Lower School
Upper Elementary: Grades 4-5

A Montessori Upper Elementary education challenges children intellectually while promoting the development of important life skills, providing a nurturing environment for social-emotional growth, and allowing children to begin to explore their place in society and the world. The Upper Elementary program at Barrie serves fourth and fifth graders and builds upon the Cosmic Education that was started in the Lower Elementary program. Children are given freedom to choose their work and are supported in making responsible choices that allow them to fulfill their academic requirements.

A Typical Day of Learning

Upper Elementary students study mathematics, humanities (reading, language arts, and cultural studies), science, geography, art, music, and physical education. Throughout the year, the students are immersed in cross-curricular units of study that are relevant and hands-on. In these classes, students are reading and analyzing a variety of genres (nonfiction, fiction, poetry, etc.), writing essays, self-guided and teacher-directed research/projects, experiments in science and geography, Montessori language work, biological and physical studies in science, and mathematical concepts with and without Montessori materials. Students are able to work independently, with a partner, in small groups, and with the teacher. Teachers provide lessons that provoke thinking and involve students in topic-focused discussions that will lead to follow-up work, and perhaps a self-directed study of a topic of interest.

Extended Learning

In the Upper Elementary, learning outside of the classroom is an essential part of the educational experience at Barrie. We invite guests to speak and/or present about topics being studied. The students also attend multiple, cross-curricular field trips each trimester that correspond with a unit of study.

Examples of some of the trips previously taken are:

  • Echo Hill- camping trips and outdoor educational studies of the Chesapeake Bay
  • archaeological digs
  • museums/aquariums
  • Eco Adventure - hands on study of animals and habitats.
  • outdoor studies/national parks ( not including Echo Hill)
  • cultural events/festivals
  • Annapolis- Maryland history and government
  • historical/ cultural sites that support units of study

The Upper Elementary experience is further enhanced by the Going Out Program. The Going Out experience is an essential element of the Montessori program and is very different from a traditional field trip. The children go out in small groups as an extension of their research and to gain experiences in the world outside the classroom. The children develop independence, resourcefulness, and self-confidence through functioning capably in the larger world without adult assistance.