Primary Curriculum: Ages 3 to 1st Grade
Montessori philosophy can be summed up in one single sentence: "Children teach themselves." Maria Montessori said that children have "absorbent minds", and are driven to build order out of chaos they perceive in a world full of sights and sounds.
Our primary program is for children from age 3 to 1st grade. The different areas covered in a Montessori environment in the primary program are listed below. These areas are taught at different levels for kindergarten and elementary students.
Practical Life is designed to instill independence, self-confidence, self-esteem, and most importantly, self-control. Practical Life activities are a link to the child's home environment. They develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Practical Life skills are the foundation of the Montessori curriculum; they are developed through a number of activities such as:
The sensorial area includes materials that help refine the senses, and it contains many activities that involve seriation and gradation. Exploration, imitation, initiation, and pattern completion are the objectives of this area. The child explores dimension, shape, color, texture, weight, aroma, taste, pitch, and their relationships through a series of exercises called the sensorial materials. These materials isolate various qualities so that the child can experience each one individually. The materials are largely self-correcting so the child can accomplish the exercises alone. Moreover, they are structured, building on what has been previously learned. A sense of order is found in these materials, and the child acquires the joy of learning that their environment also has order. The Sensorial Lessons consist of:
A phonics-based approach is used for reading. We also incorporate sight words and whole language when it is appropriate. Each area in language has activities that emphasize beginning, middle, and ending sounds, word building, and reading words. Handwriting is a built-in feature of the language area, and children learn to write as they are learning the sounds. At his own pace, the child pursues each of the separate skills involved in the mastery of reading and writing. The Language Lessons consist of:
The Montessori mathematical materials isolate each concept and introduce it to the child in a concrete form using manipulative equipment. Children first learn to associate each numerical symbol with the proper quantity. The child progresses one step at a time to a more abstract understanding of the concepts of arithmetic. The materials are designed with such precision as to allow the child to internalize the process through tactile and visual contact and to work independently in his or her mind. The awareness of detail gained in the Practical Life area and the decision making skills learned in the Sensorial area help the child refine his use of the math materials. The Math area allows the child to develop thinking, reasoning, and problem solving skills. The math lessons consist of:
Science is a hands-on activity which includes biology, botany, zoology, and physical science. The children have organized time outdoors to study nature. Montessori classes work on small gardens, window boxes, or tubs in which flowers and vegetables can be grown. Other science activities include:
This area contains puzzle maps of the World and its continents. Children have the opportunity to learn the names, flags, and locations of countries. There is a heavy emphasis on cultural aspects, and parents are encouraged to share their culture and customs in the classroom.