Language in the Upper Elementary

Language is a huge area of study. It includes “learning to read” and then” reading to learn”, grammar & syntax, plus factual and creative writing. Each of these categories is in itself huge.

Montessori’s language curriculum is consistent with her principles of following the child, giving key lessons and independent follow-up work according to the interests of the child. In the Lower Elementary a child has three years of:

  • Grammar and Syntax
    • Word Study
    • Parts of Speech
    • Logical Analysis of Sentences
  • Simple Factual Writing
    • Using question prompts
    • “Who Am I?” riddles
    • Reports about anything that the child is interested in.
  • Reading Instruction

In the Upper Elementary all of these studies continue, but with important differences. There are many ways we approach grammar. For word study, we have a series of packets with action cards for areas like alphabetizing, affixes, synonyms, and many others. We have a series of command cards for each of the parts of speech that the child uses independently. For logical analysis we use the logical analysis boxes, but also get into analysis of complex sentences, clauses, and other advanced structures.

Reading instruction is “reading to learn”. We do book clubs and use the reading materials and activity suggestions from our purchased curriculum. This, however, is a small part of the overall reading in the UE, which is done for the writing we do.

Writing plays a huge role in the UE. Factual writing is much more complex than in LE. As we have the children for three years, we organize the history/geography studies into a rotating curriculum. In Year A we focus on Wisconsin, in Year B we widen the focus to the USA, and in Year C we throw the focus wide open to include the whole world. We expect the children to choose their own topics within these areas, read various sources about it, teach them how to write a proper research paper, cite their sources, and grade the papers using a rubric which scores on content, feel, tone, sentence structure, word choice, grammar/spelling/writing mechanics, length, and use of references. Creative writing takes many forms. We practice writing poetry, story writing, and dialogues to name a few.

Montessori Cosmic Education is intentionally cross-curricular. Reading, writing, history, biology, geography, mathematics, and geometry bleed together on a daily basis. Our students learn WHY they are learning skills and what they will be necessary for in life; because we follow the child’s interest, their years in Montessori, writing about a vast amount of topics that they have chosen, prepare them to pursue a career that follows their heart’s desire.

-Beth Milhans, PEN Newsletter, February 2017

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