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American Montessori Society | International Montessori Council  

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2nd Plane of Development Continued

At age six, the child moves to what Montessori calls the Second Plane of Development, which encompasses the years from 6 to 12. There are enormous changes in the needs of the child from those of the First Plane, the years from birth to 6. The child is no longer centered on himself and his family but now has a great need to explore society and the world. If the First Plane is the age of “what,” this Second Plane is the age of “why,” “where,” “who,” “when,” and “how.”

“Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.”
– Maria Montessori

Prepare for What lies Ahead


Upper Elementary students transition toward more abstract thinking as they begin to rely more on books and traditional resource materials as they build upon the work done with materials in the Lower Elementary.Upper Elementary students transition toward more abstract thinking as they begin to rely more on books and traditional resource materials as they build upon the work done with materials in the Lower Elementary. The goal of the Montessori Upper Elementary program is to prepare the child for what lies ahead academically, while addressing the child’s needs as a whole. While the Upper Elementary curriculum aligns with state standards, you will find that it functions well above advanced academics standards. The Upper Elementary combines 3rd through 6th grades in a dynamic multi-age classroom. Students build important social and leadership skills in a respectful environment.

Future Proof

We adhere to the Montessori curriculum, but we feel we must also reflect American standards of performance so that when our students leave for other schools they will be secure in their new environments.

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01. Practical Approach

To insure this, we administer standardized tests to the children yearly to teach them test taking skills and strategies that they will need in the future.

02. Focus on Academics

The carefully developed curriculum guides the child through the exploration of language, math, geometry, botany, zoology, geography, and history. The child of this age wants to know how everything came to be. In the Montessori elementary classroom, we give the child the history of the universe, the world, the coming of plants and animals, and the emergence of humans on Earth.

03. Extra-Curricular

At the stage children are guided to take up extra-curricular activities depending on their natural talent and interest. A range of these programs are detailed as special programs.



For Better Future

Upper Elementary Program was designed to suit the developmental needs of the child moving toward adolescence.



The concrete understanding of mathematical concepts is solidified in Lower Elementary through the use of Montessori math manipulatives. For the Upper Elementary student, this foundation motivates the student to further explore numbers. Progression through the Upper Elementary math curriculum is not strictly linear. Instead, the students explore different concepts of math simultaneously. Students explore concepts of whole number operations, fractions, decimals, measurement, problem solving, algebra and geometry. Key lessons on the history of mathematics and different number systems such as the Babylonians, Romans and Mayans lend new perspective to the student’s developing knowledge base.

“We are confronted with a considerable development of consciousness that has already taken place, but now that consciousness is thrown outwards with a special direction, intelligence being extroverted, and there is an unusual demand on the part of the child to know the reasons of things. Knowledge can be best given where there is eagerness to learn, so this is the period when the seed of everything can be sown, the child’s mind being like a fertile field, ready to receive what will germinate into culture. ~ Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential”
– Maria Montessori

Language Arts

The study of grammar in Montessori is unique. Having already explored the function of words as they relate to grammar in Lower Elementary, in Upper Elementary, grammar is explored in more detail. Key elements of grammar are applied throughout with an intense focus on writing. Sentence analysis, paragraph writing, research reports, essays, letters, poetry and creative writing are all explored. Daily journal writing on a wide variety of topics strengthens writing skills while peaking the student’s interest in writing.

Most students learn to read in the Primary classroom. In the Elementary classroom, the students begin reading to learn. In Upper Elementary, students explore books of various literary types through lively literary discussion groups where literatures including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, biographies, etc. are analyzed and appreciated. In addition to literary discussion groups, the students deepen their research skills where both online and book research skills are utilized for report writing and oral presentations done in class.

Sciences Technology Robotics


Our hands-on science program uses an inquiry-based, Socratic approach incorporating the Scientific Method throughout. Dr. Maria Montessori lived and worked during a time of immense technological and social change. Her work not only challenged social conventions of her day, but embraced innovation and understood the importance of technological progress, particularly in education. It is with this in mind that our Upper Elementary curriculum has embraced technology including computers, robotics and engineering as a staple of the classroom environment. In partnership with a local robotics lab, students plan, build and design their own robots utilizing the latest technology. This innovative program goes above and beyond what is introduced in advanced technology-based programs in the area. Our robotics program follows our physics program, and is a natural progression from studies in the Laws of Thermodynamics, Newton’s Laws, studies in potential and kinetic energy and simple machines.

In addition to robotics, our science curriculum incorporates biology, chemistry, ecology, astronomy and Earth science in a hands-on, comprehensive science program. It is here that students have the opportunity to perform experiments utilizing the steps in the scientific method. Although the plant and animal kingdoms are our primary focus in biology, all five kingdoms are introduced: Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plant and animal. Students conduct research, write reports and often present their finding to their peers. In chemistry, students research the Periodic Table and explore atomic and molecular structures building out their own molecules in the classroom. Earth science is divided into several units of study including the relationship of the Earth and the sun, composition of the Earth, the Earth’s atmosphere, weather and the hydrosphere. The Earth sciences provides a foundation for studies in ecology including ecosystems, endangered species and the role of humans in maintaining our environment.


Field Trips

Ancient Civilizations, American History, world geography.

Maria Montessori believed that the learning that went on in the classroom was not enough, so she developed “going out,” which is the equivalent of today’s field trip. Students need to get out of the classroom and experience the world through hands on learning. We take numerous field trips throughout the year, and we strive to connect those field trips to what we are learning in the classroom. Field trips include visits to museums in Washington D.C., learning about Native American life in Fairfax County, experiencing the performing arts at the Kennedy Center and Imagination Stage, or simply getting the children out and active in the community by volunteering. There are also field trips where the students really get out and get active. We have an annual 3-day camping trip and a 1-day ski trip where they students really get to foster their independence while forming bonds with their fellow classmates.

Field studies such as our annual camping trip, monthly museum trips to Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas and theater performances, keep students fully immersed in learning and in touch with nature and the arts. In addition to this, we have an annual ski trip as well as numerous monthly field trips. Elementary is always it seems, “on the go”.

Cultural Studies:

Ancient Civilizations, American History, world geography.

Dr. Maria Montessori placed a particular emphasis on what she termed “cosmic education”. The goal of cosmic education is to guide the child to an initial examination of the question, “Who am I?” ; Tracing life and human origins through materials such as the Timeline of Life, the Early Humans timeline and extensive studies in ancient civilizations and the needs of people . World geography is incorporated simultaneously as it applies to regions studied. Modern history is explored with a focus on American history (colonial, the new nation, the civil war, westward expansion, the age of industry and invention and the modern age). Virginia studies are also incorporated into the cultural studies curriculum, in keeping with state standards and requirements.

Reston Montessori Upper Elementary Class Gallery



What Parents are Saying

Parent /Gaurdian on

Rated 5.0 out of 5
August 27, 2021

We’ve been part of the RMS community for the past 8 years, and both my children have absolutely thrived at the school (one is in kindergarten there now, and the other was there through third grade). The teachers are dedicated and caring, the schoolwork is interesting and challenging, and the specials offered are excellent (French, art, music, etc). The school truly feels like one big family, and it’s a really nurturing environment for kids of all ages and backgrounds. I especially like the cultural diversity of the school, and the fact that the teachers and staff do such a good job honoring and teaching about a wide variety of holidays and cultural practices. In reading some of the other reviews, I have to clarify that the school *has* had quite an effective COVID mitigation strategy in place. What the previous poster neglected to say is that the teacher/student COVID cases mentioned in that post were literally the only two COVID cases in the school all year. The school *did* indeed communicate those cases to the entire school via email. RMS went to great lengths, in fact, to minimize class size and create new teaching pods in favor of smaller groups when COVID first started. They also have hand sanitizer everywhere, kids wash their hands often, and all staff and students wear masks indoors. Overall, we truly love the school and feel that it’s been a great, supportive environment that’s helped both our kids become the best version of themselves from an academic, social and emotional perspective.


A review by parent on

Rated 5.0 out of 5
January 28, 2021

My children have been at Reston Montessori (RMS) since they were only a few months old. After touring many schools in the area, from the moment we walked into RMS it was nurturing, kind, welcoming, adaptable, and have gone above and beyond for our children. The RMS teachers and staff are not only excellent and nurturing teachers but the curriculum and structure is far and above others. We have also experiencing some issues with the owner, but my children are not learning from the owner, they are learning and with teachers and their peers everyday. I would also add in the five years we have been at RMS my children have not experienced any turnover in teachers or aides in the classroom.

Parent of a child from RMS

A Parent's review on

Rated 5.0 out of 5
January 30, 2020

I love Reston Montessori School. The teachers have fostered a love of learning in both of my children. We have found it to be academically challenging and nurturing at the same time.


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