In Montessori education, the “reasoning mind” refers to the development of logical and abstract thinking skills that occur during the elementary years (ages 6-12). This phase follows the period of the absorbent mind in the Montessori approach. Dr. Maria Montessori referred to the elementary stage as the second plane of development, and during this period, students exhibit a strong inclination towards reasoning, imagination, and abstract thought.

Here are key aspects of the reasoning mind in Montessori elementary education at North Star:

Development of Abstract Reasoning

The reasoning mind stage is characterized by the student’s increasing ability to think abstractly and conceptually. Montessori educators observe that students in this stage are eager to explore deeper and more complex ideas that go beyond concrete, sensorial experienceslike they had in the Casa (Preschool) classroom.

Use of the Montessori Materials: 

The Montessori elementary classroom is equipped with a variety of specially designed materials that stimulate abstract thinking and reasoning. These materials build on the concrete experiences of the early childhood years and provide opportunities for exploration in subjects like mathematics, language, geography, and science.

Integration of Subjects: 

The Montessori elementary curriculum at North Star is organized around integrated thematic studies. Rather than teaching subjects in isolation, Montessori educators emphasize the interconnectedness of knowledge. For example, a study of a particular historical period may include elements of geography, language, and mathematics.

Cultural Studies and Cosmic Education: 

Montessori elementary education places a strong emphasis on cultural studies and what Montessori referred to as “cosmic education.” The goal is to help children develop a holistic understanding of the interconnectedness of the universe, fostering a sense of awe, wonder, and responsibility for the world.

Encouragement of Independent Research: 

Montessori educators encourage students to pursue independent research projects based on their interests and curiosities. This approach promotes self-directed learning and allows students to delve deeply into topics of personal fascination, fostering a love for lifelong learning.

Development of Social Skills: 

At North Star, the Montessori elementary years also focus on the development of social skills and cooperation. Students engage in collaborative projects and learn to work in groups, developing the ability to communicate, negotiate, and share ideas effectively.

Transition to Abstract Symbols: 

As students progress through the elementary stage, there is a gradual transition from concrete materials to abstract symbols and concepts. For example, in mathematics, students move from using manipulative materials to understand mathematical concepts to working with abstract equations and operations.

Cultivation of Moral and Ethical Values: 

Montessori elementary education emphasizes the development of the whole child, including the cultivation of moral and ethical values. Students explore topics related to character education, empathy, and social responsibility.

Overall, the reasoning mind in Montessori elementary education reflects a stage of intellectual and social development where students move beyond the concrete experiences of early childhood to explore abstract concepts, make connections between disciplines, and develop a deeper understanding of the world around them. The Montessori approach aims to nurture the student’s natural curiosity and provide an environment that supports their intellectual and moral growth.