What is Montessori for the 9-12 year-old?
Primary children, typically, can be characterised by their questioning minds, their ability to abstract and imagine, their moral and social orientation and their unlimited energy for research and exploration. They move from the concrete through their own efforts and discovery to the abstract – thus greatly expanding their field of knowledge.
In a research style of learning, elementary children work in small groups on a variety of projects which spark the imagination and engage the intellect. Lessons given by a trained Montessori teacher direct the children toward activities which help them to develop reasoning abilities and learn the arts of life.
Having typically mastered the skills of reading and self-expression in the junior primary years, the hunger for cultural knowledge explodes in the senior primary sub-stage in a quest to understand the world built both by nature and humankind. The senior primary child demonstrates more developed powers of abstract thought and reasoning and a more robust physical strength with which to take on the world. The child of this age is even more focused on their peer group, and with their greater powers of abstraction come a more intense need to explore questions of morality and to build community that is organized consciously in terms of rules and a deliberate division of labor.
Children, at this age, are driven to understand the universe and their place in it and their capacity to assimilate all aspects of culture is boundless. Elementary studies include geography, biology, history, language, mathematics in all its branches, science, music and art. Exploration of each area is encouraged through trips outside the classroom to community resources, such as library, planetarium, botanical garden, science centre, factory, hospital, etc. This inclusive approach to education fosters a feeling of connectedness to all humanity, and encourages their natural desire to make contributions to the world.