The Primary program serves children from ages two and half years old to six years old, who learn and grow together in a warm and prepared environment. The classroom environment is designed to appeal to the primary aged child and is filled with developmentally appropriate materials. Colorful and appealing educational materials are displayed on shelves accessible to all children, child-sized furniture is tailored to their needs, and there are individual and group work spaces at tables or rugs on the floor.
Within this mixed age group, children learn and advance at their own pace in a respectful at-mosphere. The younger children lean by the examples of the older children. The older chil-dren gain confidence and reinforce their knowledge by helping the younger ones.
Children are free to move around and choose the materials.Teachers interact with one child at a time or in a small group, demonstrating the use of the materials and recording each child’s pro guess. As children learn and grow, they progress individually at their own pace from practical life exercises to sensory materials to academic materials
In our Primary classroom we have five areas of study:
Practical life & Art
Practical Life is the cornerstone of the Montessori Method and is the building block for all the other subjects such as Sensorial, Math, Language and Cultural in primary classroom. It con-sists of simple, daily activities using objects and tools which are familiar for them.
The purpose of Practical Life is to provide both physical and developmental skills: coordination, concentration, independence, order, and fine & gross motor skills.
In our Art area, we focus on the process and not the product. Children are able to express themselves through their art using play-doh,paint, pastels, scissors, etc.
“The hand is the instrument of the mind”
Maria Montessori believed that children take in information through their senses.
Through the use of hands-on learning materials a child is able to refine his/her sense percep-tion, problem solve and make associations of concepts they have learned and apply them to their environment and the outside world.
The purpose of the Sensorial materials is to refine child’s sense perception by isolating each sense.The materials are designed to isolate the sense in order for a child to perceive the sin-gle quality within the work.
The three main aims of the Sensorial materials are to stimulate cognitive development, to de-velop discrimination of specific qualities, and to develop an ability to make judgments and comparisons.
The five senses explored in the the Sensorial Area are:
In the Montessori environment, children are exposed to Math in all areas of the classroom. It begins in Practical Life, where the children are pouring, spooning, sorting, classifying and practicing skills that will prepare them for Mathematics. Maria Montessori also designed the Sensorial materials in sets of ten to prepare the child for the decimal system.
The math materials are prepared in a sequence and each one is build upon the previous one. It is important to enable the child to manipulate the materials through their senses to build a concrete foundation at their own pace before they can think abstractly.
The basic materials such as spindle boxes, sandpaper numerals, cards and counters build the foundation for the remainder of the Math materials. Children develop a concrete under-standing of quantity through these hands-on materials.
Once a child can associate quantity 1-10 with their numerals, other math concepts are intro-duce.
• Introduction of the decimal system (1, 10, 100, 1000) with the golden bead material
• Concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
• Linear counting up 1000
• Skip counting
The Montessori environment supports the sensitive period of language through the use of not only the Language materials, but also the materials in Practical Life, Sensorial, and Cultural areas.
The language materials help the child to develop literacy skills.
The three stages of language development that Maria Montessori identified are:
Stage 1: Pre-reading and Pre-writing
• Visual perception
• Sensorial writing
Stage 2: Developmental Reading and Writing
• Reading program
• Introduction to Grammar
Stage 3: Reading and Writing as a Tool
• Fact finding
• Grammar and word study
• Formal writing
In the Montessori environment, Cultural awareness is important to establish a child’s sense of place within the world. Cultural development enables the child to make connections between himself /herself and the physical world around him/her.
The cultural curriculum includes the five animal kingdoms, life cycles, continents, studies of the Earth, space, landforms, and various cultures.