The Clanmore Voice

October 5, 2022

Archive for Montessori theory

The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 1

posted in Montessori Education
01/06/2015  |  Comments Off on The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 1

Who Is the Elementary Child?

Intellectual Independence

In the first six years of life children undergo tremendous change as they strive towards their developmental goal of physical independence. While the next six years of life are physically more stable, beneath this stable surface is a strong driver guiding the child towards intellectual independence.

Elementary Grammar Exercise

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Sometimes dubbed the “age of rudeness”, the 6-12 year old child is full of questions and rarely takes what is said at face value. They want to know why things are the way they are as they question their way towards constant intellectual growth. They are actually developmentally designed to do this at this age, they are meant to question.

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While in the first six years of life children are fully engaged in the present, learning through their senses, the six to twelve year old child approaches the world through the reasoning mind.


To real experiences, past, present and future, they are able to apply the power of their imaginations. In contrast to fantasy play, this is an imagination which happily ponders such ideas as ‘what would life have been like…..’. History consequently starts to take on importance.


While Casa children are starting to venture beyond the home environment, elementary children want to take on the universe. Their minds want to explore it all.


Moral Development

Concurrent with this quest for intellectual independence, elementary aged children are also in a period of tremendous moral development.  As they try to reason things out and increase their moral understanding they are often heard to exclaim “it’s not fair”. Frustrating as this may be for the adults in their lives, it is simply evidence of the reasoning mind puzzling over moral questions.  Again, elementary aged children following their developmental mandate.

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It should be noted that elementary children will test boundaries as part of their moral development. There are exploring where the line falls. This requires the adults in their world to follow rules which are put in place. Failure to do so results in moral ambiguity which the elementary child quickly picks up on, learning that we don’t really mean what we say. Not ideal when these children are forming their sense of morality.


Grey areas are where morality truly arises. These are the areas these children are trying to reason out, and it is these areas and the questions that arise therefrom that we should be discussing with them. Their intellect is the driving force here.

Tattling is also a feature of this stage of moral development. Really it’s just the elementary child checking in with you, confirming that someone did something wrong. In their minds they think it is wrong and they just want to know that they are correct.

Elementary children also need to know that just like in math for example, if they make a mistake, and they will, they can fix it. Justice, morality, compassion, mercy – these are topics which fascinate six to twelve year olds and which are even more pertinent to them as they become socially driven.


The label social butterfly is apt; they are all over everything, although this fleeting nature will dissipate somewhat as they enter more fully into the developmental period. As a consequence of their heightened compassion, elementary children want to help others.


They are motivated to fundraise for causes they believe in for example, and so it is timely for this desire to be nurtured and encouraged.

Our next blog post, The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 2 will focus on

Who Is The Elementary Child?  Social Development


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The Social Curriculum at Clanmore Montessori School

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10/15/2014  |  Comments Off on The Social Curriculum at Clanmore Montessori School

At Clanmore Montessori School we role model and give lessons in Grace and Courtesy from Toddler through to Middle School. These lessons vary at different ages and are repeated throughout a child’s time here.  Grace and Courtesy is part of the Montessori curriculum, as is taking care of oneself, the environment and communicating with others in a respectful way.


Communication in a Respectful Way

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It’s learning how to blow your nose in the Toddler and Casa classrooms, it’s holding a door open to let another pass through; in a nutshell, it’s clear consistent social values that we help the children with so that they know what to expect and what they can expect from each other. The older children then role model appropriate behaviour for the younger children.




In 1998 Diane Gossen gave a workshop on Restitution at a CAMT (Canadian Association of Montessori Teachers) conference, and in the early days of Clanmore her theories and strategies were implemented right away.  For Grace Kidney, one of the founders of Clanmore, the Theory of Restitution addressed exactly what the children needed for wholesome social development!


Restitution is a belief system – it sets the tone for the culture at Clanmore, fostering a spirit of generosity, of helping one another and connecting with one another; a sense of community.


Restitution Discussion


It’s helping a Casa child solve a problem with the ‘peace’ rock, which serves as a concrete reminder of who’s turn it is to talk, for at this stage of development a child is unable to abstract and may need help to wait until someone is finished or until it is his or her turn to speak. It’s conflict resolution, it’s respect and cooperation.


Casa Restitution Chart


It is during the second plane of development, the elementary years (ages 6-12), when the children are able to reason and are in a sensitive period for moral and social justice, that they also display a deep need to belong.


All the developmental work the children do prior to this second plane of development will assist them in their need and desire to be a part of the group. As parents and teachers we must visualize the child and meet their current needs, so that they can help direct themselves in the future.


Peace Sign


‘The process of making restitution strengthens people. One of the most important skills in life is to repair our own mistakes.”  Restitution, Facilitator’s Guide by Diane Chelsom Gossen


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What is a Montessori Odyssey Trip?

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09/11/2014  |  Comments Off on What is a Montessori Odyssey Trip?

An Odyssey Trip

The Clanmore Montessori Middle School students, grades 7 and 8, have embarked upon a journey this school year that is now a Clanmore tradition – The Odyssey Trip. This year’s trip began with an information session for parents and students at the end of last year and again at the beginning of this year to discuss trip details and to start the preparations.

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On the first day of school the children came with items from the packing list they received in the summer.   They came ready to learn how to pack dry bags and set up the tents so that when they arrived at their first night’s destination, they would be independent.  Clanmore Montessori Middle School Teacher Kristina Wright said that they got busy right away organizing their food: snacks, breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  On the trip they will get a chance to ‘run a day’ and to really get involved.  To plan together, lead together, map together and be responsible for one another for the 8 days over which the trip takes place.

In Our Sleeping Bags

An Odyssey trip is usually longer than a week so the children can see the cycles of nature and get a real feel of living with their peers and learning from one another.  It’s an adventure out of their comfort zone. It’s a roller-coaster of new experiences, weather, coming together and sticking together.

The Odyssey Trip explores historical and remote locations like the French River, honouring the people before us and following in the footsteps of an ‘average worker’, voyager and early fur trader. It’s the telling of stories around a campfire of how history was made and having the children turn towards the river… imagining a birch bark canoe laden with fur traveling down that same river that they had just paddled down that day. Last year the students visited the French River Trading Post on their last day.

Throughout their trip the students study Economics and the early settlers’ economy and how they made their livelihood. It’s Physical Education along with Outdoor Education. It’s exploring Geology and examining rock formations.

An Odyssey Trip Meeting

An Odyssey Trip takes the place of what Maria Montessori called the’ farm school’- a boarding school located on a farm. Clanmore Montessori School is not a boarding school, so this is one of the key objectives of the trip, a chance for the children to find themselves and their place within their peer group, to establish their roles away from family and to bond with one another.

Clanmore Middle School Coordinator Matt Smith said, “It was a natural breakdown of the roles last year… some became fisherman, others gathered wood for the fire, they made meals, mapped the route, navigated and decided when to stop and where to set up camp.” A collaboration within the group for a common goal.

From a Montessori perspective it is Pedagogy of Place, interacting with where you are from; your neighbourhood, your province, your country. An exciting time, appropriate during this “third plane of development” as the adolescent has the ability to abstract and to “examine that natural data of the community – the flora and fauna, the archives of the region, the architectural remnants of its settlement period, its diverse communities, each with unfolding histories”.1

The Killarney Pine Swaying in the Breeze

Throughout the Odyssey Trip, the students will write passages in their journals about their experiences and they will reflect upon their exploration. In time they will share this adventure… perhaps a journal entry or two will follow in an upcoming blog!


1 David Kahn, The NAMTA Journal Vol.26, No. 3 – Summer 2001; Pedagogy of Place: Using the Prepared Environment for the Third Plane

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Garden to Table at Clanmore Montessori School

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06/06/2014  |  Comments Off on Garden to Table at Clanmore Montessori School

Maria Montessori believed that adolescent students need real life experience with production and exchange. In fact it is essential.

 Middle School Micro-economy Program

The Middle School students at Clanmore Montessori School built their garden, sourced seeds to match our climate and growing season and have now started planting. They will tend to their crop, harvest and either sell their harvested fruits or vegetables, like basil, for example, or make a product by taking that basil and making it into pesto to sell.  This is where the exchange component comes in.

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One of the bottles of maple syrup made from scratch by the Clanmore Middle School students.

Garden to table comes into play when they take that basil or pesto that they’ve made and create a meal for their community. Every Friday the students take turns creating a menu, shopping and cooking for one another.

Two Middle School students plant seedlings in their garden as part of their Micro-economy Program.

Over the summer the Elementary children in the Garden to Table Cooking Camp will tend to the Middle School gardens and visit a local market to purchase what is needed for the week. They will also harvest what the Casa children plant this school year in the garden beds made possible by the Parent Association. The Casa campers will weed in the mornings and water in the late afternoons… a whole school endeavor!

Elementary children cooking in the beautiful children's kitchen at Clanmore.

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Why Is There A Bar In The Parent Lounge at Clanmore Montessori School?

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03/25/2014  |  Comments Off on Why Is There A Bar In The Parent Lounge at Clanmore Montessori School?


The ‘bar/barre’ is for the age of 5 to 12 months, when a child is not quite walking yet. The mirror gives little ones the opportunity to see and study their own reflection, their movements and help them connect their movements with that of reflections. The mirror helps them control their movements on their own time and strengthens their muscles. It helps them to stand straight, walk and move independently using their own equilibrium. This leads a child to a quicker discovery of his own body and movement. When achieved by themselves, it gives them self-confidence. (more…)

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