In our Primary Program, the Toddlers join older children in the “big room” and make that final leap into being “big kids.”
Our Primary Program marks the beginning of the full Montessori curriculum. The large, self-contained classroom features the 6 Montessori academic areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Writing, Math and Culture (comprised of Geography, Zoology, Botany and Physical Science). Each child is introduced to the specific “jobs” in the classroom through a combination of large group, small group and individual lessons with a teacher. Each child progresses through the academic areas at his or her own pace, and is assessed by teachers on an individualized basis. During work period, each child gets a work rug or table mat and chooses a job. The child brings the job to the rug, completes it, has a teacher check to see if the activity was done correctly, and returns the materials to the appropriate shelf. This cycle is the foundation of Montessori work in the classroom. The classroom itself, and the jobs on the shelves are arranged with the easiest/simplest activities on the top shelves, and the more complex jobs on the lower shelves. The classroom itself is large, with ample space for large activities and movement as children move from one job to another, getting materials and rugs.
Our children do not only learn during work period and lesson circles, however. Meals and snacks are sit-down events, the focus being upon polite table manners and patience while waiting to be served food. There is the opportunity for independent self-care as children clear their own places, use the bathroom and wash hands before nap time or the next activity. The goals of the Primary Program are these: to prepare children academically; to prepare them socially; and to encourage them to be independent thinkers, while at the same time able to interact positively and gently with others.