Upper Elementary

THE UPPER ELEMENTARY PROGRAM AT THE MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF SAN ANTONIO

Mathematics: Whole number operations now involve complex equations and more paper and pencil practice.
• Memorization of math facts is an essential skill which is refined based on speed and accuracy.
• Effort and class time are focused on the mastery of common and decimal fractions, the key prerequisite for success in algebra, geometry, and statistics introduced later in Middle School.
• The power of numbers, square root, and cube root are thoroughly investigated with didactic materials and the appropriate abstract expressions.
• Problem-solving that integrates the different areas of mathematics is presented for creating outcomes based on multidisciplinary strategies through peer collaboration.

Geometry: All of the Lower Elementary child’s experiences in naming different lines, angles, shapes, and solids pave the way for more advanced work in area and volume.
• Formulae are mastered for triangles, trapezoids, polygons, and circles.
• Solids are approached first by mapping their surface area, then experimenting with manipulatives to discover how basic volume is determined and is related to unusual solids, such as cylinders, cones, and pyramids.
• Finally, the Pythagorean theorem is demonstrated with the didactic materials then applied to modern day geometry and mathematics.

Language: Parts of speech, sentence structure, and verb tenses are not only isolated as subjects of individual lessons, but are also studied within the context of literature, research, and written expression.
• Formal reports, essays, and descriptive writing are the focal points of composition in the Upper Elementary.
• Literary and Socratic discussions provide many opportunities to discover new insights from listening to different points of view and from discussing complex and elusive ideas.
• Oral presentations, play performances, and persuasive speeches constitute a significant portion of the Upper Elementary language curriculum.
• Etymology and word origins strongly appeal to the Upper Elementary child because of the link with classical civilizations and their languages.
• Different genres of literature are introduced and explored through literary seminars and opportunities for silent reading

Cultural Studies: The timeline of life first presented in Lower Elementary sets the stage for the study of early man and the ancient and classical civilizations.
• Each period of man’s development as far back as 3.000.000 BCE is explored from the perspective of how early and modern humans met their basic needs.
• The study of language, mathematics, art, science, etc. draws the child into detailed and serious research projects.
• Texas and American history allows the child to fully appreciate his/her own immediate history and that of his/her nation.

The study of history is closely correlated with the study of geography. Serious efforts are made to memorize the countries, capitals, and principal cities throughout the world, as well as to understand why certain land and water forms were responsible for drawing humans together to form civilizations.

Science: The five kingdoms of life, particularly kingdom animalia and plantae, are examined in great detail. Special attention is paid to indigenous species and their habitats. More functional science experiments look at the work of wind and water in the capacity of erosive agents. Simple machines, such as those invented and used by ancient and classical civilizations, are studied for their scientific and historical impact

Art: Drawing techniques are developed as the Upper Elementary child illustrates his/her research with a variety of materials and mediums. The work and lives of certain artists are analyzed for historical significance and styles of expression, often resulting in visits to local museums of art and science

Practical Life: The emphasis on life sciences often involves the care of live specimens in the classroom. Environmental trips to different regions of Texas require the children to prepare themselves for on-site studies and attend to their responsibilities to the community. It is important that these children take active roles in preserving the balance of life in their immediate and future environments.

“We have enjoyed watching our children flourish and become more self confident with each passing year. We love how our children look forward to school each day and are always looking for opportunities to learn and perform research in their daily lives.”

-LOWER AND UPPER ELEMENTARY PARENT

“MSSA nurtures responsibility and time management – working with a planner each week helps our children understand their responsibilities and track their own progress in each subject.”

-LOWER AND UPPER ELEMENTARY PARENT

Middle school student on computer

Upper Elementary, ages 9 to 12 years, is a time when the child’s skills and knowledge developed in the Lower Elementary level are expanded, embellished, and refined. There is a strong inclination for an Upper Elementary student to work more in the abstract than the physical. But when the child encounters challenges that require him/her to clarify key concepts, he/she can refer to the familiar didactic materials. Academic areas continue to be clearly defined and carefully prepared. Developmentally, the child’s learning environment reflects his/her evolving intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social development.

SOPHISTICATED COGNITIVE ABILITIES

This is a time when the child’s cognitive activities and mental operations become time efficient, precise, and flexible in accommodating a wide variety of academic and social challenges.

PERSONAL EXPRESSION

Self-expression, particularly among peers, becomes a priority; the child now enjoys expressing personal opinions or perspectives, as well as discussing those of his/her peer group.

SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS COMMUNICATION

Grace and courtesy take on more importance than ever. Tremendous effort is required of the child to develop and use the appropriate vocabulary, grammatical structures, thinking strategies, and behaviors that are specific to the demands of particular situations.

EXPLORATION OF A LARGER ENVIRONMENT

“Going out” beyond the classroom is how this child can verify the authenticity of the knowledge gained through intellectual endeavors.

Group of kids