Akron Montessori School’s Elementary Program is divided into both a lower and upper elementary. The lower elementary program is comprised of grades 1 - 3, and the upper elementary program is comprised of grades 4 - 6.
The child beginning elementary school has a unique set of psychological needs very different from those of the primary school child. Though the elementary child's mind is still growing rapidly, his or her method of self-construction is more methodical and orderly than during early childhood. As the child gets older, the ability to absorb knowledge from the environment with no conscious effort, a phenomenon observed in the earlier stage of development, tends to diminish gradually. It is replaced by a new skill, the child’s reasoning ability, which becomes the basis for learning at the elementary stage. The preschool child's preoccupation with building vocabulary is gradually replaced by an urge to understand the environment. The familiar questions "What is this?” or "What is its name?" the child used to ask when younger are replaced by "Why?" and "How?" The elementary child is also more sociable and imaginative and begins to develop a keen sense of right and wrong. If given the opportunity under appropriate conditions, this child will eagerly accept intellectual challenges to explore and experiment to gain a better understanding of the world around him/her.
The classroom is designed to arouse the child's interest in many areas of knowledge while letting the child pursue chosen activities without interruption. Materials are arranged under the areas of mathematics, geometry, language, biology, geography, history and music. Manipulative materials are supplemented by charts, time lines, encyclopedias, books and periodicals. Children work individually or in small groups. Each child learns to choose activities, complete tasks and pursue interests with no limit to the amount of work that the child may choose to do. The elementary child's environment extends well beyond the classroom and connects to the outside world. The adult guide (teacher) acts as the director and facilitator who observes the child carefully and provides individual help as needed.
The elementary curriculum is designed to serve the widening interests of the child who is driven by curiosity, a reasoning mind, and the desire to understand his/her universe. It reflects Dr. Montessori's view that the child in this stage of development wants to know everything. We start by giving the elementary child a "grand view" of the universe and then go into detail by examining its components, composition and the process of evolution. The familiar subject areas of language and other fundamentals are presented in the context of the history of human beings. Science experiments are integrated into the main subject areas. The entire array of subjects is tied together by their origins and chronology, history being the core that links everything in the elementary program.