What do the children do each day in the Junior Primary environment? What is the curriculum?

Montessori International College follows the national curriculum, but it’s delivered in a Montessori way – with purpose and meaning.

In the Junior Primary School (Years 1 to 3), learning is centred on the unique needs of children between the ages of 6 and 9. Our teachers serve as guides for the children’s explorations as they acquire skills, pursue interests, and develop their unique potential. Ignited by the materials and lessons, these children use their imagination and reasoning minds to widely and deeply explore the universe. The Great Lessons offer inspiration and open doors to new areas of investigation.

You walk into a room of our Junior Primary children and you stand in wonder as you observe the social dynamics of children working productively in a busy environment.  One child is quietly concentrating on the checkerboard to learn long multiplication, nearby two others are resolving a conflict at the peace table, while another small group is planning a ‘going out’ to the planetarium relating to their recent study of the solar system.  The variety of subject matter being explored is interconnected and feeds the individual needs of the child as a whole.

This is a normal day in a Montessori Junior Primary classroom.

The morning opens with each child using their personal diary to plan and organise their day.  They can choose to repeat a given presentation, request a new lesson or make new learning discoveries.  There is a continuous flow of children moving within and outside of the classroom. They are given the freedom to do yoga, garden or jump rope in the outdoor environment in order to develop deep concentration in their work.

The drawing of a map of South America becomes a study of the continent; a child becomes interested in the customs and culture of Brazil and digs deeper until she discovers the Amazon forest and the nearly extinct Golden Lion Tamarin Monkey.  She is so excited she can’t wait to share her knowledge with her classmates and prepares a presentation on her discoveries.  In our classrooms children turn real-life experiences into ideas and concepts, so they can make sense of the world they live in. It’s hands-on learning.

Our children discuss, scrutinize, question, unearth, make friends, play, resolve conflicts, and grow.

It’s Schooling Reimagined.

What are the Great Lessons?

Dr. Montessori and others developed the Great Lessons as an introduction to all topics, providing a ‘big picture’ to demonstrate how the sciences, art, history, language, geography are interrelated. Through the Five Great Lessons, children become aware that the universe evolved over billions of years, and that it is based on particular laws that order the ways in which all the plants, animals, and the rest of creation is maintained.

The Five Great Lessons are traditionally presented in early primary (6-9 years) using impressionistic stories, and are presented every year so that children see them more than once. Unlike the 3-6 environment, where the child is introduced first to “small” ideas that gradually widen into larger concepts, the primary child is introduced right away to large concepts – the largest of all being the beginning of the universe. With this ‘big picture’ in mind, junior primary children have a larger framework on which to hang smaller ideas as they discover them in their independent research.

There are Five Great Lessons that are used to paint a broad picture before moving to more specific study:

First Great Lesson: the Coming of the Universe and the Earth

Second Great Lesson: the Coming of Life on Earth 

Third Great Lesson: the Coming of Human Beings 

Fourth Great Lesson: the Development of Written Language

Fifth Great Lesson: the Development of Number Systems and Mathematics

Do MIC students do the NAPLAN testing? How well do MIC students do on the NAPLAN?

Yes.  Montessori schools participate in NAPLAN to comply with regulatory requirements and children sit the tests as another classroom (practical life) activity. Most educators agree that the NAPLAN tests are a snapshot on a particular day rather than an assessment of the total development of the child. Montessori schools focus on the total development of the child – physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. The NAPLAN results only focus on numeracy and literacy and as such cannot provide a comprehensive measure of a school’s effectiveness.

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