‘The Montessori elementary curriculum was developed as an integrated whole to serve the developmental needs of children from ages 6 to 12. Dr. Montessori termed this period the Second Plane of Development. The continuity of the curriculum allows individual children to move through the various subject areas at the pace that supports mastering the subject material, building confidence and genuine self-esteem. The division of the elementary 6-9 year olds and 9-12 year olds is based on the students’ developmental needs as they move towards adolescence. The work in lower elementary is done with extensive Montessori materials, allowing children not only to experience the depth and breadth of the curriculum, but also to become comfortable with their own learning styles. Upper elementary students, ages 9-12, transition to more abstract thinking relying more heavily on books and other resource material as they strengthen the work begun in the lower elementary. The overall goal of Montessori Upper Elementary is to provide a prepared environment that meets the needs and tendencies of the child at this stage of development.
Some of the characteristics of children in the second half of the Second Plane of Development (ages 9-12) are as follows:
- The reasoning mind is very important.
- For every answer they have a question, “Why?”
- They have achieved a degree of independence, and strive for more independence.
- Exploration is another characteristic – they want to go beyond usual expectations for their age.
- They often turn outward to broader society and the world beyond.
- Friends become increasingly important.
- They become more adventurous and daring.
- Some become “untidy” with personal belongings.
- They develop a keener conscience, a better understanding of right, wrong and rules.
- Hero worship is characteristic.
- They develop enormous potential of intellect and a tremendous power of imagination.