For the already accelerated child, the Montessori elementary classroom provides a smooth transition with an overlap of some material in the first year. However, the elementary objectives are different from those in the kindergarten program. The child is directed toward abstraction, and away from the pedagogical materials.
The curriculum is interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on the association between the different areas of study. For example, the natural sciences lead to the social and physical sciences. All areas of the curriculum are introduced with a “Great Lesson”. These lessons spark the child’s imagination and excite them to learn more.
Unlike many traditional curriculums, Montessori approaches knowledge from a global perspective. Dr. Montessori felt that the study of history should begin with a general view of the universe. She developed a series of experiments that reveal the laws of the universe to the child. After this general understanding, the lessons deal with the origins of life and proceed to the development and history of language, writing, and mathematics.
In math, students are exposed to concrete materials that assist them in mastering abstract operations. The materials enforce the mathematical processes while reinforcing the students’ in depth understanding of the process.
The students in Lower Elementary enter a sensitive period for reading and writing. They appreciate a wide variety of genres, becoming thoughtful and reflective readers. Students are given opportunities to explore different writing styles through a variety of assignments and research opportunities. In addition, they learn to articulate complete sentences and well-developed paragraphs in their writing.
When studying history or geography, Montessori emphasizes the lifestyles of the civilizations: how they work and play, what they wear and eat. Students then proceed to explore museums or other historic sites in their journey to learn and understand.
Students continue their instruction in a foreign language as well as formal art and music instruction; as they are mostly likely to embrace these concepts at an early age.