Serving children 3 to 6 years of age

Learning in our Primary classrooms is “hands-on”. All activities support children in choosing meaningful and challenging work at their own interest and ability level. This child-directed engagement strengthens motivation, supports attention, and encourages responsibility.

Our environments feel more like a home than a school. You won’t see desks, nor will a teacher stand at the front of the room delivering a lesson to the whole class. Instead, you’ll see children happily working individually or in small groups, at tables or on the floor near small mats that delineate their own space.

Uninterrupted blocks of work time allow children to work at their own pace and fully immerse themselves in an activity without interruption. Your child’s work cycle involves selecting an activity, performing it for as long as it remains interesting, cleaning up the activity and returning it to the shelf, and making another work choice. This cycle respects individual variations in the learning process, facilitates the development of coordination, concentration, independence, and a sense of order, while facilitating your child’s assimilation of information.

Specially designed learning materials are displayed on open shelves, easily accessible to the children. Classrooms also include low sinks accessible to the children, child-sized furniture, cozy spaces for quiet reading, reachable shelves with work available for free choice, and child-sized kitchen utensils so the students can eat, prepare, and clean up their snack on their own. Teachers gently guide students to help maintain the organization and cleanliness of this environment to keep it orderly and attractive, and to help your child understand how to care for materials and clean up after themselves.

Learning areas include:

Exercises of Practical Life

Children learn daily-life skills, such as how to get dressed, prepare snacks, set the table, and care for plants and animals. They also learn appropriate social interactions, such as saying please and thank-you, being kind and helpful, listening without interrupting, and resolving conflicts peacefully. In addition to teaching specific skills, Practical Life activities promote independence, and fine- and gross-motor coordination.

Sensorial

Children refine skills in perceiving the world through their different senses, and learn how to describe and name their experiences—for example, rough and smooth, perceived through touch. Sensorial learning helps children classify their surroundings and create order. It lays the foundation for learning by developing the ability to classify, sort, and discriminate—skills necessary in math, geometry, and language.

Language

Activities throughout the Early Childhood classroom teach language, help children acquire vocabulary, and develop the skills needed for writing and reading. The ability to write, a precursor to reading, is taught first. Using hands-on materials, children learn letter sounds, how to combine sounds to make words, how to build sentences, and how to use a pencil. Once these skills are acquired, children spontaneously learn to read.

Mathematics

Activities throughout the Early Childhood classroom teach language, help children acquire vocabulary, and develop the skills needed for writing and reading. The ability to write, a precursor to reading, is taught first. Using hands-on materials, children learn letter sounds, how to combine sounds to make words, how to build sentences, and how to use a pencil. Once these skills are acquired, children spontaneously learn to read.

Cultural Areas

A wide range of subjects, including history, geography, science, art, and music, are integrated in lessons in the cultural area of the curriculum. Children learn about their own community and the world around them. Discovering similarities and differences among people and places helps them develop an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of our world, and a respect for all living things.

The Kindergarten Year
During the first 2 years of our primary program, students look forward to their turn to be a leader. In their third year—often known as kindergarten—children get their turn and take pride in being the oldest. They serve as role models for younger students; they demonstrate leadership and citizenship skills. They reinforce and consolidate their own learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered to their peers. In their Kindergarten year, they express confidence, develop self-esteem and self-sufficiency, and show responsibility.

Kindergarteners are introduced to progressively more advanced Montessori materials and sophisticated, fascinating lessons. And they experience an important period in which their previous learning from working with concrete Montessori materials begins to become permanent knowledge. Children exhibit the independence, critical thinking, collaboration, and leadership that they have been practicing during their previous years in the classroom.