Upper Elementary Program

The secret of success is found to lie in the right use of imagination in awakening interest, and the stimulation of seeds of interest already sown by attractive literary and pictorial material, but all correlated to a central idea, of greatly ennobling inspiration – the Cosmic Plan in which all, consciously or unconsciously, serve the Great Purpose of Life.  -Maria Montessori

Structure of the Program

The GSCM upper elementary program serves children ages 9-12 (grades 4-6). Two full-time Montessori directresses and two full-time assistants serve the upper elementary community. Curriculum specialists include: art, music, Spanish, and PE teachers, an Intervention specialist, and an Orton-Gillingham tutor. Students spend a two hour work cycle in the atrium each week with two certified catechists. 

Prepared Environment

The prepared environment for the upper elementary program is in the Peter and Marilyn Bushelman building. This
environment includes a gathering space, Humanities classroom, STEM classroom, and tutor room. Students have
access to a small patio space for outdoor work. The outdoor playscape and hillsides serve to meet the explorative needs of the upper elementary child. 

Who is the Upper Elementary Child?

The upper elementary child (ages 9-12) is in the second plane of development called childhood. It is a plane marked
by the mathematical mind and creative imagination. In this second half of the childhood plane, the child begins to
integrate knowledge across all curricular areas and utilize greater abstract thought. The early sensorial and
mathematical materials from preprimary and lower elementary aid the older child in analyzing the rules and processes of mathematics. Cultural awareness and interest deepens as the child is now able to question, compare, and evaluate. Academic growth in all areas deepens and widens. The child’s growing understanding of society leads to a strong sense of morality and a desire to build a strong conscience.

Elements of GSCM’s Upper Elementary Curriculum

Cosmic Curriculum and the Plan of God

Multi-step Projects

Oral Speaking 


Excellence in Writing

Structured Word Inquiry 

Poetry Memorization 

Literature discussion groups 

Young Authors 


Concrete to abstract mathematics

Mathematics precision and accuracy 

Mathematical materials

Mastery of math facts

Weekly ALEKS (on-line math program)

Scientific method

Project-based learning 


Integration of history and culture

Connection between secular and biblical history 

Geography study (biomes, countries/capitals, maps, etc.)

Personal Histories 

Faith Formation

Level III Catechesis of the Good Shepherd 

Community service 

Liturgy preparation/Prayer Leadership 

Virtues Study 

Community Focus

Camp Kern

Community games 

Artist in Residence Focus Group 

Curriculum Specials

Art & Music 1x per week (integrated studies w/ other curricular areas)

Spanish 2x per week 

Fine Arts Fair

An inner change has taken place, but nature is quite logical in arousing now in the child not only a hunger for knowledge and understanding, but a claim to mental independence, a desire to distinguish good from evil by his own powers, and to resent limitation by arbitrary authority.  In the field of morality, the child now stands in need of his own inner light..
-Maria Montessori