The Transition to Abstract Reasoning

From 9 to 12 your child reaches the pinnacle of their mental abilities. Able now to form hypotheses, use logic and reason, and glean information through research to make knowledgeable assumptions and suppositions, your child has reached the point of abstract thinking.

This remains a strong social period, where children’s moral compasses have advanced beyond the idea of simple fairness to a desire to not only comprehend why humans act and react as they do, but to discover ways of solving societal problems.

Students develop both academic and social skills that they will use into adulthood in their professional and private lives, such as working with others, group problem-solving, respectful conflict resolution, leadership, empathy, and compassion.

Building on Lower Elementary foundations

Your child built the foundation for Lower Elementary in Primary, and now in the same way Lower Elementary is the foundation for Upper Elementary.  He has developed concentration, focus, self-guided motivation, and understands his accountability for his work and the foundation of time-management.  The Upper Elementary program inspires and encourages deeper exploration of history, the sciences, geography—the subjects of Montessori cultural studies—in an atmosphere that promotes fervent concentration.  Collaboration, peer instruction, and continued focus on following student interests kindles the flame of inspiration ignited in the Primary and Lower Elementary program

Emerging as an Abstract Thinker

As your child transitions from using the Montessori concrete materials and the hands-on work of the younger students, to the ability to thoroughly conceptualize, he becomes able to think abstractly.  More work is done now with paper and pencil, although the Montessori materials are still in use, supporting your child’s abstract learning.

Progress, Goals, and Accountability

A major component of the upper elementary program is student-driven choice.  Simultaneously, children continue to make progress in all areas of the curriculum.  A minimum of daily work requirements in all areas is established--the student may work as long and as deeply in a subject of particular interest as long as at least the minimum requirement is being met in the other areas of study. Students are accountable for creating their own work schedule and following through on mastering skills. Our Montessori Upper Elementary teachers review student progress, keeping records and providing ample opportunity for student reflection on learning.  Responsibility for key skills of efficiency, planning, and goal-setting continue to be developed through out this period.

Peer-to-Peer Instruction

As Upper Elementary students discover and explore areas of interest--both self-generated and within the context of larger group lessons--they are given opportunities to investigate topics and subjects deeply.  Through written and oral presentations to other students, your child not only shares the knowledge she acquires, but learns from the knowledge other students have gained through their investigation of related topics.  Students take seriously their responsibility in providing guidance to others as the “teacher” of the chosen topic.

Leadership and Service to Others

Having gained the social skills needed to form community, Upper Elementary students delve into leadership and community outreach.  A strong desire to correct social injustices, combined with the proven skills in problem solving developed to this point, give Upper Elementary students inexhaustible enthusiasm for service projects and community leadership.  Our Upper Elementary students form student government, raise funds to support class projects, hold clothing or food drives for needy families, tend school gardens, and foster friendships with elderly residents of a local retirement home. These citizenship skills further nurture and support the drive for independence.

Exploration Beyond the Classroom Walls

Learning about the world is more profound if the learning expands beyond the walls of the classroom.  Outdoor nature studies, field trips, and overnight trips are all important pieces of the curriculum.  Students have a voice in the decisions involved in trip selection and planning, which further supports growth in independence.

Our Rigorous Academic Curriculum

The Upper Elementary program continues to focus on the whole child, with a renewed emphasis on academic development

  • Language Arts
  • Math and Geometry
  • The Cultural Curriculum

Includes reading, literature, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, word study, and writing.  Students explore a variety of reading materials and genres, learning to read and write for both communication and for pleasure. Student writing includes a variety of styles such as personal narrative, memoir, persuasive essay, journalism, and poetry. The Language Arts curriculum is integrated throughout all the other areas of the curriculum.  For example, students read research materials and write research reports in various formats as part of the cultural studies curriculum.

Through use of the Montessori math and geometry materials the students understand how numbers are manipulated throughout the various operations of math, and then apply this understanding as they progress to working without the materials, mastering concepts abstract. Students continue to refine problem-solving skills they have acquired in Primary and Lower Elementary as they explore pre-algebra, geometry, measurement, complex operations, patterns, and probability. 

Covering Biology, Botany, Zoology, Geography, History, Anthropology, Earth Science, Life and Physical Sciences, Chemistry, and Ecology, the Cultural curriculum is central to the Montessori Elementary curriculum. Our Upper Elementary students study the Timeline of Humans, researching and comparing the needs of Man throughout history, to gain an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things.

Our Upper Elementary program incorporates use of computer technology into student research and writing projects.

Upon completion of the Upper Elementary program, your child has reached the end of the Second Plane of development and is ready to begin the Adolescent Program.