Whereas children from birth to age six are gathering facts, children in the second plane need to know why, how and when. The years from six to twelve, then, are the time for cosmic education understanding and exploring the interdependence of everything in nature. There is an eagerness to know and understand the reasons for things, to learn details about subjects, to explore moral questions, and to form close associations with others. The elementary program builds on information presented in the primary level. With each year in Montessori, children go into greater depth in their studies. Dr. Montessori described Montessori education as an inclined spiral plane of integrated studies. It is an integrated thematic approach that ties the separate disciplines of the curriculum together into studies of the physical universe, the world of nature, and the human experience.
At Providence, children ages six to nine enroll in one of the three lower elementary classrooms. Small class sizes with two teachers provide an environment where children thrive. As in the primary level, students ages in all classrooms span three years. Gender distribution is maintained when possible.
Since this is such a social time in a child’s development, there are ample opportunities to practice sharing, helping others, problem solving, leadership and conflict resolution skills. Children in each class brainstorm classroom rules that they feel are necessary for a peaceful learning environment. They take personal responsibility for following these rules.
Children use work lists as guidelines to plan and organize their workday. While there are daily individual and/or group lessons, the children also work independently or in cooperative groups. Specialized materials and curriculum promote learning in language, mathematics, science, geography, history and fine arts. In addition, teachers in art, library, music, physical education and Spanish provide weekly lessons. Children also hone practical life skills through activities such as snack preparation, setting up and cleaning up after lunch, cleaning the classroom, embroidery, sewing and gardening.
The elementary program offers a full-day of classes from 8:15 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.