Primary Ages 3-6
The primary children are natural learners who develop at different rates. Our emphasis is placed on the respect and appreciation of each individual. The children strive toward independence, self-awareness, self-discipline, compassion of others and a deep love of learning.
Math. Dr. Montessori demonstrated that when children have access to hands-on mathematical materials, they can easily and naturally assimilate the basic principles of arithmetic. She designed concrete materials to represent the decimal system, which could then be used to work with each mathematical operation.
Language. In a Montessori classroom, reading instruction begins the day the child shows interest in what a word says. this individual presentation allows the teacher to take advantage of each child’s greatest periods of interest.
The phonetic sounds are given first because these are the sounds used in words. The children become aware of these sounds when the teacher introduces consonants with sandpaper letters. Writing, or the construction of words with moveable letters, precede reading. Gradually, children learn irregular words and words with multiple syllables.
The children’s skill in phonetics gives them the ability to read very quickly, adding difficulty as the child becomes proficient.
Practical Life. The urge to imitate adults is overpowering. Thus, the opportunity to wash dishes, pare vegetables, polish shoes, and set the table is very appealing.
In this area of the classroom, the children perfect their coordination as many of these activities require multiple steps and careful handling. They notice details and delight in the process of following a regular sequence of actions. Finally, they learn the proper work habits by finishing each task and putting away all the materials before starting another activity.
Sensorial. Dr. Montessori viewed the education of the senses as a prerequisite to intellectual development. She designed sensorial materials to assist in the development of intelligence. By using the pink tower, brown stairs and color tablets, children become aware of the details and learn to discriminate. Manipulation of the sensorial items helps prepare the child’s mind for mathematics.
Cultural Awareness The large wooden puzzle maps are among the most popular activities in the classroom. At first, children use the planisphere map to learn land and water, continent and ocean, then the names of continents and oceans. Other maps include the continents with their countries and capitals. This spurs lessons on customs, foods, music and languages from other countries.
Science. The children’s natural curiosity is stimulated through discovery projects and experiments in biology, botany, and zoology. Through the labeling of pictures and working with nomenclature lessons, the plant and animal kingdom are studied.
Art and Music. Art cultivates the great joy of creating. Children are free to explore a variety of media. The importance of the process is stressed, rather than the end product.
Students are introduced to musical concepts of rhythm and melody plus instruments including drums, bells, and tambourines. In order to foster a creative spirit, students are encouraged to improvise and make up words to songs.
History. Montessori offers children a concrete presentation of history by letting them work with personal timelines as well as a timeline of life.