Preprimary and Primary
“The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed.” ~ Maria Montessori
The Montessori Preprimary and Primary classrooms are “living” rooms for children. Children choose their work from among the self-correcting materials displayed on open shelves, and they work in specific subject areas. Over time, the children develop into a “normalized community,” working with high concentration and few interruptions.
Normalization is the process whereby a child moves from being undisciplined to self-disciplined, from disordered to ordered, from distracted to focused, through working in the environment. The process occurs through repeated work with materials that captivate the child’s attention.
In the Montessori preschool, five distinct areas constitute the prepared environment. These areas are begun in Preprimary and fully explored in Primary:
- Practical Life – exercises that work toward independence in caring for one’s self and environment to build fine motor skills, a sense of inner accomplishment, and grace.
- Sensorial – materials and exercises that focus on using textures, sounds, shapes and colors to learn and explore the world during ages in which children’s senses are especially acute.
- Language – includes oral language development, written expression, reading, the study of grammar, creative dramatics, and children’s literature.
- Mathematics – a highly conceptual approach that moves from the concrete to the abstract.
- Cultural Activities – expose the child to basics in geography, history, and life sciences.
Children are encouraged to explore each area. Studies in foreign language, music, art, and movement all weave into the school day. The curriculum is also enriched with units of study, group projects, and informative guest speakers.