Elementary: 6-12 years
"We are watching her, even after only two days, be excited about school again, planning for the things she wants to learn the next day as soon as she gets home, and seeing her creativity and natural curiosity come back online. It is honestly one of the most rewarding things to see!" -J. McDaniel, mother of a Montessori East elementary child
Montessori East's Elementary Program is dedicated to strengthening the minds, hands, and hearts of children for leading lives of wonder, work, and love. Montessori's plan for the elementary-aged child builds on the foundation established in the primary years and prepares them for the adolescent years ahead. It is designed specifically to meet their developmental needs through a child-centered and whole child (intellectual, social, moral, physical, spiritual) approach. The aim of this program is to nurture the child's natural drive to learn so that their potentialities may flourish:
Self-Reflection - .... self-concept increasingly shifts to one that is relational with a willingness to begin learning more about the human condition and examination of the question "Who am I?";
Independence - … confidence and competence in expanding abilities while mastering new tasks over time;
Curiosity - ... becoming voraciously self-motivated and inquisitive in following his/her interests, from asking "how?" and "why?" to asking “why not?” or “what if?”;
Moral and Social Formation - ... becoming increasingly oriented to the developmental tasks of his/her social roles and sense of justice;
Joy - ... motivation to learn is increasingly intrinsic and grounded in autonomy, interest, competence, and relatedness;
Reverence - ... feeling or attitude of deep respect and awe for the world of nature, history, and the contributions of our ancestors;
Gratitude - ... readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness;
Empathy - ... understanding another person's condition from their perspective to increase prosocial (helping) behaviors;
Self-Determination - ... natural intrinsic tendencies to behave in effective and healthy ways for a life of learning; and
Interdependence - ... developing an increasing awareness of the bonds and relatedness between things.
About Our Community
Our daily routine and rituals provide the structure for putting our core values into action: respect, curiosity and a love of learning. The children enter the classroom independently before saying buenos dias, changing into indoor shoes, socializing, and planning their day. The children are free to choose their own work, ask others for help when needed, and join group gatherings/presentations. We value story telling, singing songs, making music (in both English and Spanish), sharing our interests and work, and going out into the world of nature and society to learn. We do nature study at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center/Greenway and go to the Nashville Public Library to do our research every other week. We marvel at the world around us, and try to find our role as members of both our learning community and the global community.
The children learn responsibility as they attend to their self-determined learning, helping others in their learning, caring for our class reptile, plants and keeping the environment tidy. Each child has a community job/responsibility, which we rotate every week. A pair of children have the responsibility of preparing a light snack for our community once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Our older children (8 - 10 y/o) are mentors to primary aged children (3 - 4 y/o). Our mixed-aged community provides us with many opportunities to develop practical life skills, leadership and learning opportunities, both socially and intellectually.
The three hour morning work cycle flows into community meeting, where we share our joys, concerns, announcements, and work through the issues of the day. We have a peace walk, set our tables, and say blessing before having fellowship and lunch. From lunch we ease into story time, where We may share our own stories or read great literature. We go outside everyday (rain, snow or shine), and rejoice in the changing seasons. Our time outside is an important opportunity for us to connect with each other, nature and play collaboratively. When we come inside, we enjoy a silent time of independent reading before easing into the afternoon work cycle. We end our day with classroom job time and a community meeting. Our day always ends with a farewell song (in a language other than English). Our community is a beautiful place to learn and grow!
The Curriculum - Cosmic Education
Montessori's six year plan for the elementary child is termed Cosmic Education. The curriculum is designed to introduce a vision of the universe to support the child's unfolding mental schema for:
- organizing knowledge systematically;
- discovering the interdependencies and relatedness of all things;
- considering his or her own place and contribution;
- being presented as many seeds of culture as possible; and
- providing a dual environment - that of the classroom, which is prepared to meet the child's developmental characteristics within the children's formed community, and through field studies and service projects that they lead to apply learning in the world of nature and society.
Montessori East's Elementary Cosmic Education Curriculum is naturally integrated with:
Liberal Arts & Humanities - the foundations of the arts, social sciences, mathematics, and natural sciences;
Cultural Literacy - knowledge of the language, history, contributions, and perspectives of different cultural groups, including one's own group, necessary for the development and navigation of more complex and sophisticated literacies;
Creative Design - interdisciplinary and collaborative practice of problem definition and the testing of ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional, where the child adopts learning roles that are challenging, humbling, and reveal new insights;
Going Out (Field Study/Service Learning) - emphasizes critical thinking, practical life, independence, decision making, collaboration, planning, personal/social responsibility, sense of community, and navigating and exploring the world of nature and society;
- Bilingual Education - acquiring the Spanish language, foundations for fluency and literacy in Spanish, and engagement with the cultures of the Spanish speaking world.
Montessori East's Elementary Program Scope of Study
(Please click on the links for more detailed information about our programs.)
number & operations
statistics and probability
history & theory
problem solving & applications
English Language Arts with incremental immersion in learning through Spanish
Practical Life, Character Development, & Going Out
Montessori East chose to integrate second language learning as core to its cultural literacy focus because of the many social and cognitive benefits afforded to the child’s development. Montessori East has specifically chosen Spanish as a second language because it is the second most spoken language in the United States and the second most spoken language in the world behind Mandarin and serves as a foundation for learning other Latin-based languages, such as Italian, Portuguese, French, etc., should they wish to in the future.
Children naturally acquire a second language in much the same way they acquired their first language. By listening and participating in an environment rich in a new language, children assimilate meaning because the new words they hear are in context. A strong social-emotional connection with peers and adults who speak the second language also encourages long-term learning of the new language.
Research on foreign language acquisition shows that children not only develop more vocabulary, but are able to transfer and reinforce their connection between multiple labels of meaning to other disciplines like math, music, science, etc. Bilingual children are able to comprehend differences in culture and understand that there are many possible paths to resolve a negotiation of meaning, or solutions to a problem. These children grow to become adolescents and adults who are eager to understand and take on challenges beyond their comfort zone given the confidence they have developed as bilinguals.
The Foreign Language Offerings at Montessori East
Oral development in the second language - individual and small group lessons in content areas, giving second language vocabulary for concepts already established in the first language, balanced use of both languages for activities, grace and courtesy, practical life, and social contexts when the child is interested.
Readiness for second language literacy - news period (calendar, weather, etc.), question games, storytelling, and literacy development parallel with the Core Knowledge sequence and Montessori literacy curriculum.
A multicultural focus - integration through practical life, sensorial, math, and cultural studies related to history, geography, customs, arts, music, food preparation activities, Going Out and engaging with Spanish speaking communities when able.
We integrate Spanish as much or as little as the children want and individualize instruction based on a child’s abilities and interests.
Eligibility for Admission
The Montessori elementary program is designed mainly for children who have had at least a partial Montessori background during their early childhood experience. To ensure proper functioning of the classroom, all elementary children are expected to be able to choose activities without adult direction, work independently, finish a cycle of work, keep track of their projects, follow classroom norms, participate in classroom discussions, and respect oneself, others, and the environment. A child who doesn’t have a Montessori background, but who demonstrates these abilities, will be accepted into the program on a case by case basis. We require a letter of recommendation from a current teacher, academic records from the child’s current school, and a meeting with the family. MEBE is committed to the inclusion and to the access of a Montessori education to children and families from diverse backgrounds.