Primary Program (ages 3-6)
The Montessori Primary classroom is a carefully prepared environment designed to meet the specific needs and interest of children three to six years of age. During this critical period of development, young children take great delight in exploring and absorbing their surroundings, which makes the rich learning environment of the Primary classroom ideal for this age child.
The children’s innate passion for learning through meaningful work is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of trained adults. Children direct their own work by touching, manipulating, and experimenting with materials that are self-teaching and self-correcting. The teacher acts as a guide, directing each individual child’s natural curiosities and interests and allowing them to move at their own pace. The mixed age group gives the older children an opportunity to teach and assist the younger children, which creates a cohesive and caring group, as well as helping the child develop the skills for leadership.
The following are the main areas of activity in the classroom:
Practical Life exercises instill care for self, for others, and for the environment. These activities include many of the tasks children see as part of the daily routine in their home; preparing food, washing dishes, watering plants, washing clothes, sewing, arranging flowers, and the like. These types of exercises help to develop muscular coordination, as well as giving children the opportunity to develop their powers of control, concentration, and gain independence.
Sensorial materials help develop the discriminatory power of all the senses. Children build cognitive skills and learn to order and classify impressions by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring the physical properties of their environment. Through beautifully and precisely designed materials children are also able to discover mathematical relationships through manipulation.
Language development is weaved throughout every aspect of the classroom through rich, oral language opportunities, such as conversations, stories, and poetry. Lessons that build toward writing and reading begin with verbal sound games. The children also work extensively with sandpaper letters, allowing them to trace the letters of the alphabet while learning the phonetic sound each makes. The activities in this area also include such things as creative writing and the study of grammar.
Mathematics activities help children learn and understand the concepts of math through manipulating concrete materials. A solid understanding of basic mathematical principles can be easily gained with work in this area, preparing the child for later abstract reasoning and problem-solving capabilities.
Art, Music, Science, and Geography are offered as extensions of the sensorial and language activities. With these wide-ranging activities children are able to gain a reverence for the wider natural and cultural world around them.
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Parent-Infant Program (2 months to pre-walking)