The Elementary lessons and materials are multi-sensory, dramatic, and impressionistic in nature. They are meant to ignite the imagination and curiosity of young students.
The Elementary program is for students between the age group of six to twelve years. This is the time when students need to be guided to channelize their curiosity to learn through exploration, orientation, imagination, repetition, precision and communication. At Airaa, we offer the Spiral Curriculum in Montessori. By doing so, we intend to help the students to understand that:
Each subject is interrelated. One lesson has the possibility of leading to different subjects and this in turn increases the child’s reasoning and analytical skills.
Through this approach, a student learns to make a shift from concrete understanding towards abstract understanding. The curriculum is always offered by giving the students a big picture in order to motivate them to do research. This ensures that they understand all the minute details.
Montessori believes that students working with a three-year period of mixed age group learning increases their social, emotional and intellectual interaction between their peers and mixed workgroups. At Airaa, students spend all three years in one environment (classroom); be it from Grades one to three or four to six. This ensures that they become a part of the community and strengthens a deep bond with their trained adults - teachers.
By ensuring the inclusion of major themes in the curriculum within this three-year time frame, the student studies them again by consciously understanding the concepts. This helps to increase in their levels of abstraction.
The Elementary Montessori Curriculum is dually thematic and integrated. This kind of curriculum helps to merge different subjects like Physics, Geography and History. This is a study of the physical universe along with Biology and Chemistry, which belong to the world of Nature and human experiences. With the Elementary Montessori Curriculum, each lesson in turn leads to multiple new lessons.
The four primary environments in a Montessori classroom are:
Practical Life and sensorial
This environment creates a feeling of independence and helps to create co-ordination and concentration bringing a sense of order by inviting younger students to act and work on real-life tasks. This experience is designed to teach children everyday skills that help them to care for themselves and the environment along with learning respect, which creates a high self-esteem. By learning to use familiar, daily objects, children can confidently carry out daily tasks like eating, dressing and cleaning.
This sensorial experience increases their observation and attention to details, which helps them to identify similarities, and contrasts, thereby aiding their minds to compare, classify and derive conclusions. At a holistic level, it helps the children in understanding life’s experiences and processing information. It also prepares them for the upcoming learning in Math, Language and Science.
Mathematics helps in creating a strong base for the cognitive development in children. It also prepares them to develop abstract thinking through the use of learning materials that help to establish these abstract concepts very clearly. Montessori students are exposed to the study of the basics of Algebra, Geometry, Statistics and Logic along through the use of Unified Math.
Arithmetic is the Science of computing. By using positive real numbers and sensorial experiences, the concepts are instilled into the minds of the children at an early age.
Dr. Maria Montessori refers to language as a ‘psychic organ’, which a child must build from scratch to the whole of Human achievement. In the Montessori method, children learn writing before reading. This helps children to explore drawing and forming of letters. Language is made available to children in natural and exciting form, yet it is controlled as well as playful and in tune with each child. In the language area, a large variety of reading readiness material for phonetic analysis, word attack skills and reading, as well as materials for the refinement of motor control for writing are made available to the children. This continues to be important part of the child’s experience.
Sciences, Geography, and the Arts
The scope of the Montessori science curriculum includes an in-depth preview to subjects like Botany, Zoology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology and Astronomy. This approach triggers the fascination of the Universe in the young minds of children and helps them to develop and interest in the discovery of the world and nature. The Nature Table displays plants, animal and experiments. It helps children to understand the natural environment and introduces them to the concept of Science. This was an area that is meant to create excitement and discovery in the child’s mind. Subjects like History and Geography are introduced to children at an early age of three, while Music, movement education and art are also included, as important parts to the curriculum.
History provides the framework for all the fields of study in the Montessori classroom which prepares children to study it from an analytical and comparative point of view.