Our Primary program provides a family like atmosphere in which your child’s natural development is followed. At this age, your child possesses a once-in-a-lifetime ability to simply absorb information from the environment. In the Primary Program, children are given the structured freedom to work at their own pace and pursue their love of learning. Your child will emerge with a set of skills – social, emotional, and academic – and, more importantly, know how to function within a group.
Ages: 3 to 6 years
Schedule: Monday through Friday, 8:45am-11:45am; 8:45am – 3:15pm for older students
Our newly constructed Primary classrooms are specially designed for young children. Furnishings and fixtures are scaled to just their size. The windows have been lowered so children can easily view the outdoor environment. Your child is provided with a comprehensive offering of materials to support reading, writing, mathematics, geography, science, music, art, language, and cognitive and motor skills.
Unlike traditional classrooms where your child is expected to pay rapt attention to the teacher, in the Primary classroom, the teacher is trained to observe each individual child. You won’t see our teachers standing in front of the classroom writing on a chalkboard, but rather down at your child’s level, engaged one-on-one or in a small group.
Montessori Primary classrooms are distinguished by their mixed age group of children. Younger children attend for half days. Children in their “kindergarten year” stay for lunch, physical education class, and an afternoon classroom session. Because the learning is individualized, your child can work at her own pace when participating in a mixed age classroom community. Younger children benefit from example, and learn from the activities of the older children, while each older child gains the self-confidence that comes with responsibility and leadership.
Many parents are often surprised to see the calm environment of a Primary classroom. Children are engaged purposefully in a wide variety of activities and materials that captivate their attention. Through ‘grace and courtesy’ practice, we teach your child how to problem solve conflicts, how to act politely in various situations, and how to be kind and helpful to their friends. Your child will learn to work with a high level of concentration, free from interruptions, and enjoy the peaceful community of the classroom.
Guided by our Primary teachers and based upon your child’s unique development, learning takes place through your child’s own activity. Children choose their work from a wide variety of materials scientifically designed to develop a new skill or reveal a new concept through your child’s use and exploration. Your child will gain a deeper level of understanding of abstract concepts by manipulating tangible materials and exploring and repeating these activities independently.
We focus on these important areas:
Practical Life activities instill skills that help your child care for themselves, others, and the environment. The activities are simple, concrete exercises that include some of the daily routines your child has already observed at home. They pour liquids, polish objects, prepare food, wash dishes, wash tables, sweep, etc. The work is introduced to provide real-life experience that assists with growth in self-control, independence, coordination, fine motor skills, concentration and the social skills children will need for other work in the classroom.
Young children learn about the world around them through the constant use of all their senses. The Sensorial materials and activities are designed to develop cognitive skills and to help children classify and order impressions by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring all the physical properties of their environment. The children’s manipulation of the Sensorial materials develops essential skills and boosts their powers of observation and deduction, broadens their vocabulary, and contributes to their later understanding of formal educational concepts.
Language development is vital to all human development. The Primary classroom language materials are based on a carefully structured phonic approach to writing and reading. At first, the children link sound to symbol by tracing cursive sandpaper letters with their fingers while being told the phonic sounds. Soon, they are writing simple words with the moveable alphabet, matching words with objects, reading their first three letter words, and then reading phonic books. The last stage of reading is the introduction to early grammar, comprehension, and creative writing. The classroom is also rich in oral language opportunities, allowing your child to experience conversation, poetry, and stories.
The Montessori Mathematics activities help your child understand relationships in the environment and be able to express them in abstract terms. Your child will begin to understand the concepts of math by manipulating concrete materials, learning to count, associating quantity and numerals, and gaining a sensorial impression of the decimal system. Once your child has acquired a solid understanding of basic mathematical principles, they progress on to the abstract level of mental calculations and problem sums.
Cultural and Science study provides the foundation for your child to learn about the world around them and brings an awareness that everything in the universe is connected and all components depend on one another. Geography, Biology, Botany, Zoology, Art, Music, and History are presented as extensions of language activities, and are integrated into the environment as part of the curriculum (rather than a separate, "special" activity or work time).
Each classroom has one teacher, who we call a Directress, and one Classroom Assistant. All of our Directresses have Montessori Primary training and many years of Montessori classroom experience. This model of teaching provides your child with plenty of support for their learning as well as ample opportunities to stretch their growing desire for independence.
Ready to Move Up
The Primary classroom is a continuum of education that allows your child to build upon their experiences each year. Younger children fill their days with activities focused on gaining independence and setting the groundwork for future learning. Older children are introduced to sounds and symbols, the decimal system, etc. During their third year (the traditional kindergarten year) they will stay in the classroom for a full day and everything comes to fruition for your child. They will finish this first phase of the program with a strong set of academic skills and, more importantly, a love of learning. This is the time to explore the many opportunities our Elementary Program offers to children six and up.
Are you ready to learn more about the Montessori experience or schedule a tour of our school? Jennifer would be happy to send additional information to you!