In Montessori, a Lower Elementary class is for children ages 6 to 9. While in a traditional classroom these children would be assigned to first, second, and third grades, our Pocatello Montessori Elementary classroom allows children within these age groups to work together. Children develop academically at various paces. With mixed age groupings, children can work at their own level even if they are ahead or behind their age peers.
In most cases, the children who make the smoothest transition to the Lower Elementary classrooms have been in a Montessori preschool learning environment. However, for children who have not had the benefit of a preschool Montessori education, the teacher will work one-on-one with them to ensure they are able to transition well to our program.
The Lower Elementary program follows a full-day schedule, starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 3:00 p.m. on weekdays. We encourage you to visit Pocatello Valley Montessori to see how children engage and learn in our Lower Elementary environment.
Core Skills Developed in the Montessori Lower Elementary Classroom
Bringing different ages together in our Pocatello Montessori school creates more opportunities for students to cooperate, socialize and learn from each other. Often older students will help younger students in their activities or skills. This exposes children to multiple ways to use a skill or approach an activity, and reinforces the core concepts and skills for both the student learning the skill and the student demonstrating it.
In the Lower Elementary classroom your child will develop these important skills:
- Accepting direction
- Working in a cooperative learning atmosphere
- Engaging all of the senses in specially designed materials
Our Montessori curriculum provides your child freedom and choice in his and her journey for knowledge. As your child explores and studies works and subjects through self-correcting materials, the teacher observes and keeps record of his and her daily work. His or her Montessori teacher then formulates individualized learning plans to help your child to experience and master all of the classroom works.
A Typical Day in Our Lower Elementary Classroom
Maria Montessori referred to her classrooms as Children’s Houses because she created a second home for her students. On his or her first day of school, your child enters an environment that has been carefully prepared for them. Children are taught lessons of grace and courtesy in accordance with the curriculum so that they can participate peacefully and cooperate with one another through the classroom.
On a typical day, your child enters the classroom, removes outdoor clothing and shoes, and changes into classroom slippers to help him or her prepare for the learning environment. The classroom guide begins with circle time to engage the children in movement, music, and literature as well as introduce new classroom works.
As your child transitions into the work period, the Montessori teacher moves through the classroom and observes the works of all children, taking time to introduce new lessons that capture the interest of each individual child. Your child’s work is not interrupted as he learns to analyze his work, his results and correct himself. If your child is unable to master a work, the teacher will reintroduce it and work through it until the student can complete it independently.
We use specific and peaceful guidelines to redirect negative behavior (refer to Redirecting Children’s Behavior by Kathryn J. Kvols). At the close of the work period, children come back to the center of the classroom to prepare to leave the work environment.
The classroom is stocked with beautiful Montessori materials. Typically, there is only one of each material in the classroom. It is one way that our students learn to work together as a community. If one student is using the Golden Bead material, the other children learn to wait until it is available. The student using the material learns to be sensitive to the needs of others. Children practice patience, time management, and communication. Typically the materials stay in the classroom. Generally, Montessori students do not have homework.
We encourage families to do things together and for children to play outside during the after-school hours. We expect that children are reading regularly on their own and also being read to each night. We recommend that children read 20 minutes per day. We recommend the work of Jim Trelease.