Childhood » Age Six to Twelve » Elementary » Going out

Going out

In the second plane of development (6-12 years) children quickly develop considerable physical strength and stamina and a intellectual curiosity about the functioning of the society around them. In development terms, nature and endowed them with the physical and intellectual means to explore beyond the four walls of a classroom. We support them in this quest, helping them little by little and step by step to plan and carryout out these forays into society, which we simply call ‘Going Out’.

“The foot is noble. To walk is noble. Thanks to the feet, the child who already walks can expect of the outdoors certain answers to his secret questions.”

-Dr. Maria Montessori

The first instinct of the young Elementary child, when then want to go out, is to open the door and go. Whether the goal is to buy fruit or flowers, or visit the library, park or woodland, the 6 or 7 year old needs support to plan what is needed and establish exactly where they need to get to. Money, maps, coats and the plans of others all need to be considered. Whereas in the first plane we help the child to act for themselves, now we help them to think for themselves, working out what they need in order to be safe and successful.

As the children get older, they arrange more complex visits which are likely to involve phone calls and internet searches are part of the process. These ‘Going Outs’ eventually extend into overnight visits, for example to see a Shakespeare play at Stratford upon Avon or to visit the Neolithic sites in Orkney.

Unlike traditional class trips, these visits are organised by the children and follow interests that they have. They are not ‘taken’ by the adult, instead they lead and an adult chaperones them.