The basic Montessori philosophy continues with an increase in the growth of independence and problem solving. It encourages a mature sense of justice and fairness; reinforces oral communication and written communication; provides for repetitive experiences in all academic skills; fosters development of imagination and creativity; and provides the impetus for meeting the requirements of New York State as well as those of the Montessori curriculum. The basic components of a Montessori Elementary program are:
1. Individualized Instruction
Learning starts with the child. The Montessori teacher observes the child’s interests and abilities and creates an environment in which these can flourish. An integral part of the Montessori curriculum is that the teacher must respect and follow the child. The teacher’s ability to be effective in this role is enhanced by the extended three-year relationship.
2. The Prepared Environment
In a Montessori classroom, the children are surrounded by concrete materials that enhance and explain what they are studying. In effect, the curriculum is always on display and the children are free to explore their interests in depth. The teachers’ carefully prepared lessons facilitate the child’s use of the materials.
3. Multi-Age Groupings
Every child works at his or her own level. Younger children learn through the observation of older children. Older children reinforce their own learning by helping younger children. Older children also have opportunities to develop leadership skills while serving as role models for the younger children. Cooperation and social responsibility are encouraged and a strong community develops.
The Montessori Elementary curriculum expands the sense of order that was nourished in the Primary environment to study the order of the Universe. Life is everywhere interrelated. Timelines are used to make connections between disciplines. The Montessori interdisciplinary approach to elementary education permits children to view the world around them with a continued sense of wonder.