Primary (Preschool and Kindergarten: aged 3-6 years)

Primary (Preschool and Kindergarten: aged 3-6 years)

The Primary Program is for preschoolers and kindergartners, aged 3-6 years, and the environment is divided into four core curriculum areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, and Mathematics.  Our program also includes Art, Music, Geography, Science, History, Peace.  (Please see the Enrichment Programs tab to learn about all the other wonderful learning our students do in addition to their Montessori work.)  Through interaction with materials, peers, children of varying ages, and adults, children learn and play, and develop a healthy attitude toward school.  Montessori provides a foundation in learning that supports the development of a positive self-esteem and a love of learning, while developing skills that children need for life-long learning and success.

Practical Life

Practical Life activities are the foundation of the Montessori Method, and are vital in the development of  concentration, large and fine motor coordination, ability to follow a process, and a positive self-esteem. They also teach children to care for themselves and their environment, helping them to become more independent.  Children learn the language and social skills needed to practice positive, peaceful interactions with their classmates and teachers.  Activities include basic skills such as pouring, spooning, buttoning, table scrubbing, sweeping, sewing, polishing metal and wood, walking on the line, and many Grace and Courtesy lessons.

Sensorial

The Sensorial materials guide the child in the powers of discernment, and thus help children become more aware of variations in the tangible world.  The child learns sequencing, categorizing, problem solving, and classifying.  These materials are the foundation of the development of the mathematical mind, and of critical thinking skills. Children work with materials and activities that refine and develop all five senses, plus the stereognostic sense (muscle memory). Examples of Sensorial activities are the Pink Tower, Mystery Bags, Knobbed Cylinders, Geometric Solids, Constructive Triangles, and matching tastes, scents, and weights.

Language

The Language materials include vocabulary development, sandpaper letters, the moveable alphabet, and a phonics-based approach to reading.  The Practical Life and Sensorial areas help the child develop the skills needed for language and math.  Although children are exposed to these materials from the beginning, most children become emergent readers between 4.5-5.5 years of age.  Our Kindergarteners are the "leaders and readers" of the program.

Math

Montessori Math is fascinating for children and adults alike.  Many adults, when they discover Montessori Math, find that these materials give them a much better understanding of the math that they learned as children.  The concrete approach to mathematics through varied manipulatives is the springboard for later abstract work.  Children begin with the basic concepts of numbers 0-10, and may develop an understanding of place value to the 1000s place. Kindergarten students, because they have been working with these fabulous materials for a three year cycle, can do 4 digit addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division!

Cultural Studies

This curricular area of the Montessori Primary classroom is actually made up of several topics: Art, Music, Geography, Science, History, and Peace.  Students learn about the world around them, beginning to understand how they fit in the world.  They learn about peoples and cultures around the world, study and make continent maps, explore science with hands-on experiments, and learn about people and events from our history.  They explore art with paint, collage, cutting and gluing, and sewing.  Children love to sing, and music can be heard in every classroom, as children both make music and move to music.  Peace is an important part of any Montessori environment, as our goal is to help children find peace within themselves, and to find peaceful ways to interact with those around them.

Children in the Primary class can be as young as 3 by September 30, as long as they are potty trained and ready for the program.  Three and four year olds attend half-day, Monday through Friday. When the child is four turning five during the school year, they may also attend in the afternoons.  An Extended Day program is available for younger children.  The Kindergarten students are the leaders of the Primary environment.

Our five Montessori Primary classrooms excite children's natural curiosity in themselves and their world, and set the foundation for an enduring love of learning!

We provide an environment that:

- is child-sized

- is multi-aged

- is well prepared

- encourages self-direction

- empowers independent thinking

- allows children to work and develop at their own pace

- encourages respectful relationships

- allows children to recognize and solve problems

- develops coordination, concentration, independence, order, concern for others, and self-esteem