The ages of the children in this class are from 3 to 6, and they must be toilet trained prior to entering the class. Primary children generally stop napping at age 4, or shortly thereafter. The range of lessons that are offered to these children is exceptional, and their success is now based on the high degree of self-confidence that they have in their abilities. More and more they learn how to work and play with each other, whereas before they had only worked and played around each other. Gradually they learn to reflect on their actions rather than react to the stimulus of the moment. The children begin to be able to plan what they will do for the day, and this self-regulation is the prelude to the explosion in learning that occurs between ages 4 and 6.
Our Primary program focuses on developing socialization skills, emotional growth, physical awareness and academic readiness. Like building the foundation of a building, we start with the basic phonetic sounds and let them construct their own language skills at a pace that expands as each new concept is learned, practiced and mastered. Many of these children are beginning to read by the time they begin their Kindergarten year. In the area of math, the teachers focus on actively involving the child with materials that contain pattern recognition, numeral recognition, shape identification, classification, estimation and number concept development. Mathematics concepts are taught sequentially, from the most concrete to the more abstract ideas and operations.
In addition, the Primary children are involved in creative works in drama, singing, storytelling, and numerous art projects. As their skills improve, they are better able to expand their ideas of the environment through experimentation. The creative nature of the child is nurtured by the active nature of the classroom and the freedom that the child has to explore, conceptualize and to create. They go on a variety of field trips to help in expanding that knowledge of the world, and are exposed to geography and the wonder of other places and cultures.
|7:30 – 8:00am||Arrival in Primary classroom|
|8:00 – 9:00am||Primary classroom opens; Independent Montessori work cycle|
|9:00 – 9:30am||Morning Circle, including calendar, attendance, and group lesson|
|9:30 – 11:00am||Montessori Work Cycle, including individual snack and lessons|
|11:00 – 11:15am||Circle|
|11:15 – 11:45am||Outside Play – Back Playground|
|11:45 – 12:15pm||Story telling and lunch preparation|
|12:15 – 12:45pm||Lunch|
|1:35pm||Chapter book for non-nappers|
|2:00 – 3:00pm||Montessori work cycle|
|3:00 – 3:15pm||Story circle|
|3:15 – 4:00pm||Extended Day Activities – Outside Play in Back Playground|
|4:00 – 5:30pm||Extended Day Activities – Primary II/III Room|
|5:30 – 5:45pm||Hallway Dismissal Circle|
The practical life works focus on care of the self, care of the environment and coordination of physical movement. Through repetition of accomplishing everyday skills of pouring, spooning, tweezing and cleaning, the child is able to adapt and orientate himself in his environment. Not only are these works preparing the child to be independent, the child is also using small movements with his hands and fingers to strengthen fine motor skills. Coupled with these physical works in the classroom, exercises in grace and courtesy are also an integral part of practical life. Lessons are demonstrated that give the child the vocabulary, actions, and steps required for him to act with compassion and understanding with those around him.
The works in the sensorial area help the child gather information to make classifications. The child manipulates the materials and is given the keys to grouping the things around him. Classification concepts fall into: inequalities of sorting differences, equality of matching similarities or sequential quantity of grading (i.e.: from large to small). With work in this area, the child studies his environment, and then he begins to understand his environment. Using these works, the child is also offered the first steps in organizing his intelligence. Works in this area include: sorting beads by colors or size, matching objects that are the same, or manipulating the many materials that Dr. Montessori herself designed to refine the senses: knob cylinders, knobless cylinders, pink tower, brown stairs, red rods, triangle boxes, hexagon boxes, monomial cube, binomial cube, color boxes, barometric tablets, sound cylinders.
The works in the cultural area are created to help the child become aware of the world around them. Through visual pictures, stories and maps, the child is introduced to other cultures. Each of the seven continents is studied with a focus on puzzle maps, flags and animals from that continent. This study is cross-curricular by incorporating dishes into the practical life, matching pictures from various countries, and counting small object specific to the continent.
Art is incorporated into the classroom with a free choice art shelf. The child is free to choose from a variety of materials with which to work: markers, crayons, water colors, scissors, various types and sizes of papers, stamps, etc. The child works on his planning and organizational skills while creating his own works of art. In addition, famous artist are also studied. The units include the biography of the artist, studying and replicating a famous work of the artist, reading a story book about that artist and working with a floor puzzle of that famous work. The artists that are studied include: Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Mary Cassat, Grant Wood, and Georgia O’Keefe.
The materials in the science area are presented in a way to promote self-discovery. The child is encouraged to observe, discover and learn about his environment. The units of science that are covered include: Weather, Animals, Opposites (with large part on magnets), Trees/leaves, Seasons, Land, Air, Sea, Earth (layers)/Volcanos, Sea Life, Dinosaurs, Life Cycles, and Space.
In our classroom, the child is immersed in language development both written and spoken. Letter sounds, words and sentence structure are used freely with storytelling, naming of objects, strong vocabulary and a huge variety of oral language games. These verbal interactions help the child to dissect words into sounds. In addition, the child begins to make the connection between the spoken word and the written word. Using visual skills that are developed in the sensorial and practical life areas, the child is preparing himself for the written word. The connection between what is spoken and written comes in the form of sound recognition, dictation, word matching and story writing. The child is inundated throughout the day in all areas of the classroom with language which lead him naturally into writing and reading.
Dr. Montessori created an environment that depicts the abstract concepts of math into very concrete activities. The manipulatives and works in the math area are hands on and visually pleasing to begin to grasp such abstract concepts as quantity, computation and numerical relations. Similar to the language area, the child is preparing for math works through the sensorial and practical life area of the classroom. The child is given the opportunity to explore numeration and quantity through 10, and then is introduced to computation (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) as well as place value and the decimal system. When the child is ready, the absorption is as easy and natural as with other areas of the classroom.