a great source. Diana

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2021

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. Puzzles, in particular, have been difficult to find in stock. So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, bu

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Our Family's Montessori Christmas Gift Lists 2021

It's hard to believe another holiday season is upon us again. Every year I enjoy putting together my kids' Christmas gift lists. It's really a good time to observe them, see what they are interested in and what they might be ready for during this coming year. It's one of the few times a year that I purchase new materials for our home so it's always really exciting. IF YOU NEED MORE IDEAS DON'T MISS MY ULTIMATE MONTESSORI TOY LIST OR MY 2021 DEALS PAGE ! When considering these lists, please remember that these were curated based on my own children. Use them for inspiration but they are heavily influenced by what my children are into and interested in. And for my older second plane children, what they have asked for!  Here's a look at our family's Montessori Christmas lists for 2021!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore (Toddler) Teddy is just over 2-years-old. Being our fourth baby, he is really hard for me to think of unique