Upper Elementary Program

Formative, or observational assessment, is also used in Upper Elementary to determine the best path forward for each child’s academic development. Upper Elementary teachers also introduce summative assessment, assessing each student’s learning by evaluating it against an appropriate standard or benchmark. This can include things such as working with rubrics, taking quizzes and tests, and meeting due dates for assignments. Summative assessments offer students an objective tool with which to evaluate their own work, as well as information which can be used by teachers in determining the pace and direction of each child’s academic path.

Respect for the Child

The elementary years are a time of steady growth for children. Having completed the rapid changes of their first six years, 6-12 year olds begin to look outside of themselves toward the elements of culture which surround them. Their knowledge in areas such as geography, history, and science expand rapidly, as do their skills in math and language, through which they express their growing knowledge.

Respect for the child at this age is to help them form important foundations of independence, allowing them to engage more fully in complex environments. Our teachers strive to offer students knowledge about the world around them, to encourage their own curiosity, and to help them develop into lifelong learners.

Community Building and Emotional Growth

Real independence at this age also has much to do with successful functioning in a community environment. As a group, our teachers and students emphasize the importance of communication in building and maintaining social cohesion.

Teachers and students regularly practice strategies for emotional and community growth, including class meetings, problem solving/conflict resolution conversations, and general habits of grace and courtesy.

The Prepared Environment of the Elementary Classroom

Our elementary classrooms are prepared and maintained in order to provide an optimal experience for our students.
Montessori materials and information resources reflect different areas of the curriculum:

Practical Life

Practical life materials in the elementary classroom reflect the students’ growing responsibilities for their own classroom environment. Students use real and appropriate tools to maintain the room, organize materials, and track their own work.


Students in a Montessori elementary classroom use a variety of math materials designed to bring abstract ideas into concrete thinking. Montessori elementary math materials range from basic numeration and the four operations through fractions, decimals, squaring and cubing, algebraic expressions, and a broad range of geometry concepts. Elementary students also use a variety of traditional math materials in areas such as basic math fluency, measurement, data analysis, and explorations with the Cartesian plane.


Montessori elementary students learn concepts which build their understanding of the structure of the English language. In Lower Elementary, students further their skills in reading, handwriting, spelling, basic writing mechanics, and sentence structure. In preparation for more advanced grammar studies, Lower Elementary students also are introduced to the different parts of speech.

In Upper Elementary, students begin to use language as a tool for both exploration and the expression of their own learning. Students engage concepts in areas such as word usage, advanced writing mechanics, vocabulary, and advanced parts of speech and sentence analysis, all of which expand their understanding of the ways language is used in spoken and written communication. Upper Elementary students also have opportunities to build their skills in writing composition, practicing research skills, sentence and paragraph structure, and short essay styles through thematic work in the broader curriculum.

Both Lower and Upper Elementary are geared to develop students’ abilities in reading. Reading is practiced in terms of both specific skills (fluency skills and types of comprehension, for instance), as well as application in the various academic disciplines. The Upper Elementary curriculum, especially, is strongly geared toward both reading and writing as necessary learning tools.

Science, Geography, and History

Building upon their experiences in Children’s House, elementary students continue to study the world around them through Montessori’s “Cultural Curriculum.” Spreading across Lower and Upper Elementary, the Cultural Curriculum moves through a series of five “Great Lessons,” including the beginning of the universe, the coming of life on our planet, the coming of early humanity, and the rise of civilizations.

Each of these areas offers opportunities for exploration in a broad range of academic disciplines, including history; the physical, biological, and environmental sciences; and issues of social evolution. In the process, students employ the skills they’ve learned in reading and writing to research, organize, and present what they have learned.