An important component of the elementary program is what we call “Going Out.” Going Out occurs for a group of children when exploration of a topic exhausts the resources of the classroom. We want the children to be comfortable navigating the world, not just our classrooms. So, we have a few excellent books, but not everything there is to read about a topic. We have many evocative art and construction materials, but probably not the one perfect thing that a group of children need to build their model. As a result, the children must “go out” beyond the limits of the classroom to find the information or resource that they need.
A Going Out is a planned undertaking by a small group of children. They find a resource in the community, schedule the outing, arrange for their own transportation and supervision (by staff or parent volunteers), prepare themselves for the experience, conduct themselves with dignity while out in public, and return to share their research with the rest of the class. Each Going Out is an entire course of study on independence, responsibility, and good citizenship —to say nothing of the intellectual rewards that children get from such experience.
Montessori elementary children go out to the public library, to museums, to farms, to local businesses and public service institutions. They visit other schools and consult with experts. They attend plays, ballets, concerts, public lectures, tours, and other civic offerings. They spend time outside, having direct experiences with the natural world. Montessori children might go out occasionally or often, but the experiences are always deeply personal and memorable.