For over 25 years, Discover Montessori has had a 6-12 classroom. However, three years ago, we decided to try splitting the elementary classroom into upper and lower elementary classrooms. Having now had experience with both models, we are returning to the 6-12 model because it truly works better by taking advantage of Dr. Montessori’s second plane of development.
Image source: Des Peres Montessori
The 6-12 model works because, if you look at the chart above, there is no split in the line of progression and regression of a student’s development. The year of mastery is the final year of each plane. By splitting the second plane to accommodate an upper and lower elementary, we are expecting the 9 year olds to step into a leadership position before they have experienced the line of regression – before they have had any time to fully understand and refine the skills they have been working on for the past three years. It is the 11/12 year olds who are the true leaders of this plane of development and it is to them that the younger elementary students look for mentorship.