The Blue Spruce, Conifer & Ponderosa Communities
Our Lower Elementary program is designed to develop within each student a global vision and sense of gratitude for the universe, to cultivate their independent learning, and to support the construction of their social self.
The Reasoning Mind – Montessori for First, Second & Third Years
Dr. Maria Montessori observed first hand children’s eagerness to understand themselves, their world, and their place in it.
It was her hope that “Cosmic Education” would satisfy children’s intense thirst for knowledge during the Second Plane of Development or “Reasoning Mind” (ages 6-12). (Read more about Lower Elementary Curriculum).
The student at this time in their development wants to know about the entire universe and their place in it. Instead of asking “what is it?” they ask “why is it?”
At this time in their development, students are also turning outward toward wider social experiences and have a heightened awareness of right and wrong. As their consciences are developing, it is an important time for them to discover justice and their moral responsibilities.
Our extensive peace curriculum assists them in understanding their own emotions to work towards inner peace, as well as how to resolve conflict for social peace.
The Five Great Lessons
Our program is rooted in Cosmic Education, which is, in essence, the story of the continuing creation of the universe.
The Montessori method of presenting the Five Great Lessons satisfies a student’s developing awareness of the larger community, offering them a glimpse of human history at a time in their development when they are concerned with their burgeoning independent and social selves.
These lessons are designed to inspire children’s imaginations and encourage them to explore the “big work” that demonstrates the interconnectedness of all things.
As the Lower Elementary students develop their awareness of the larger community, Cosmic Education addresses their own journeys outside of themselves into all of reality.
The social, inquisitive, and joyful environment of the Lower Elementary communities opens the student’s eyes to the universe and their understanding of the context their own lives have in the world.
Lessons in Lower Elementary
The Lower Elementary curriculum offers students the context for, and real connections between, language, mathematics, geometry, zoology, botany, history, political geography, and peace, just to name a few. (Read more about the Lower Elementary Curriculum).
A student may spend time engaged in creating a political map of South America, while also researching the animals that live there. At the same time, the child might be learning about why it is warmer at the equator and how people living in warmer climates adapt to meet their fundamental human needs.
During the uninterrupted three-hour work cycle each morning, every student has the time to delve into their interests and to do their “good work.”
Lower Elementary Faculty
Guides in the Lower Elementary program are supportive Montessorians who understand deeply the academic, social, and emotional needs of students during this time in their development. They engage fully with the students in dynamic relationships which encourage inquiry and discussion.
They are also storytellers and performers who inspire the students in their telling of The Five Great Lessons. They support the blossoming of the students’ social natures and the mastery of their academic skills in small and large group lessons every day.
Guides establish a safe environment that is supportive of purposeful activity and they encourage each student towards a freedom within limits that allow them to pursue their own interests while learning to respect the needs of others.
Sarah Gramm, Blue Spruce Lead Guide
Angelarose Maeding, Blue Spruce Lead Guide
Carl Feitler, Blue Spruce Guide
Kim Rhiness, Conifer Lead Guide
Vasi Smith, Conifer Guide
Charlie Hickman, Ponderosa Lead Guide
Katie Cruz, Ponderosa Lead Guide
Karen Kent Pyle, Ponderosa Guide
Heather Legendre, Lower Elementary Instructional Coach and Level Lead
Lower Elementary Blog (password protected for current families)