The Senior Elementary level leads to greater abstraction — more writing, dialogue, and skill in the process of research based exploration. Students naturally want to learn about language and humanities because it is an area they are learning and developing for themselves in their own social interaction. Communication is a strong social need at this level, as is the enthusiasm to understand more about the immediate and broader worlds of which they are a part.
The term “self-propelled interest” best describes this level of Montessori education. The fundamentals for research, abstraction, purposeful and meaningful socialization, appreciation and understanding of interrelated, open-ended learning fuse together at this level. Students at this age are dramatic and full of wonder and ideas. The curriculum supports their high enthusiasm. History and geography take students on journeys that explore human origins and civilizations both locally and throughout the world.
In-depth study, open-ended research, and the capacity for abstraction–foundations laid the lower elementary– synthesize and expand at the upper elementary level, where developmental changes are profound and rapid. Concepts and impressions that sparked student’s enthusiasm earlier now engage these students in dynamic, interactive and extended learning projects. These children are enthusiastic, morally sensitive, and have a great capacity for empathy.
These attributes give expression to the quality and creativity of studies pursued by students across the Senior elementary curriculum. Such curricular investigations include explorations of civilizations and cultures throughout history, throughout the world, and into North America and California, advanced math concepts in fractions, decimals, algebra, square and cube root, area and volume, development of both creative and research writing, weekly novel discussions, indoor and outdoor physical and life science experience, continuation in Spanish, music, art and technology for sixth year students. This inclusive approach to education, fosters a connectedness to all humanity and nurtures their natural desire to make an individual contribution to the world.
The “Senior El” as it is referred to, is a dynamic, interactive learning “laboratory” which provides a significant link along the Montessori learning continuum and lays the foundation for the challenging curriculum of the Middle School.