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October 3, 2023

Archive for Transition Montessori Casa to Elementary

The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 3

posted in Montessori Education
01/28/2015  |  Comments Off on The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 3

At Home With The Elementary Child

Boy sweeping

In our previous blog posts: The Transition from Casa to Elementary, Parts 1 and 2, we discussed some of the characteristics of the child as he/she moves from the 1st plane of development to the 2nd.  Below is a chart which summarizes some of these changes as we now focus in this final post in our series on your elementary child at home.

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Some Characteristics

Casa Child (0-6 years)

Elementary Child (6-12 years)

Developmental Goal

physical independence

intellectual independence

Type of Work

individual, constructing themselves

building groups, community

co-operative and collaborative

Type of Exploration

sensorial/motor explorer, interested/engaged in the present, visible facts

reasoning/intellectual explorer

use of imagination to explore what can’t be seen (history, cosmos etc.)

Type of Mind

absorbent mind (taking in from the world around them)

reasoning mind (use of intellect)


who, what, where… (naming questions)

when, why, how

(cause & effect)

Type of Understanding


working towards greater abstraction in understanding

Attitude to Possessions

hard to share

not attached to their possessions (lose things), often use trading as a way to build relationships

Social Development

home important, focus on self-construction to work towards being a contributing member of a community

greater interest in the wider community vs. home

peers extremely important,

herd instinct, need to be like everyone else, always talking

Moral issues

black and white

will accept adult viewpoint

trying to understand the grey areas, great focus on right vs. wrong

seeking to make own opinions over accepting those of adults

deep sense or justice, compassion & mercy

Personal appearance

lower elementary: no focus on physical appearance

upper elementary: physical appearance starts to matter

Emotional Display


less receptive to affection in public, especially if around friends,

less accommodating


admire those in their immediate world

hero worship, admire achievements of others

At Home With Your Elementary Child

Work with them not for them

For example, making lunches.   If children have more choice, more control and a greater sense of responsibility, they are more likely to eat what has been chosen. Talk to them about nutrition and how to make wise choices. Involve them in making grocery lists.

Reading With Your Child

Responsibility and accountability are important

Children need to have responsibility within the home. They are part of a group, the family, and they need to have a role within this group. At school the elementary children have jobs to do, and if a job does not get done, the class talks about it and strategizes.

The feeling of contribution felt by children, even at a very young age, will be carried forward by them into their adult lives.

Child Gardening

The Child in the Family: Belonging

Children want to contribute, they need to know how they can help (look to practical life for ideas). If a child feels a sense of belonging in their family, that’s a happy child!


The Family Meeting

It doesn’t have to be very long 15 – 20 minutes.
-the child’s ideas are heard
-adults concerns are heard
-a plan is worked out together → how to ‘fix’ it!


What are your family’s core values? Discuss what these are and what what they mean.  Your children will carry these values with them.

Enjoying Nature

See also our post on The Social Curriculum at Clanmore Montessori School which references Diane Gossen and The Theory of Restitution.

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The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 2

posted in Montessori Education
01/19/2015  |  Comments Off on The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 2

Who is the elementary child?

Social Development

The elementary child’s need to expand beyond the home environment translates as well to a need for expanding social relationships. Peers become extremely important to elementary aged children; they are constantly building relationships.

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There is a ‘herd instinct’ within them, they naturally form groups, they want to be with their friends and questions of how to build community become extremely meaningful. Their constant talking is really evidence of this focus on building relationships.

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These children want to be like their friends, fads come to the fore, and to be accepted by the group is extremely important. From their perspective, rejection by their peers is one of the worst things that can happen. In the classroom, materials and concepts are often introduced in group presentations. There is a cooperative, collaborative focus as opposed to a competitive one. This too is part of how the children are learning to build community, learning how to get along with diverse personality types and with those who do or do not always bring out the best in them.


When there is conflict, it is important that the adults in these children’s lives do not co opt these opportunities for growth. It is important that the children learn how to work it out themselves (with guidance where necessary).

[Clanmore’s Social Curriculum based on Diane Gossen’s Theory of Restitution provides a framework for how to handle social situations. All elementary students are introduced to the principles of Restitution annually and practice them throughout their time at at the school, and beyond.]


Hero Worship Elementary children are looking for people to admire. They may be inspired by older children, but they can just as easily be inspired by unnamed heroes, for example those individuals who have done things to improve the quality of our lives. In their worshiping of heroes they question what is their role and what are they going to do to help humanity?


Michael “Pinball” Clemons with a Clanmore Student

It is worth considering who we introduce and expose our children to. Who they may look to as a hero.

Our next blog post, The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 3 will focus on

A Home With The Elementary Child.



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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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