|Ages||3 years old to 6 years old|
|Morning Primary||9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon|
|Extended Day Primary||9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.|
|All Day Primary||7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.|
A holistic educational approach, the Montessori Primary Program focus is on the individuality of each child in respect of their needs or talents, as opposed to the needs of the class as a whole. The physical, emotional, social, aesthetic, and cognitive needs and interests are inseparable and equally important. A goal is to help the child maintain their natural joy of learning. Ideally children begin attending the Primary Program when they are 3 years old. They stay in the same class for three years subsequently becoming the 4 and then 5 year olds in their class.
The Primary Program encourages independence and freedom with limits and responsibility. The youngest (3 year olds) are guided in "practical life" skills and manner. These skills are emphasized with the goal of increasing attention spans, hand-eye coordination, and tenacity. Learning occurs in an inquisitive, cooperative, and nurturing atmosphere. Students increase their own knowledge through self-and teacher-initiated experiences. Learning takes place through the senses. Students learn through manipulation materials and interacting with others. Because of the multi-aged group, the classroom has a heritage. The older children provide leadership, guidance, and act as role models for the younger children. The older children also benefit by helping younger classmates, reinforcing previous skills and knowledge, developing self-confidence and leadership skills and benefiting from the satisfaction of helping others. The mix of ages also provides opportunities for a variety of safe, lasting, and meaningful friendships.
To facilitate exploration and discovery, the Primary classroom is organized into five key areas;
The purpose of Practical Life is to develop concentration, independence, and control of movement through lessons like dish washing, dry pouring, and polishing. These materials provide a solid foundation for life. It is the process that is essential. The results are internal.
The Sensorial materials help the child to sequence, clarify and classify multitudes of information. The materials, designed to enhance discrimination through the use of the 5 senses, include knobbed cylinders, pink tower, color tablets, rough and smooth boards, taste and smell bottles, the bells, sound cylinders, and constructive triangles.
There are six basic concepts covered by the mathematics materials:
1) Quantity, symbol, and sequence of numbers from one to ten
2) The function of the decimal system
3) The concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
4) Counting to 1000
5) Exploration and memorization math tables; hierarchies and division
6) FractionsMaterials that indirectly prepare for abstract concepts include the red rods for linear measurement; the geometry cabinet, geometric solids, the constructive triangle for geometry; and the binomial and trinomial cube for algebra.
Concepts covered include oral language development, written expression, reading and the study of grammar. Manipulative materials include sandpaper letters and the moveable alphabet, which allow children to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly and to express their thoughts through writing.
Cultural lessons expose the child to the basics of geography, history, life sciences, music, art, and movement. The cultural environment includes flowers, plants, botany cabinets, animals, land and water forms, globes, and manipulative maps. The outdoor playground gardens serve for observation and consideration.
Kindergarten (5 to 6 year olds)
The 5 -6 year olds are beginning to unfold as young leaders, beginning readers, and budding mathematicians. The third year is the most fruitful part of the Montessori Primary experience. Everything children have internalized during the 1st and 2nd years comes together to create a unique way of learning.