Greensboro Montessori School
Upper Elementary Curriculum
Ages 9 to 11 years
(Fourth and fifth grades)
The Upper Elementary Curriculum builds upon and expands upon the Lower Elementary Curriculum. Children in the upper elementary grades are still inquisitive, community oriented, and universally aware. They continue to question all aspects of the world in which they live, and use their minds to reason and to conduct research; however, their reasoning may also become more abstract and their research more specific. In accordance, the curriculum allows for an exploration of a range of topics with opportunities for depth of study. Students may participate in lessons that include the history of mathematics, the physics of flight, mineralogy, chemistry, algebra, geometry, and literature, to name a few. Lessons on note taking and test taking are an integral part of the curriculum in preparation for Middle School.
Key components of the Upper Elementary curriculum include:
Consists of three main components: grammar, writing, and reading. The children complete an in-depth course in narrative and research writing and are exposed to a variety of novels, short stories, poems and essays, which prepares them for the more intensive research and writing that will be required in Middle School.
Math is taught using a variety of didactic materials and presented individually or to small groups of children, depending on the individual student's needs.
Explores The Montessori Timeline of Life: with specific attention to the Timeline of Early Humans, Ancient Civilizations, the Middle Ages, the Age of Exploration, and the early American Revolution. Integrated with these timelines, students study the five kingdoms of living things as well as Physical Science and an introduction to Chemistry in conjunction with the Science curriculum.
Students participate in a number of individual and group projects in order to further integrate their skill development in language and math with their study of history, science, the arts and other cultural subjects. Examples include:
Students create an “invented character” as a precursor to creating an “invented country." They invent a person and include in their creation specific physical attributes, the social climate in which the person lives, where the person lives, personal history, family history, personality profile, blueprint of his/her house, and a “day in the life” of their character. Similarly, students invent a country using knowledge they have gained about physical, social, political, and cultural aspects of geography. With each of these projects, the children illustrate the character and country, write a report and make a presentation to their classmates.
Science curriculum is integrated into the History timelines – the five kingdoms of living things. Students also study Physical Science and receive and introduction to Chemistry.
Science and Environmental Studies are enhanced by using the School’s gardens and the GMS Land Lab campus for research and exploration. The experiential learning the children do on the Land whets their interest for the extended experiences they will have on the Land in Middle School.
The schedule for Upper Elementary is flexible, providing time for individual and small group study as needed. Some students may require more time than others to master a concept of complete a project effectively. In addition to the work/study time devoted to integrated work, set times for study in the Liberal Arts includes:
Spanish – 2 times a week for 50 minutes
Art – once a week for 50 minutes
Music – 2 times a week for 50 minutes
Physical Education – 2 times a week for 50 minutes
GMS’s dedication to supporting children in becoming effective communicators and resolving conflicts peacefully continues throughout the Upper Elementary grades. Faculty support students by devoting the time that is needed to involve the students in using their own ideas and decisions in order to come to peaceful resolutions of difficult social situations.
Community Service is an important component is the Upper Elementary Curriculum. Students take responsibility for maintaining the environment: