Montessori at McLaurin
At McLaurin, we serve 3K through fifth grade students through the Montessori Method.
Students are grouped in one of the 3 categories: Primary Montessori, Lower Elementary Montessori, and Upper Montessori. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that Montessori classrooms should be non-graded and made up of mixed ages. In the Montessori environment, children advance or “move up” to the next level based on individual readiness, which is evaluated by the Montessori teacher/ guide. Montessori education is education for life by addressing the needs of the whole human being – spiritually, emotionally, socially, and intellectually. Physically, children move from concrete hands-on and sensory experiences to abstract levels of cognition. Mentally and emotionally through learning about physical and cultural geography and the fundamental needs of man, plants, and animals students discover the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life.
The Primary Classroom in Montessori is for ages 3 to 6. This encompasses our 3K, 4K, and 5K program at McLaurin.
According to Montessori, this is the age of the absorbent mind, where each child possesses the uncanny ability to absorb and learn from the environment. During this time there is a great need for disciplined work paired with the natural desire to learn. It is a time of order, concentration, coordination, exactness, and repetition.
Dr. Montessori believed that what the hand does, the brain remembers. In order to help each child reach his or her full potential, the Montessori classroom must be a well-prepared environment, complete with concrete, sensorial materials which have been specially designed for each stage of development. The Montessori teacher acts as a guide, encouraging children to choose materials that encourage further exploration. Children work independently, spontaneously choosing to work with Montessori materials at his or her own pace, thus freeing their creative energy. Through this manner, children learn independence, self-discipline, as well as a work habit. Thus encouraged, they eagerly move forward with confidence, progressing through mastery of many skills.
The Lower Elementary Classroom encompasses ages 6-9. At McLaurin, this encompasses 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders.
During the elementary years, children begin to move from concrete materials to abstract thought. Montessori Lessons and activities no longer need as much repetition and the children begin to ask some of the eternal questions of life: Who am I? Where am I? Where do I come from? They have the ability to see that all learning and life is interrelated. They gain confidence in themselves and their abilities and develop the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time. They are no longer solitary beings, but enjoy socializing with their peers. Developing a strong sense of right and wrong, as well as a keen sense of fairness, children at this level become aware of the world around them. Independence moves towards inner discipline.
Our fourth and fifth grade classrooms make up the Upper Elementary Classroom which involves students from 9 to 12 years of age. Students at this level are still trying to answer the eternal questions of life: Who am I? Where am I? Where do I come from? They are trying to find their place in the world. At McLaurin, the Upper Montessori students still have a wide range of hands-on-manipulatives. We are also helping our fifth graders understand the concept of grades and present them with the most abstract to get ready and prepared for middle school.