There are so many people who know all about the Montessori Primary system. They’ve seen the sandpaper letters, the golden beads, the pink tower and brown stair, and love the practical life activities (which they easily transfer into their own home). While the Montessori Primary system is truly revolutionary in terms of what even our youngest students strive to achieve, the true beauty of Montessori is often not realized until the students get to the Lower Elementary level. Of course, the question must be asked, “What’s so great about Montessori Lower Elementary?” In short, everything!
At the Lower Elementary level everything that the students have been working on for the past two or three years is becoming realized. In math, they begin working with the materials doing complex mathematical operations--4-digit dynamic addition, subtraction, multiplication, division; adding and subtracting mixed fractions with common denominators; and analyzing the 7 triangles of reality. They discover all parts of speech, begin analyzing sentences with compound subjects and predicates, learn how to classify concepts, and discover compounds, antonyms, and synonyms. They become scientists and classify the living world, learn about the five classes of vertebrates, and learn about the biomes around the world. And, all of this, is just in the FIRST GRADE. Once again, it’s just the jumping off point. From then on, it’s simply a matter of allowing the student to fly!
It is in Lower Elementary that the boundaries for a student’s imagination are completely lifted. No number is too big, no concept is too complex, no challenge is too great. This is when the student, who has been working with long division using the racks and tubes asks if she can make a problem that goes longer than the page. This is when the second year student, who has a passion for chemistry, begins to discover the elements of the Periodic Table and can tell you characteristics of each of the families. This is when the five senses simply become a jumping off point for a poem that touches the imagination of everyone who reads it. And, this is when the students realize that the sky truly is their limit. What better place for a child to explore the world than in a classroom where the world is simply waiting for them to discover it.