Elementary : Learning How to Think
6 - 12 Years Old
“Our aim is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core.” – Dr. Maria Montessori
“Shady Oaks has blown our minds. Our girls are THRIVING. Their creativity, love of learning, belief in themselves, and interest and confidence in researching and problem-solving is off the charts. They are able to learn at their own pace, as well as teach others, and there’s no cap on their exploration and intermingling of subjects. We’re also recognizing that the shared values of this Montessori community are really preserving their innocence and, in a way, extending their childhood.”
– B.C. (Parent of an 8 and 10 year old)
Dr. Maria Montessori observed that elementary children, ages 6-12, are beginning to develop a reasoning mind and an imagination. Dr. Montessori took these characteristics along with other characteristics of this age into consideration when creating the education program for elementary children.
The seeds from their years in our Montessori Children’s House begin to sprout. These elementary children think for themselves and direct their own learning, extending themselves through challenging work choices. With their reasoning mind and imagination, they are asking the how and why questions. Therefore, our education program is to give them the universe which means we want them to explore outside the classroom to find the answers to their questions.
The elementary curriculum is comprehensive and sequential while equally valuing the social/emotional development of the growing child. Promoting multi-age learning and leadership, there are two classes in the elementary program; Lower Elementary (ages 6-9) and Upper Elementary (ages 9-12).
The Montessori Elementary program gives children the universe through:
- The five Great Stories created by Dr. Montessori
- 3 hour work cycles of uninterrupted time
- Freedom to explore their own questions to the extent of their interest
- “Goings out” (child led excursions outside the class)
- Field trips relevant to the curriculum
- Guidance in their exploration the interconnectedness between their environment, humanity and the future
- Assistance in their growing gratitude for those who came before them and becoming a child of peace
Highlights in our Shady Oaks Elementary Program:
- A family ranch camp at Bar 717 Children’s Ranch to start the year
- Cultural gatherings and weekly community lunch
- Research presentations from self-directed study
- Ink calligraphy and cursive
- Handicrafts such as knitting, crochet, sewing, etc.
- Culinary arts – children help prepare community lunch with a visit to the store and using herbs and vegetables from our garden, child led café and fundraising lunches
- Specialist Music
- Integrated Spanish
- Lower Elementary weekly PE and nature walks at the park
- Upper Elementary overnight ranch visits to Bar 717 Children’s Ranch
- Includes ranch work, hiking, nature lessons, and focused studies in areas such as botany, zoology, astronomy and leadership skills
- The ‘FORT’ area – a ‘playground’ where wood and other objects from nature are repurposed and bartered as stores, stables, stages, and even obstacle courses are created – the imagination of the children leading them on!
- Cross country running team
- Arts Show
Mojave loves education, her family, and the outdoors. Mojave has been a Montessori guide in Lower Elementary since 2015. She received her AMI Elementary Diploma from Montessori Northwest in 2017, as well as her masters in education from Whitworth University. Mojave also has her California State Teaching Credential, and minored in child development during her undergraduate studies. Mojave’s hobbies include traveling, hiking, and spending time with family.
Why Montessori? “During all of my studies in education, research kept coming back to ‘student centered learning’. In Montessori we really are student centered, it is not just a catch phrase. The child learns to learn, not to memorize, and they find joy in the process. Children become empowered, self-directed and motivated. In Montessori we educate the whole child.”
Miss Rose is assisted in Lower Elementary by Hannah Moreno.
Amy grew up in a military family and moved around living in Colorado, Virginia, Florida and even Ethiopia. After getting her Masters in Teaching, she worked in the public education system for 23 years. During those 23 years she taught in Georgia, Colorado and Malaysia, teaching Kindergarten, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, and as the elementary and the middle/high school librarian. Amy received her AMI Elementary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of Atlanta in 2019. During this training, she experienced many mind transforming revelations about this educational approach. “If only I had found this years ago!”
Why Montessori? “Montessori was something I knew nothing about, even when I said yes to first working as an assistant at Shady Oaks. As I went through training and began working with the kids at school, I fell in love with the approach. Not just because it resonated in me with how children at this age learned but also due to the joy and peace I see in the children each day.”
Miss Amy is assisted by Sara Potard.
Elementary Program Hours:
Monday – Friday 7:45am – 3:00pm