Elementary Environment-Agni

The Elementary Environment is specifically designed to satisfy the logical, reasoning and questioning mind of children between the ages 6 ½ to 11 ½ years and their need for social development. Elementary aged children typically can be characterized by their curious minds, ability to abstract and imagine, moral and social orientation and energy for research and exploration. Elementary children work in small, mixed-age groups on a variety of projects and concepts that spark the imagination, engage the intellect and develop reasoning abilities. Their work frequently involves research and discussion. Field trips are organized as when required so that children are not restricting their learning within their classroom. Exploration of each area is expanded by the children, who organize visits to gain real-life knowledge from a variety of community resources. This approach fosters a feeling of connectedness to humanity and encourages children’s natural desire to make a contribution to the world.

The curriculum includes all subjects presented in a holistic manner, an approach called ‘Cosmic Education’. It focuses on interdependence and interrelationships that exist in our world and the universe. Elementary studies build knowledge through an in-depth study of the world and how it works. Studies are integrated across disciplines that include Geography, Biology, History, Language, Mathematics, Geometry, Music, and other forms of artistic expression.

Practical life activities in this level help the child to navigate the physical and social world. Activities include learning the social norms of a group, planning work and managing short-term projects. Few practical life exercises include learning conflict resolution, organizing trips and events, gardening, cooking and care of the environment.

History is presented through stories based on the contributions of all of humanity. It is then explored in greater depth through inquiry-based research. Some areas covered are time activities and timelines, evolution of life, human studies, fundamental needs, introduction to early civilizations, growth of culture and migration..

Geography is introduced through oral lessons with tactile materials to allow repetition. Chemistry and Physics are integrated in Geography. Nomenclature, experiments and demonstrations help children understand what they experience and observe in their environment.

The Mathematics curriculum introduces mathematical concepts, number theory, and computation through the use of Montessori materials which allow the children to practice in order to gain understanding and problem-solving skills. Though Mathematics learning continues through use Montessori materials, the goal is abstract understanding. Geometry is explored with Montessori materials and tactile demonstrations. Emphasis is placed on connecting the physical experience with understanding of the abstract concept.

Language is integrated into all areas of the curriculum. It is primarily focused on reading fluency, writing, oral expression and comprehension. Written expression is emphasized. Tamil and Hindi are presented as languages and not as subjects. The emphasis is on speaking. Students continue to build on the basics of the language using visual materials.

Biology is introduced through oral lessons and children explore the environment through observation and experiments. The main areas covered are function, structure, relationships, adaptation and classification.

The teacher introduces an area of study with a presentation of key information or material and then guides the children in individual or small-groups that explore varied concepts of the subject. The Elementary teacher is in continuous contact with each child offering honest reflections and suggestions for improvement.