Every 6-year-old loves a story. Dr. Montessori prepared the “Great Lessons” to inspire wonder and investigation through the telling of five stories. First year elementary students begin by hearing “The Story of the Universe.” As children ponder the story, questions create more questions. I wonder how many solar systems there are. I wonder how the volcanoes cooled. I wonder….
“The Coming of Life” introduces the history of life on earth, from one-celled animals and plants to human beings. “The Coming of Humans” relates the significance of human beings, their special abilities and what differentiates them from other life forms. “The Story of Communication in Signs’ and “The Story of Numbers” provide a look at human invention as civilizations expanded.
It is from these foundational stories that the imagination is sparked. The elementary-aged child is drawn into an interdisciplinary web of study – science, math, social studies, music and grammar. These are no longer distinct “subjects” to be learned and memorized. They become extensions of the child’s natural curiosity.
You won’t find worksheets or “busy work” in the Montessori elementary room. The specialized Montessori materials have become more complex here, leading the child to abstraction and a broader knowledge of the world.
Our students have myriad opportunities to plan “going-out trips” to the Little Italy neighborhood and University Circle. Unlike a field trip for the whole class, these small-group studies are in response to questions arising from the child’s own research. The community becomes part of the child’s “prepared environment.”
In the Montessori “family style” classroom, older children assume greater responsibilities and help the younger children with both learning and social skills. At all levels, our school maintains Dr. Montessori’s commitment to multi-aged classrooms.
When elementary children are ready to graduate, they have become leaders and crossed the “bridge to abstraction” from primary years. They are moving to the next plane of development – the “age of justice” when adolescents desire to make their place in the world and move into adult society.