Primary (3-6 yrs)
Our mixed age Primary program classrooms offer a variety of activities implemented with scientifically designed materials to help impart basic concepts of language, math, science, botany, zoology and cultural subjects in conjunction with music, physical education, art, foreign languages and gardening.
Lessons in the various subjects are given in a one-on-one basis, and follow each child’s development. Children are able to work freely in the classroom, with the teacher as a guide to facilitate learning to promote the success of each student individually. Letting students work independently without interruption gives them the freedom to process the lesson in their own way and at their own pace, allowing them to become self-directed.
Enhancing this process is the design of the Montessori classroom, which contains self-correcting material to empower the children to discover the solutions to lessons in their own time, helping to develop their self-esteem.
In a typical day, a three-year-old may be washing items by hand while a nearby four-year-old composes words and phrases with letters known as the moveable alphabet. Meanwhile, a five-year-old performs multiplication using a specially designed set of beads. Although much of the work at this stage of development is done individually, children enjoy class activities such as storytelling, singing or movement.
The Practical Life Area
Familiar objects found in their own homes attract children to the Practical Life area in the classroom. Through activities involving self-care and care of the classroom environment, the child develops concentration, coordination, focus, order and independence. Following an orderly process, the child learns to carry and use the materials to complete a task, with each lesson progressing in difficulty. Lessons are arranged from left to right on the work tray (except in the Math area) to begin training the eyes for reading.
The Language Area
The Language area isolates elements of language to act as a key in decoding reading. Using multi-sensory tactile equipment, the child is able to use their sense of touch, sight and sound to interact with the lessons in the literacy area. The lessons start with concrete pre-reading materials and proceed to the more abstract concept of reading. Sandpaper letters are felt while the sound of each letter is repeated, then matched to objects, pictures and eventually combined to form phonetic words. The child progresses through the tracing and recognition of letters to begin writing in formal exercises.
The Sensorial Area
All Sensorial material in this area isolates one defining concept such as color, weight, shape, texture, sound or smell. The materials are self-correcting and allow the child to categorize, isolate and distinguish between the qualities the child is learning. Designed to sharpen the child’s five senses, these exercises help the child to understand sensory impressions.
The Math Area
The Mathematics area is comprised of precise sections of focus. The first is numbers one through ten. Similar to the Language area, sandpaper numbers are used as the child learns to recognize the numbers and acquires the ability to associate the quantity with the written symbol. The decimal system is then introduced by using concrete materials that allow the child to see, feel, add, multiply, subtract and divide up to 9,999. Squaring and cubing chains are introduced next, which engages students with the extremely long ten chain. By working with concrete materials, the child develops a solid basis for understanding the decimal system, geometric forms and basic arithmetic operations.
The Cultural/Science Area
Unique to the Montessori environment, our Cultural and Science area sows the seeds of interest in geography, sociology, zoology, botany, music and art. The classroom environment is rich with keys to the exploration of nature and human societies. The child begins a lifelong exploration of other countries, their cultures, the world and the solar system. They learn about seeds, plants, fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects and mammals, beautifully enhanced by our outdoor living pond and our gardens.