_Primary Program (preschool and kindergarten)
A View of the Primary Classroom…
Peek into our youngest classroom and you may see some children pouring rice and some using math beads. Others are building words or writing in their journals. Our Primary classroom is a hub of activity and an opportunity for children to delve into their first structured learning experience. Here children bond with caring and experienced teachers, finding their own niche in a home-like atmosphere away from home.
The Primary classroom serves a maximum of 25 children, ages 3-6, with a Head Teacher and three Assistant Teachers. At the Primary level, children are immersed in an environment of choice between hundreds of hands-on materials, designed to encourage specific skills when a child shows readiness in his/her daily work. Because the Montessori materials used at this level are self-correcting, each child can work individually or with a partner at his/her own level while teachers present lessons to individuals or small groups.
The half-day Primary Program runs from 8:30am to 11:30am and includes journal time, snack time, morning Montessori work time, circle time, and recess. Half-day students are picked up by 11:30am. Kindergarten children staying full-day continue their day until 3:00pm with lunch, book time, literacy block, and specials (art, Spanish, etc.). Preschool children (ages 3 and 4) staying full-day continue their day with lunch followed by less structured afternoon time which may include planned free play, art exploration, stories and literacy activities, creative movement, Spanish, etc.
Primary Curriculum Overview
Our core Montessori curriculum uses the North American Progressive Montessori approach. This curriculum employs hands-on, high quality Montessori or time-honored materials to introduce new concepts to the children in all subject areas. Activities are presented either non-verbally, letting the child gain his/her own impressions, or with the traditional Montessori “Three Period Lesson.”
The five areas of development in the Montessori Primary classroom are as follows:
Practical Life: These activities are meant to mimic daily adult activities. Children learn how to take care of and appreciate their environment. Activities that involve pouring, scooping, sifting, and pinching help develop fine motor control. Children also learn social graces and manners, and practice care-of-self and care-of-environment activities.
Sensorial: Children are taught how to effectively use their senses. The materials give opportunities for the children to compare, contrast, and differentiate. The sensorial activities also develop fine motor control, concentration skills, and muscular dexterity.
Mathematics: Students work with number quantities using a variety of materials and activities including the Golden Beads, our place value materials. They begin working with geometric shapes, learning names and physical properties. They are given opportunities to explore the volume and dimensions of objects. They are immersed in ordering, counting and beginning addition, subtraction, and multiplication activities as they become ready.
Cultural Studies / Science:
Geography explorations include studying the earth, continents, countries, and different cultures, as well as physical characteristics of land and water through hands-on activities. Botany and zoology materials offer children correct terminology for the topics they are studying. Many opportunities are provided for children to observe and experience specimens from the natural world.
Children practice listening for individual sounds in words and they learn the phonetic sound each letter makes. A mixture of phonics and reading immersion activities are used when children become ready for reading. The metal inset materials, movable alphabet, and sand tray emphasize correct letter formation. Daily journal time and other activities provide lots of writing practice.
Special Programs for Primary Students:
“It is true that we cannot make a genius. We can only give to each individual the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities.”