Montessori Primary School Environment
“The child will develop a kind of philosophy which teaches this unity of the universe; this is the very thing to motivate his interest and to give him a better insight into his own place and task in the world and at the same time presenting a chance for the development of his creative energy.”
Dr Maria Montessori
6 - 12 years old:
Acquisition of Culture
and the Cosmic Plan
Dr Maria Montessori refers to this stage as the age of intellect, social justice and development of the reasoning mind.
This Montessori primary environment is a springboard for the child to understand the universe through cosmic education. At its core, cosmic education tells the story of the interconnectedness of all things. It is comprehensive, holistic and purposeful in order to encompass the development of the whole person within the context of the universe.
Much of the children’s learning is guided through active, concrete, hands-on experience and story telling.
The guide’s (teacher) role is to facilitate and support the education process with the child. The learning environment is arranged into different areas including Language, Mathematics and Culture, where the children are able to move around freely and work in their area of choice following their individual weekly plans.
The Characteristics of the Four Planes of Development and What This Means
Often parents have uncertainty as to whether their child is ready to move into the next environment. How will you know? How is it that the teachers know for certain? Why isn’t it the same for all children? By looking at characteristics that children display in the four different planes of natural development, a Montessori school is able to answer these questions, to best support your child and be an ‘aid for life’.
What does this mean?
There are fundamental characteristics children display from the time they are born until they reach maturity and become an adult. These characteristics are universal, regardless of gender, culture, race and have occurred throughout the eras. Each of the planes are so different, that we need to teach them accordingly, as they have different ways of learning, responding to the environment and thinking, in order to best serve their developmental needs.
As a parent, you may have heard the phrase “We follow the child” when referring to how we teach in a Montessori primary environment, but how exactly do we do this?
In order for us to follow the child’s natural path of development and enable them to become an independent and integrated person we need to know and understand the child. One of the ways in which we meet each child’s developmental need is through understanding and meeting their human needs and tendencies. As human beings we all have basic needs that have to be met in order to ensure our survival. These include material needs such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and protection as well as spiritual needs such as arts, culture, and religion.
Along with our needs humans have certain tendencies that help us to meet these needs and better ourselves. Tendencies are our predisposition to act or think in a certain way. These tendencies are universal for all human beings throughout our lives, but they will manifest themselves in different ways depending on factors such as our age or the culture in which we live. Maria Montessori observed these tendencies that guide our behaviour and development and realised that they were crucial to the development of the child.