Upper Elementary

Ms. Suzanne Loerch
Suzanne Loerch

The Montessori Elementary Curriculum was designed to meet the needs of the child in the second plane of development, ages 6-12 years old. This dynamic curriculum
5th and 6th graders at Urban Garden Montessori School
 employs the telling of the “Great Lessons”: impressionistic stories of the history of the universe, life on earth and the development of humans and their innovations. These stories are told on a grand scale to excite and engage the imagination of the child. Combined with the prepared environment and manipulative materials that allow the child to be independent in her learning and daily activities, as well as the opportunity to work in partnership with other students on projects and other classroom work, this “Cosmic Curriculum” forms the backbone of the curriculum for the 6-12 year old Montessori student. The upper elementary curriculum continues the curriculum begun in the lower elementary across the many subject areas, allowing the child to move at her own pace from the materials-based work so well-loved in the 6-9 classroom, to more abstract thinking and working as she progresses through the 9-12 curriculum.

The upper elementary language curriculum encompasses the whole of our communication systems, from the earliest attempts by humans to communicate through oral language to “The Story of Writing” to our present day and the ways that we use language and communication technologies. The upper elementary students continue their studies across the curriculum, now in advanced grammar, sentence analysis, and writing: creative, informative, narrative and persuasive, as well as poetry. Word study, spelling, vocabulary, punctuation and capitalization, as well as proofreading and editing skills, cursive handwriting, calligraphy and typing are integral to our program. Junior Great Books, our discussion-based literature program, encourages the free exchange of ideas, while allowing the students to be exposed to some of the great writers and story tellers. 

The upper elementary math program continues the progression through Maria Montessori’s beautifully designed curriculum. Building on the student’s work in the lower elementary class in operations and memorization of math facts, the upper elementary student now grows her understanding of our decimal system with in-depth studies of the hierarchies. Montessori’s great love of Geometry is deeply entwined in the math curriculum, as well, and the student is offered the opportunity to discover many geometric formulae through her exploratory work with these materials. The great lesson of the Story of Numbers brings the history of mathematics to life and introduces the children to the ancient number systems. The math curriculum includes operations of whole numbers, fractions, decimals and percents, multiples and factors, as well as powers of numbers, squaring and cubing, measurement, area and volume, and problem-solving. 

The geography curriculum is the beginning of many areas of study in the elementary classroom, for it is the beginning of the study of our home, the earth. Beginning with the great lesson, “The Creation of the Universe”, the upper elementary curriculum branches off into many areas: detailed studies of the earth and the solar system, the physics of the universe, chemistry, earth science, maps and map reading and making, geography (physical, political and economic), as well as studies of our country, state and city. 

4th grade at Urban Garden Montessori School
The history curriculum is founded in the Great Lesson “The Coming of Life” and the beloved material The Timeline of Life which shows the progression of life on earth from the first prokaryotes existing in the great oceans to the multi-celled life that spread across the surface of the earth. Though the students have been working with this material throughout the early elementary years, it remains an important part of the curriculum in the upper elementary years serving as a departure for key lessons. The biology curriculum grows out of this history work, and in the upper elementary level includes the Tree of Life (the five kingdoms), cells, vital functions of plants and animals, as well as the consideration of the ecology of our earth and its ecosystems.

Continuing the evolution of life on earth, The Timeline of Early Humans traces the origins of human beings and their evolution, while the Timeline of Ancient Civilizations follows the rise of cultures around the world on every continent as humans developed agriculture, language, the fine arts, trade and number systems. The study of these cultures revolves around the Fundamental Needs of Humans. The history of America grows out of the study of migration, incorporating early Native American cultures and American history after the European explorers to the present day, as well as the study of our state of Arkansas.