We’ve done things a little bit differently with this set of Upper Elementary updates. Upper East’s update is an interview with some children new to DVMS this year. Upper West’s is a chat with DVMS Upper Elementary guides Kathleen and Terrence that gives an insight into how they balance curriculum delivery with Montessori’s insistence that we “follow the child.” Be sure to take a look at both.
Gallery below, Upper West kids at The Luna Project:
We sat down with Kathleen and Terrence to find out how things are going and what’s in store for DVMS’s Upper Elementary students over the next little while.
Terrence: We’ve been going through the Montessori Cosmic Fables. We’ve gone through “The Birth of the Universe,” “The Story of Life,” and now we’re coming up to the story of “The Coming of Human Beings.” From that we’re going to go into more of a biological approach to studying the human brain.
Kathleen: We’ve done the “Creation of the Universe.” Tony did the “Timeline of Life” with them at Luna — just being out there was great for that.
Terrence: They could look at the life of animals and plants on the timeline and then go out into the woods and see the same things.
Kathleen: Some of the things have evolved; some of them haven’t.
Terrence: And the things that work together, consciously or unconsciously. When they’re in the garden and see how plants are planted together or how the snakes crawl through the garden, what benefit or advantages there are to having those things be together.
Kathleen and Terrence also touched on how they plan their curriculum delivery as Montessori guides:
Kathleen: You go with their interests. We always do a human body study, but maybe we’ll study the different systems instead of the brain. It depends on what their interest is. Some of them will probably choose to do the brain because I can see that being the most interesting to them, but we do introduce the whole body.
Terrence: As the year progresses we’re looking at having our third term focus on service. So when you think about people far away that you may have compassion for, how can you help? When you think about people who are sitting right here, how can you help? Offering yourself as someone who can be of service to somebody else.
They also explained the Montessori “Heart, Hand, Head” approach to the study of humans and humanity that is introduced through the Montessori Fables and Timelines:
Terrence: Human beings were born with the ability to walk on two feet rather than four, so they have two of their limbs, and their hands, available for work. Their minds are capable of working out problems and solving problems that can then control the hands to do even more meaningful work, and the heart is the compassion to care about other people, other animals, other plants, and different aspects of the earth in order to help.
Kathleen: It’s Cosmic Education. It makes sense for me to start with the heart because of all the student projects going on for fundraising, specifically right now for cancer awareness. I’ll just take their lead on that.
Terrence: My reason for starting with the brain is because different brains function differently which makes an entire person different, which means that different people are going to learn the same thing in lots of different ways, and so we have all these myriad ways of teaching and learning and we have to appreciate different people for who they are.
Kathleen: These are your extensions from doing the Timeline of Human Beings…
Terrence: …You introduce it with the Story of the Coming of Human Beings, and when you start to look at history you have the Timeline of Human Beings — they’re here, what have they been doing? That’s what the Timelines show.
It’s been a great start to the school year in Upper Elementary at DVMS this year. There are lots of new faces and friends to make, and lots in store. We’re just waiting on the kids to let us know what they’re ready for and interested in.
Remember, DVMS Upper Elementary students have one more week at The Luna Project (Upper East on Thursday, Upper West on Friday); they will all participate in Ultimate Frisbee, at DVMS, on Fridays throughout October. They will also be joining the DVMS Lower Elementary students, as well as Montessori students from Fairview Glen and Dearcroft Montessori schools for a cross country running event at LaSalle Park in Burlington on October 1st. We will bus them to and from the event, which runs from 10:00 – 1:00. Please send a packed lunch and water bottle that day, along with appropriate running attire. Parents are welcome to attend to observe, or to help out guiding students along the route.