The Second Plane of Development (6-12 years old)

Children at this stage are abstract rational thinkers. The classroom creates a community that enables collaborative work characteristic of the elementary child. Children are curious and active participants in their own learning. They often choose what their work is, where to do it, when to do it and with whom to do it. These choices develop independence and build confidence. Socialization is a key element of this plane and the classroom community provides a mini-society where children actively seek to find and create their place in the group.

Elementary Classes

6 - 9 Year Olds

Beginning with the origins of our planet, students in 6–9 explore the mysteries of our universe as they learn to place themselves within the context of modern civilization. Great lessons, such as the Story of the Universe, the Timeline of Life, the Story of Human Beings, the Story of Numbers and the Story of Language, expose students to a wide variety of curricular areas including mathematics, language, geography, botany zoology, history and physical science, fostering their fertile imagination.

The teacher presents lessons through individual instruction as well as in small groups to provide students with the opportunity to learn to listen and respect the ideas and thoughts of others in their group. Group instruction also allows the teacher to easily observe what the student is learning and encourages a dynamic relationship fostered by inquiry and discussion. Weekly individual teacher-student conferences allow students to choose their work with adult guidance and students cultivate independent learning through work journals where the children record their activities throughout the day. Learning takes place in many locations including the library, garden, and frequent small field trips around the city.

Spanish classes are offered twice a week to expose students to diverse Spanish speaking cultures as well as introduce them to the fundamentals of the Spanish language. Additional learning includes exposure to fine arts, Farmessori, team sports, dance, yoga and swimming as well as a five-day camping trip in Wisconsin.

9 - 12 Year Olds

At the 9–12 level hands-on, project-based learning is a critical part of the classroom as fundamental skills continue to solidify and children become increasingly independent and motivated learners. Students in this stage move from concrete representation to abstract thinking, starting to bring order to various disconnected facts and increasingly able to think hypothetically.

Work journals allow students to set personal goals and several long-term projects refine research and writing skills. These projects demand strong organizational abilities and build executive functioning. Technology also plays an important role in the classroom as students explore these powerful new tools of research, discovery and expression. From a beautifully calligraphied letter to a flash animation project depicting a famous battle scene, creativity is woven throughout the student’s work.

Children’s interests frequently take them out of the classroom for small group field trips to further research. Two popular sites are the Farmessori, NNM’s urban farm, and Nature’s Classroom Institute where students participate in team building, environmental studies and historical simulations. Spanish lessons are given three times a week to expose students to the culture of Spanish speaking countries as well as build vocabulary, grammar, speaking, reading and writing in a foreign language. The 9 – 12 level also includes exposure to curricular music instruction with a weekly class as well as participation in our band program or private music instruction and fine arts electives.