The Lower Elementary Program in Montessori schools spans a significant developmental period for younger children. Unlike in the Primary Program where the emphasis is on children being immersed in subject matter and unconsciously absorbing content as they explore the learning environment, the Lower Elementary Program is meant to cultivate active, conscious engagement in the subjects and foster a love of learning. In the Montessori Method, this is accomplished by learning the 5 great lessons. Students are encouraged to study and research each lesson in a way that best fits them, and they are able to revisit the lessons each year and go deeper or in a different direction.
Lesson 1: The story of the universe
In this first lesson, the big bold idea of the universe’s origin and evolution is offered as a larger framework in which other lessons can be placed. This lesson explores astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, physics, geology, and geography. Some of the skills or observations students gained in their Primary Program will also find connections and context in this lesson.
Lesson 2: The timeline of life
The timeline of life explores the great diversity of life, both living and long gone, introduces more abstract concepts of time, and also emphasizes the position and contribution of all living things. Through this lesson, students delve into biology, botany, ancient life, animals, and monera, protista, and fungi kingdoms.
Lesson 3: The story of language
By this stage in their development, children (who are usually ages 6-9 in this program) have acquired a proficiency in their language and understand its power to communicate needs, ideas, and emotions. This lesson helps paint a bigger picture of language and encompasses the origin of languages and study of foreign languages; the structure of language like grammar, word study, and bookmaking; the study of reading such as poetry, literature, and reading analysis; and the practice of writing including research, voice, and style.
Lesson 4: The story of numbers
Math is much more than arithmetic, and this lesson helps to illustrate that and builds off the concrete skills of the Primary Program. It delves into the history, utility, and evolution of numbers and numerical systems, and in the process, covers a wide array of mathematical subject matter: algebra, types of numbers, scientific notation, multiples, angles, shapes, geometric theorems, word problems, estimations, graphs, and the mathematicians that developed the study.
Lesson 5: The timeline of civilization
Through the course of this lesson, students learn the three gifts that make humans special: a mind to imagine, a hand to work, and a heart that can love. In this context, students study history, culture, social studies, and discoveries and inventions.
Hill Point Montessori’s Lower Elementary Program is for children ages 6-9. Teachers focus on fostering a child’s love of learning during this critical period of development by incorporating the 5 great lessons.