Ages 3 - 6 years
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that no human being is educated by another person. He or she must do it by him or herself, or it will never be done. She believed that the goal of early childhood education should not be to fill the child with facts but rather to cultivate the child’s
own natural desire to learn.
In the Casa, or Montessori classroom, this objective is approached in two ways: first, by allowing each child to experience the excitement of learning by his or her own choice rather than by being forced; and second by helping the child perfect his or her natural tools for learning, so that the child’s abilities will be maximized for future learning situations.
The Montessori materials have this dual, long-range purpose in addition to their immediate purpose of giving specific information to the child.
Our beautiful primary environments embody each element of Maria Montessori’s revolutionary approach.
They are intentionally prepared with natural lighting, soft colors, and uncluttered spaces.
Learning materials are displayed on accessible shelves to foster independence as children go about their work. There is a place for everything and everything is in its place, conveying a sense of harmony and order that both comforts and inspires. In our environment, you won’t find the customary rows of school desks; children work at tables or on the floor, rolling out mats on which to work and define their work space.
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that no human being is educated by another person. They must do it themselves or it will never be done. She believed that the goal of early childhood education should not be to fill the child with facts but rather to cultivate the child’s own natural desire to learn. In the Montessori classroom, this objective is approached in two ways; first by allowing each child to experience the excitement of learning by their own choice rather than by force; and second, by helping the child perfect their natural tools for learning so that the child’s abilities will be maximized for future learning situations. The outcome is a is well-rounded and happy child, whose balanced development has been supported by responsive, individualized attention, and who interacts positively with the environment, copes with frustrations, and learns easily.
The Primary curriculum is divided into five areas of focus: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Cultural Studies. The program includes purposefully designed materials that are often multi-dimensional, that is they involve several skills. Younger children are primarily given individual lessons while older children participate in small group lessons. Each day there is a time when the whole community comes together as a group for stories, songs, or discussions. All lessons and materials are purposeful. Table scrubbing, for example, involves logical sequencing, memory recall, fine and large motor coordination, and eye-tracking in preparation for reading. On any given morning in a Primary classroom, you will find children engaged in various activities such as baking, arranging flowers, painting, labeling parts of a plant or animal, sewing, doing math operations with beads, playing the bells and much, much more. Each classroom is led by an AMI trained guide, a morning assistant, and an afternoon assistant.
The Primary Program operates on a 5 day schedule with two options:
Full Day: Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 3:15 pm
Extended Day: Monday - Friday, 7:30 am - 6:00 pm
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that no human being is educated by another person. He or she must do it by him or herself, or it will never be done. She believed that the goal of early childhood education should not be to fill the child with facts but rather to cultivate the child’s own natural desire to learn.
In the Montessori classroom, this objective is approached in two ways: first, by allowing each child to experience the excitement of learning by his or her own choice rather than by being forced; and second by helping the child perfect his or her natural tools for leaning, so that the child’s abilities will be maximized for future learning situations. The Montessori materials have this dual, long-range purpose in addition to their immediate purpose of giving specific information to the child.
The primary curriculum is divided into five areas of materials: Practical life, Sensorial, Mathematics, language, and the Cultural Subjects.
Practical life Exercises
These activities are said to bridge the child from the home to the classroom with exercises that the adult has demonstrated over and over again in daily life. There are four distinct groups of practical life exercises.
The sensorial materials help children to distinguish, to categorize, and to relate new information to what they already know. Dr. Montessori believed that this process is the beginning of conscious knowledge. It is brought about by the intelligence working in a concentrated way on the impressions given by the senses of sight, touch, hearing, and smell.
In the Montessori classroom children learn the phonetic sounds of the letters before they learn the alphabetical names in a sequence. The phonetic sounds are given first because they are the sounds they hear in words they need to be able to read. The children first become aware of these phonetic sounds when the adult introduces the sounds with the Sand- paper letters. The individual presentation of language materials in a Montessori classroom allows the adult to take advantage of each child’s greatest periods of interest.
Reading instruction begins on the day when the children want to know what a word says or when they show an interest in using the Sandpaper letters. Writing or the constructions of words with the movable alphabet, nearly always precedes reading in a Montessori environment.
Mathematics Dr. Montessori demonstrated that if children have access to mathematical equipment in their early years, they can easily and joyfully assimilate many facts and skills of arithmetic. On the other hand, these same facts and skills may require long hours of drudgery and drill if they are introduced to them later in the abstract form. Dr. Montessori designed concrete materials to represent all types of quantities, after she observed that children who become interested in counting like to touch or move the items as they enumerate them. By combining this equipment, separating it, sharing it, counting it, and comparing it, they can demonstrate to themselves the basic operations of mathematics. Once the child is able to count to 10 and identify the symbols they are introduced to the golden bead materials working with the decimal system, the foundation of the mathematic materials.
They move on to concrete work with the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They work with appropriate materials and record their work on paper. Similar operations can be performed with a variety of materials. This variety maintains the children’s interest while giving them many opportunities for the necessary repetition. In the classroom there are many materials that can be used for counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.
Cultural Subjects Dr. Montessori saw teaching of the cultural subjects as a great, important part of the whole education of the young child. Her view of cosmic education was from a mountaintop, looking at the child as a whole in relation to society. life of man on earth is interconnected with life of animals, plants, and non-living elements. Culture is the manmade part of our environment. It is a manifestation of a continuous and progressive education of psychic and spiritual life of man.
Culture makes it possible for individuals in society to live together in harmony. Without it, man cannot fulfill his potential. The Cultural Subjects are a group of materials that are reflect the exercises of Geography, History, Science and Nature, Music, and Art.
Each of these areas has its own exercises, some overlapping with from one area to the next. In Geography the wooden puzzle maps are among the most popular materials in the classroom. At first the children use the maps as puzzles. Gradually they learn the names of many of the countries as well as information about climate, products, customs, food, music, language, and animals. Many of these characteristics are demonstrated through the geography pictures.
History is illustrated by working with time lines and pictures from the past and present. The children may begin by making a time line of their own lives, starting with when they were babies.
Science and Nature, the children’s natural curiosity is stimulated through discovery projects and experiments. The plant and animal kingdoms are studied in an orderly fashion to foster a love and appreciation for all living things.
Music happens daily and frequently through song singing. There are opportunities to listen to different types of music and learn about famous composers.
Art in the primary environment strives to maintain the great joy the child finds in creating something of his or her own. The children have the freedom to explore their imaginations in a variety of mediums used for expression. The mediums range from crayons, cutting, pasting, drawing, painting, sewing, with exercises set up in a natural progression from start to finish the child works with independently.