Primary school (6-14 years of age)

Bloom, Educating for wholeness. Imagine the Possibilities

„Education between the ages of six to twelve is not a direct continuation of that which has gone before, though it is built upon that basis. Psychologically there is a decided change in personality, and we recognise that nature has made this a period for the acquisition of culture, just as the former was for the absorption of the environment."

Maria Montessori

As students move into multi-aged primary classrooms, and their cognitive processes mature, hands-on materials are used to teach new concepts. Abstract thinking takes hold and students problem solve using group discussion, research and writing skills, and technology.

Children continue to develop emotionally with a sensitivity for social, moral and spiritual growth. Spirituality is explored through exposure to all religions and their festivals. Children are encouraged to develop a sense of responsibility towards cooperation and peace as they gain mental independence. Respect, trustworthiness, and character development are woven into curriculum units.

The children also gain social awareness through regular outings that enrich their understanding of the world surrounding them and their place in society. Field trips can also offer hands-on experiences for Montessori students in this age range. Collaborative projects, science experiments, oral, written, and audio/visual presentations take careful planning and larger amounts of time which encourages the development of new skills.

Classrooms still promote the freedom to choose and students set daily and weekly personal agendas to assist in the completion of the curriculum work. This is a relatively stable and peaceful period in the child's development.

„Adolescence is an arbitrary, contrived category. In past eras children were children until the early teens wherein, through some rite of passage, they were ushered into and took their place in adult society. Today there is no economic place for young adults and no rites of passage. We have, instead, created a holding stage that keeps young people in a limbo, into which children enter earlier and adults stay longer year by year.“

Joseph Chilton Pearce, Evolution's End

The Montessori programme for the young adult from age twelve to fifteen is very different from that of traditional schools. Montessori felt that because of the rapid growth, the increased need for sleep, and hormonal changes, it is useless to try to force the adolescent to concentrate on intellectual work. Montessori believed that the years between 12 and 15 were not unlike the preschool years in terms of development because of the incredible changes in the body that impact every area of the child's development during this period. Indeed, modern science has recently discovered that the brain grows like a pre-schoolers brain during middle school years.

Montessori recommended an Erdkinder, or Earth school, where children would live close to nature, eat fresh farm products, and carry on practical work related to the economics of supplying food, shelter, transportation, and so forth. Intellectual work is still done, following the child's interests, but without pressure.

As a registered school having to meet the expectations of state exams, Bloom blends elements of the Montessori Erdkinder model with progressive approaches developed by exemplary secondary schools during the past twenty years.

Students and teachers will gather every day in meetings, where they learn how to work together, express their thoughts clearly and honestly, resolve disagreements, compromise, and reach consensus. There is a real sense of community.

On the other hand, learning will continue to be active rather than sitting back and listening to teacher talk. They will learn from participating in seminars, meeting with guest speakers, conducting research, performing historic re-enactments, building models and dioramas, and organising field trips and internships. These experiences engage learners in constructing a personal and meaningful education and invite students to get involved, ask questions and think.

Teacher-initiated group lessons are usually brief. Seminars and specialist classes are scheduled in such a way as to allow students large blocks of time to work without interruption. The schedule for group activities is flexible and allows the teachers to set aside the amount of time most appropriate for given activities.

Students are allowed to select from among several optional learning strategies and assignments or to propose another option. Using this approach, students continue to learn how to prioritise, pace themselves, and take responsibility for their work. These are skills that are critical to success in university and life.

Students will be asked to participate in field work – a combination of land-based studies, community service, and internship experiences. At certain points of the programme, students will engage in internships in the business, professional, or public-interest communities. Students will develop their own resumes and will be expected to find their own internship position.

Primary school teaching and learning

Primary school admission

Change is a continuous process. You cannot assess it with the static yardstick of a limited time frame. When a seed is sown into the ground, you cannot immediately see the plant. You have to be patient. With time, it grows into a large tree. And then the flowers bloom, and only then can the fruits be plucked.

Mamata Banerjee

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