Classrooms are at two levels:
- Lower Elementary, for ages 6 to 9 years
- Upper Elementary, for ages 9 to 12 years
Due to the prevailing structure in Nigerian school system, students often move on to secondary schools at age 11.
At this level, the children become fascinated with the “how” and “why” of everything. Assisted by their imagination and reasoning, they become explorers, not just of the world, but also of the entire universe.
The academic content of our elementary curriculum has at its heart the very robust Montessori curriculum which covers all elementary school subjects. It is amazing how the students are able to absorb all the content, many of which are not studied in traditional schools until secondary levels.
Where necessary, content is added from specific United States curricula (particularly in The Arts), and the Nigerian Social Studies curriculum.
Students begin work with Montessori materials and proceed to work in the abstract. As they get to upper elementary, work becomes more complex and requires longer periods of sustained attention. Upper El is also a bridge to abstract learning as the students get into the age of formal reasoning, and especially as they prepare to leave the Montessori environment for secondary school in traditional environments. Close attention is paid to traditional school standards, so that children who graduate from Upper Elementary can be confident that their abilities will easily transfer to a variety of secondary school settings
Autonomy Structures & Resources
Students use work plans and work diaries to schedule their work and regulate their tasks. They have maps to guide them on possible work choices, and they conference with their teacher weekly or bi-weekly to stay on track. Materials, books and topics for research are chosen according to individual student interest; large blocks of time are allocated for independent and small-group work. This process supports the students’ development of executive function.
The cultural subjects in the Montessori curriculum are the integrated study of Life Science, Physical Science, History, and Geography. Through carefully crafted driving questions, the cultural subjects are studied in a series of learning adventures spanning weeks/months.
Children at this age are genuinely curious about things. They want to know “how” and “why.” In the Lower Elementary, children are given the big picture through concrete materials and stories that touch the imagination or make unforgettable impressions. In the Upper Elementary, children become increasingly capable of abstract thought. They ask the same questions, but with a new depth of intelligence.
Creativity and Innovation
The Integrated Studio program allows our students to retain the culture/structure of a Montessori classroom all week with a large chunk of uninterrupted time and independent/group work instead of breaking out for specialty subject periods. The Studio retains the principles of a prepared environment with content from The Arts and ICT. Students learn the history, culture and aesthetic values in these subject areas and have opportunities to create. Upper elementary students also have electives for Band and Model United Nations.
A second language is an integral part of daily life. Every classroom has a French speaking adult who only interacts with the students in French, across all subject areas. In addition, the students spend a full work cycle in the French Lab weekly.
Cooperation and Collaboration
The Montessori elementary classroom emphasizes cooperative group work skills, social problem solving, confidence building, and respect for individual differences. Students have opportunities constantly to meet their needs and respect the needs of others in a dynamic work environment. They hold daily class (community) meetings to discuss problems and share ideas for solutions and small group meetings as needed to encourage students to express issues and feelings.
Leadership and Service
Students are prepared for leadership and service internally and externally. They take responsibility for the care of their environment and also carry out annual service learning projects for beneficiary communities. They learn to connect emotionally with a need, plan, create budgets and raise the funds for the project chosen.