Upper Primary (ages 9 to 12)
Independent, intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development.
Learning in peace. Growing in confidence.
Building on the foundation of lower primary, our upper primary Montessori classes encompass all spheres of development: intellectual, physical, social, and emotional.
It is a period of consolidation in children’s growth when they interact in a socially conscious way, applying their energies to their chosen activities. At this age, children tend to gravitate towards others in their environment as they are no longer solitary beings, and they often choose to work with their peers on projects of mutual interest.
The ability to function purposefully and productively as part of a harmonious group and, more broadly, the wider world – is at the heart of Montessori education.
Only through freedom and environmental experience is it practically possible for human development to occur.”
– Dr Maria Montessori
Navigating childhood in the second plane.
A period when children use reasoning, abstract thought and imagination to explore and develop their understanding of the world.
Montessori based her educational philosophy on the idea that children develop through a series of four planes. At this age (9-12), children are in the second half of the second plane of development, which means that they consolidate their achievements in preparation for the next cycle.
Want to know more about Montessori’s planes of development?
Working independently and respectfully.
We promote a more conceptual exploration of the environment as the children move from concrete to abstract learning. We do this through Cosmic Education, which Dr Maria Montessori described as the interconnectedness of all things and a way for children to understand the universe around them. This includes applying reading, writing, critical thinking, discussing, and questioning skills.
Children have the freedom to choose activities within the prepared environment inside the classroom or in the wider nature grounds of the School – these activities may include practising music in the bush classroom, working in the garden, or reading under a tree.
Children’s choices are respected, as we understand that self-reliance, independence, and personality develop while making positive decisions. During their time in the upper primary class, children encounter a variety of learning experiences – combinations of lessons and independent activities, all of which are student-centred.
To enhance their organisational skills as well as their time management skills, students plan their day using their weekly planners and aim to achieve the job they set for themselves for that day or week.
Great Work Investigations
Each term, at the upper primary level, students produce Great Work Investigations, which is individual investigatory research done by each of the students. Students select and research a topic of their choice within the Montessori Great Stories and share it with their peers and teachers in a format of their choice (e.g., written, spoken, visual, tabulated, sculptural, musical, poster, PowerPoint, iMovie, or animation). Over the three years, the students will spend in the Upper Primary Classroom, they will need to complete 12 Great Work Investigations, one for each term.
Like any great research, students first pose questions and, from there, they develop their research, for example:
- How do animals adapt to living in cold climates?
- How does light behave when it goes through prisms?
- How have the Beatles influenced music over the last six decades?
- How has Archimedes contributed to Mathematics?
- How is food influenced by culture? In this project, students might decide to cook food from various cultures.
While the students have a great deal of freedom within their work, we encourage them to follow these criteria over the three years they spend in the Upper Primary Classroom:
- Mathematics Investigation: One of the Great Work Investigations should involve mathematical concepts, such as measuring the bounce of balls, determining the area of large spaces, creating scale diagrams, or conducting probability investigations.
- Social Science Investigation: Another investigation should focus on a social science topic, such as conducting a survey on languages spoken at home, exploring migration stories of families, or examining social issues like mobile phone usage and perceptions of smartwatches.
- Design-Based or Inventions-Based Investigation: Students should undertake a design-based or inventions-based investigation, such as designing, constructing, and testing a solar oven, or creating and testing clothes and materials suitable for cold climates.
- Collaborative Work: During the three-year cycle, one investigation can be carried out in pairs or groups, allowing students to develop teamwork and collaboration skills. For instance, they might engage in collaborative drama projects.
- Extended Narrative: As a creative outlet, students can choose one Great Work Investigation per year to take the form of an extended narrative, such as a mini novel, where they explore storytelling techniques and develop their literary skills.
The Great Work Investigations align with the requirements of the Australian English Curriculum and aim to prepare students for research, critical thinking, and independent inquiry, which are essential skills for International Baccalaureate and university studies. By engaging in these investigations, students embark on a lifelong quest for knowledge, fostering a love of learning and an appreciation for diverse perspectives.
A thirst for knowledge and a strong desire for intellectual independence.
Through purposeful activities within the prepared environment, the children develop both their inner faculties and their consciousness of others in the world.
Our program takes advantage of this period of enthusiasm and cultural awareness by providing a wide range of opportunities for children to explore their culture, and that of others, through the study of history, geography, language, arts and science.
The prepared environment has been carefully designed to entice and inspire children to pursue knowledge in all learning areas – we present children with a well-organised and orderly classroom, which promotes purposeful work, effort and concentration.
It is important to bring the child out into the world.
Children at this age often suggest, plan, and budget for outings – these might be individual, small groups, or for the whole class – such as attending the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) open rehearsals in Perth, visiting the Perth Zoo, and enjoying an exhibition at the WA Museum Boola Bardip.
The Montessori National Curriculum is approved by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).
The primary academic curriculum covers:
- Language (English & German)
- Mathematics, Geometry and Measurement
- Cosmic Education (Humanities and Social Sciences, Science, and Technologies )
- Creative Arts
- Health and Physical Education
“Preventing conflicts is the work of politics: establishing peace is the work of education.”
– Dr Maria Montessori
A Day In The Life…
Have you ever been curious about what a day in the life of an upper primary student looks like? Here is a video, which may give you some insight.
A Staff Perspective
Find out how Michelle, one of our Upper Primary Teachers, feels about the Montessori Method, her work, her students, and our school.