The Primary Classroom (Ages 3 - 6 years old)
While it is ideal to start Primary education at three, children 4-5 years of age may also enroll and stay with the same class throughout their Primary years.
This first year in Primary will be focused on Practical life work (spooning, polishing, table washing, etc.) and Sensorial materials (discriminating color, size, sounds, shapes, dimension, etc.
Language lessons are also a big part of this age, as they acquire hundreds of new vocabulary words and begin to distinguish sounds of the alphabet. Using phonetics they will also begin to “write” short words with the “moveable alphabet”.
They will also be introduced to number work and prepare for handwriting.
The FOUR-year old:
As they progress in the classroom, they are enthusiastically busy with reading, writing letters and numbers, working with the decimal system of numbers (units, tens, hundreds and thousands), mathematical operations (addition and subtraction), learning about diverse cultures of different continents.
They also love to do larger works in observation of the older children in the class.
The four year olds are becoming more social and comfortable in their environment, whilst recognizing social courtesies to their fellow classmates.
After the first two years of foundation, the five year old is able to work and maintain levels of high concentration. These children engage in “big” work that sometimes requires a lot of time to complete: for instance the 1000 chain, map labeling, a large number math problems, composing reports etc.
They also understand and recognize their responsibility for leading the younger children by modeling quiet movement and upholding social grace and courtesies.
They assist the other children and give lessons with careful attention to the same steps the teacher would use.
The Primary child (ages 3-6 years) is a unique group known for their ability soak up large amounts of information with ease. They instinctively acquire skills, coordination and understandings of world workings. The age group is also known for their intense need for order, consistency in their everyday routine and a readiness for work and movement.
Since birth the Primary children have been undergoing sensitive periods for order: discrimination, language, movement and social considerations. The Montessori Primary Classroom is designed to focus on these developmental needs through lessons of intellect, physical and social growth.
In the Montessori Primary, five distinct areas constitute the prepared environment:
-Practical Life enhances the development of hand eye coordination, gross motor control, and cognitive order through care of self, care of environment, development of social relations, and coordination of physical movement.
-Sensorial are enables the child to order, classify and describe sensory impressions in relation to length, width, temperature, mass, color, pitch, etc.
-Mathematics makes use of manipulative materials to enable the child to internalize concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations, and memorization of basic facts.
-Language arts include oral language development, written expression, reading, the study of grammar, creative dramatics, and children’s literature. Basic skills in writing and reading are developed through the use of sandpaper letters, alphabet cut-outs, various presentations, allowing children to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly and to express their thoughts through writing.
-Cultural activities expose the child to basics in geography, history, life sciences, botany, and earth sciences. Music, art, and movement education are part of the integrated cultural curriculum.
Upon completion of their Primary program, they will not only have a strong academic foundation but many personal skills as well such as independence, self-confidence, leadership, creative and analytical thinking and consideration for others.