(6 yrs to 12 yrs)
In the primary classroom, a child is mostly free to explore the environment. The teachers observe, and present materials when they sense that the child is ready, but otherwise they practice “following the child”, believing that the child has an inner sense of what work they need to do.
In elementary, the expectations change. Now the child is required to learn certain things and work with certain materials. The elementary children may be given a contract or work plan that they have to complete in a week or month. Most lessons will be for a group rather than one-on-one.
Sometimes, children find this a difficult adjustment to make. They may have problems choosing appropriate work, keeping track of their work, or finishing their work plan within the allotted time frame. However constant support from the adult and other children help in overcoming this difficulty.
Be an Informed Parent
Knowledge about the Montessori philosophy and approach is important to support your child’s transition. If you seem confused about her school or question why she is doing certain things in class, it can compromise her experience. You are the most important person in her life and it’s essential that you understand the basics of her day to day life at school!
Be sure to attend any and all parent education events at the school to be informed. Get to know your child’s teachers and ask questions. A few hours of your time, along with a curious and open mind, will help.
Although it takes time for any child to adjust to a new classroom in a conventional school, recognize that it may take your child a bit longer to get into the groove of her Montessori Elementary classroom.
After being the oldest child for her final year in Primary, she will be joining a community of older children with a new social dynamic. She may not understand the ins and outs of the classroom at first. She will be tired at the end of the day from all of the new things to see, learn, and do.
We work hard, as a community, to help your child feel as comfortable and as welcome as possible. It’s normal, however, for your child to express discontent or to even verbalize, on occasion, a desire to go back to her Primary classroom!