“Education between the age of six and twelve is not a direct continuation of that which has gone before, though it is built upon that basis. Psychologically there is a decided change in personality, and we recognise that nature has made this a period for the acquisition of culture, just as the former was for the absorption of environment… Knowledge can best be given where there is eagerness to learn, so this is the period when the seed of everything can be sown, the child’s mind being like a fertile field, ready to receive what will germinate into culture… Interest will no longer be there if the seed be sown too late, but at six years of age all items of culture are received enthusiastically, and later these seeds will expand and grow.… But to give the whole of modern culture has become an impossibility and so a need arises for a special method, whereby all factors of culture may be introduced to the six-year-old; not in a syllabus to be imposed on him, or with exactitude of detail, but in the broadcasting of the maximum number of seeds of interest. These will be held lightly in the mind, but will be capable of later germination, as the will becomes more directive, and thus he may become an individual suited to these expansive times.” Dr. Maria Montessori
Characteristics of an Elementary Child
The elementary child from 6 to 12 years of age:
- a moral-intellectual explorer.
- needs a dual environment, inside school and out in nature and society.
- is developing reason and imagination.
- is learning to be an individual in a social context.
- worships heroes.
- is capable of non-literal thinking.
- searches for truth: why and how of nature and society?
- can use imagination to travel in space and time.
- is attracted by extraordinary.
Elementary Program Goals
We are inspiring and supporting the unfolding mind of the child by implementing global methodologies of Montessori education.
- Keeping children’s curiosity, creativity and discovery.
- Creating an educational environment that promotes mastery of academic knowledge and building a strong foundation for lifelong responsibility, decision making, teamwork, problem solving, critical and creative thinking.
- Supporting the development of the child as an individual in a social context.
- Empowering the natural development of the child, enabling children to become transforming elements of society, leading to a more harmonious and better world.
- Providing a welcoming atmosphere, based on positive relationships, where everyone is respected and valued as a unique personality.
Environment for Big Work
The elementary child continues this exploration of the individual, but now he does it in relation to the larger society. Elementary children are very social and interested in issues such as cooperation, fairness, and decision-making. The reasoning mind of the elementary child (6-12 year olds) such that it searches beyond the surface of things: plans, analyses, predicts and reflects. The imagination enables him to travel in time and space.
The child is interested in the reasons for things, not the things themselves. The elementary-age child no longer simply wants to know “What is that?” He now needs to know “Why?” and “How?” He wants to understand the interdependencies of the subjects he is learning. He is capable of using both reason and imagination to go beyond the concrete and explore the abstract. The child acquires culture, extends knowledge, explores society and must try to understand his place in the group. This is the time when he is interested in the reasons for things, not the things themselves. The child explores the universe of objects and ideas in time.
There is a need to be active in using their skills for others and society. We give focus and purpose to the child’s natural desire to group. Group lessons, work and discussions are important components of the learning process. Various social skills are necessary to make collaboration work. Children learn skills and tools that encourage cooperation, a chance to govern themselves as a class, and solve their own problems.
Our Elementary Classroom
At the lower elementary level, lessons are primarily presented through the use of Montessori materials and exercises in both Bulgarian and English language. The transition to more abstract thinking and the reliance on books and other research materials begins at this level and continues throughout the elementary program. The Upper Elementary program continues to focus on language for communication, mathematics, geometry, history and science. Although grammar is never taught in isolation, students are introduced to more complex language structures, which prepare them for middle and high school language programs. The curriculum is inter-disciplinary; no subject is taught in isolation.