The Primary Program differs from traditional early-childhood education in that each classroom is a carefully prepared environment designed specifically to capitalize on the student’s natural curiosity and love of learning. The Primary classrooms are well organized to allow children the freedom to select from a wide variety of learning materials designed to match their developmental needs and personal interests.
From the ages of three to six, the child is in the period known as the absorbent mind, or the first plane. During this time, he/she is absorbing everything in his environment through sensorial exploration. By doing this, a child is forming his/her personality and his/herself, building their mind in the process (memory, comprehension and critical thinking skills).
Manipulative, concrete materials in the classroom enable each child to work at tasks that are naturally engaging and developmentally appropriate. Children have a long, uninterrupted work cycle to develop concentration and mastery of work. Under the teacher’s guidance, each child is able to select his or her own work according to personal interests and curiosity.
The Primary curriculum is rich and expansive and provides opportunities for a child to develop concentration, coordination, independence, order and the five senses as well as enriched language and math skills. Rounding out the curriculum, are integrated continent studies, art, music and physical education.
In addition to the core curriculum, children are taught the skills necessary to get along well with others and be a part of a group. Children are empowered to solve difficulties through lessons on reflective listening, empathy and personal responsibility as well as engaging in meaningful service learning projects throughout the school year.
Our Primary classroom focuses on helping students make intelligent choices, focus and concentrate and engage in caring and purposeful interaction with the environment, lessons, and with others.
In the Classroom
This includes daily living tasks such as pouring juice, tying and polishing shoes, sweeping and buttoning a shirt. This develops independence and builds on the self-esteem lessons from the toddler curriculum. These are meaningful activities to the child and reinforces caring for him/herself, other people and the environment. These tasks help a child concentrate, expand his/her attention span and improve hand-eye coordination.
Sensorial materials in the primary classroom isolate a defining quality such as color, size, sound, texture or shape. They help to develop the child’s visual, auditory and tactile senses. Additional Montessori materials such as the binomial cubes, represent concrete mathematical concepts that will be taught more in-depth at a later time.
Materials in this curriculum include objects and pictures that need to be named, matched, labeled and classified in order to aid in the building of the child’s vocabulary. Alphabets with textured feel allows the child to experience the alphabet with multiple senses while the moveable alphabet begins the exciting skill of reading. Once a child beings to blend sounds to make words, a plethora of materials are available to engage the child and increase proficiency in reading.
The concept of math is a concrete one in the Montessori classroom. Materials can be found throughout the classroom to allow children to manipulate objects and thus better understand number concepts. Lessons are designed to teach the basics: quantity, symbols, shapes. Continuing on the foundation of the toddler program, students learn with spindle boxes that better defines zero, they move to bead bars that teach concepts ranging from units, tens, hundreds and thousands to addition and subtraction. The teacher will guide with exclusive Orlando Montessori games and materials that will further solidify the lesson in the child’s mind.
Science activities in the primary program are nature-based and include the study of vertebrate and invertebrate animals, a variety of ecosystems and the life forms within them as well as flora and fauna close to home that can be studied during lessons or at home.
Children experience geography in the primary classroom through the use of maps, puzzles, activities, objects from other countries, exposure to other cultures within the classroom and celebrations throughout the year.
Creativity is always encouraged in the primary classroom. With a healthy inventory of paints, crayons, pencils, play dough, glue and other materials that will spark the imagination, students consistently deliver masterful works of art.