Maria Montessori described the mind of young children as absorbent. Children before the age of 6 are like sponges soaking up information through all their senses. Children at this age are working on self-formation. They are actively exploring their world and learning through their experiences.
The primary class for children ages 3-6 years old offers a prepared environment designed specifically for this developmental stage. In this environment, children work with hands-on manipulative materials so that they learn through their own explorations, at their own pace, naturally. The primary classroom environment is prepared with beautiful materials and aesthetically pleasing décor including live plants and works of art.
Rules and boundaries are established to allow children to have the freedom of choice within well-defined limits. Children are allowed to work with a material for as long as they desire so they can reap the benefits of that particular work. The teacher directs and leads the children with small group and individual lessons, assessing their abilities and needs at the point of contact to determine the next step in their education.
In the primary classroom, children gain independence and a sense of order while developing concentration and coordination. Five areas are defined in the primary classroom. Each of these areas are ordered and sequential:
The Practical Life area contains works that address care of self and the environment. The Practical Life exercises help your child develop hand-eye coordination, gross and fine motor control, cognitive order, and social relations. The exercises of practical life provide your child with experience of locating and handling materials along with sequencing and order.
The Sensorial area gives your child the opportunity to order, classify and make sense of sensory impressions. Working with the sensorial materials, your child refines his or her ability to observe, compare, discriminate, and differentiate. S/he begins to problem solve and reason. The sensorial area helps your child develop skills necessary for the math curriculum.
Mathematics in the primary class involves manipulative materials that present mathematical concepts in a concrete way. This enable the child to internalize the concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations, geometric shapes and relations, and memorization of basic math.
The Language area includes oral language development, written expression, reading, introduction to grammar, and children’s literature. As with the other classroom areas, hands on materials and lessons are used.
Cultural activities allow your child to learn about geography, history, life sciences and earth sciences. Music, art and movement round out the cultural curriculum.