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Upper Elementary (ages 9-12)

The Willow North & Willow South Communities


Our Upper Elementary program is designed to support each student’s profound curiosity and thirst for knowledge, while encouraging social interaction and group work for their growing capacities for abstraction and developing independence.


The Reasoning Mind – Montessori for Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Years

Between the ages of 9-12, students seek to move beyond their fundamental knowledge and look for connections, cause and effect, and patterns in their learning and understanding of the world.

Upper Elementary children working with Montessori math materials, which build on one another as the child progresses through the curriculum

“The first active manifestations of the child’s individual liberty must be so guided that through this activity he may arrive at independence.”

– Dr. Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method



They are ready to both think hypothetically and to engage with the world on a moral level. In order to support their strong abilities for both imagination and abstraction, Cosmic Education continues through the Five Great Lessons at a pace that supports student mastery of subject materials while allowing them to more fully explore these areas. (Read more about Upper Elementary Curriculum).


Building Meaningful Skills in the Montessori Environment

Upper Elementary students also plan and work towards developing skills they can use for various purposes, either by earning microscope licenses or designing research projects around a particular interest.


Licensed Meteorologists take daily weather data readings, create forecasts for recess and outings, and then communicate this information to peers and the front office.


The joyful, dynamic classrooms of Willow North and Willow South are safe and supportive environments where students are encouraged to make choices and to stretch themselves in order to grow into confident, independent, and productive citizens of the world.


Lessons in Upper Elementary

Each day, Guides give small group lessons in mathematics, language, and science during the uninterrupted morning work cycle, while afternoon rotations allow for in-depth group lessons in cultural, peace, and art. (Read more about Upper Elementary Curriculum).


Students are supported in their growing independence by meeting frequently with Guides for “Advisories,” where they discuss and set academic goals and celebrate their accomplishments.


Students also use planners to map both their daily work and long-term projects, as well as keep records in order to track their progress.


They check the accuracy of their work with controls, resolve their own errors, and determine, with support from their Guides, whether they are ready to progress or need additional support in a given area before moving on.


The three-period lesson model continues to foster internalization of concepts: the first lesson aims to spark the imagination; the second period embraces the student’s social needs and often involves intense peer discussions and projects; they then share in the third period as presentations, projects, or other methods that embrace their learning styles.


Upper Elementary Faculty

Guides in the Upper Elementary program have a broad knowledge base, being Montessori-credentialed for both Lower and Upper Elementary, which allows for curriculum continuity across the Second Plane of Development.


Upper Elementary Guides foster each student’s need for intellectual independence, creative thought, and interest in justice and morality. They encourage and enjoy the students’ strong social instincts to work and play in groups, while gently supporting their social and moral development in all aspects of the curriculum.


Additional Reading

Upper Elementary Curriculum

K-8 enrollment

Montessori education


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