The Primary Program – Ages 3-6
The primary classroom offers a program that allows for intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development. Montessori primary builds upon the child's knowledge of the present while establishing the foundation for later abstract learning. The primary classroom, through freedom of choice and freedom of movement, allows the child to work independently and explore the environment while building concentration and self-discipline.
This area begins with oral language development and moves into written expression, reading, grammar, creative dramatics, and literature. The basic skills in reading and writing are developed through the use of sandpaper letters, metal insets, movable alphabet, word building, and reading. The link between sound and letter symbols allow the child to effortlessly express their thought through writing.
Working with materials such as the number rods, symbol cards, the Golden Beads, spindle boxes, and card counters, the student sees and feels quantities and numbers and relationships. The child's work with the manipulative materials eventually leads to the abstraction of concepts. The result of their work creates a strong foundation for his or her advanced schoolwork in arithmetic, geometry, algebra, calculus, and trigonometry.
For young children, there is something special about tasks that an adult considers ordinary -- washing dishes, paring vegetables, polishing shoes, etc. These are exciting to children because they allow them to imitate adults. Imitation is one of the strongest urges during children's early years.
In this area of the classroom, children: perfect their coordination and refine their motor control; learn grace and courtesy; learn to care for themselves and their environment; lengthen their span of concentration; pay attention to details; learn good working habits as they finish each task and put away all the materials before beginning another activity.
This aspect of the classroom enables the child to order, classify, and describe sensory impressions in relation to length, width, temperature, mass, pitch, color, etc. By the age of three, the child is ready to begin training the sense using reasoning and judgement. This will form the roots for refined thought in academics as well as all walks of life.
The possibilities are endless. Life and earth sciences, biology, geography, history, art, music, and movement education all encompass this part of the curriculum.