Upper Elementary

The goal of the Elementary Program is to encourage children between the ages of nine and twelve years to widen their interest in the world around them, and facilitate their understanding of how to work constructively with others. The children's newly emerging powers of reason and imagination enable them to explore and discover on a more abstract level.

The children develop an appreciation for, and an eagerness to be a part of, our world and community. Students delve deeply into the subjects of geography, mathematics, language, history, ecology, biology, zoology, music, and art during these years of study and exploration. Individual and group presentations from the teacher, as well as focused one-on-one instruction, prepare the students for each succeeding year in accordance with national academic standards.

Pincushion's elementary students acquire and master lifelong skills of learning. Throughout their Upper Elementary years, children become adept at planning and organizing their work independently. As they complete an assignment or study, they are introduced to new skills and concepts that extend and deepen their thinking and understanding of the world around them. The core values of the program are independence, self-esteem and respect for others.

Each classroom at Pincushion reflects the ways children learn and exemplifies the benefits of careful planning:

  • Multi-age groupings encourage children to take on new challenges, develop self-confidence and serve as role models for their classmates. Once children master a concept or skill, they are given the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery by teaching other children. Classroom materials reflect many levels of understanding and reinforce independent learning.
  • Individual or small group lessons are given during long work periods, allowing children to learn a new skill or concept and then practice it within moments to reinforce their understanding.
  • Students progress at their own rate, moving ahead when ready, or taking the time to internalize new concepts and skills without concern for their classmate's pace.
  • Students progress at their own rate, moving ahead when ready, or taking the time to internalize new concepts and skills without concern for their classmate's pace.
  • The design of the classroom allows for children to work independently in study centers, in small groups, or in open areas on the floor, depending on the nature of their studies and the materials they are using.

Throughout their Elementary years, Pincushion students explore the world as scientists, authors, mathematicians, geographers, anthropologists, historians, and artists. Teachers are present at all times to guide, encourage and assess children as they work to fortify skills and concepts, and take on new challenges. Teachers in Pincushion classrooms are advocates, guides and friends.

The Upper Elementary classrooms comprise students in grades 4, 5 and 6. Our teacher/student ratio is 1:10. Teachers are fully certified and work as a team to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of their students.

Pincushion provides an integrated, individualized and academically challenging program that meets the changing developmental needs of the elementary child. In the Upper Elementary classroom, children build on their broad base of knowledge, constructed with the help of Montessori materials and best practices, by incorporating other educational practices into their learning.

Students in grades 4-6 work with textbooks to learn a common method of receiving information. They practice the skills of test-taking and literary analysis. Introducing multiple perspectives and approaches at this stage of children's development honors Upper Elementary students' growing sophistication and curiosity.

Honoring children at their appropriate academic, social, emotional and physical stages of development is at the heart of a Pincushion education from children's earliest years through their graduation.