Our Primary program curriculum focuses on five components of development – Practical Life, Sensory, Language, Math, Art & Science. By understanding and leveraging a child’s natural desire to understand the world around them, we are able to maximize their learning opportunities while keeping the process enjoyable for them.
1. Practical Life Curriculum (Independence and Care of the Environment)
Our Practical Life Curriculum is the underlying foundation for success in the other four program areas. Each task helps children gain independence and develop a sense of order, concentration, responsibility, and coordination of movement. Some of the activities we perform include dressing, hand-washing, polishing, table washing and flower arranging. These activities are all taught as a specific lesson, with their own set of materials.
In order to work independently in a mixed age group, children are taught the rules of the classroom and how to move and work successfully within it. Exercises in grace and courtesy are presented daily during “circle time” and in small informal group lessons. Our children learn how to behave correctly based on the situation and acquire the skills essential for everyday living. By helping them learn independence, social skills (such as conflict resolution) and language skills they are able to engage positively in the classroom, community and beyond.
2. Sensory Curriculum
Our Sensory Curriculum helps children understand the impressions that enter through each of his or her senses. Scientifically designed materials isolate each sense and facilitate learning through hands-on exploration. Our children learn to separate and classify forms, colors, textures, tastes and smells.
Exercises in this area refine the senses and develop skills in thinking, judging, concentrating, comparing and sequencing. The materials offer unlimited opportunities for the development of vocabulary and the essential development of dexterity that will lead to writing and reading. The exercises in this area of study are designed to prepare our students for more complex learning in Language and Math.
3. Oral and Written Language Curriculum
Language in the Montessori early childhood curriculum focuses on oral and written language development. Our oral language curriculum is designed to meet young children’s innate need to acquire language. Significant emphasis is placed on building vocabulary and oral competency. Using Montessori materials, children acquire a rich vocabulary for labeling, describing, comparing and contrasting their environment and the people in it. Precise terminology is used.
Once speech becomes acute and the basics are understood, children move on to letter recognition & reading. Written language is introduced to children around the age of four and skills are practiced with specially designed Montessori materials. Literacy skills develop rapidly as the inner drive to learn motivates children and teachers provide the appropriate level of support to take advantage of this natural stage of heightened awareness.
4. Mathematics Curriculum
Our Math curriculum is firmly based on learning through experience. Children use a wide variety of carefully constructed materials which lead them to an understanding of the value and sequence of the numbers 1 to 10. From there they are introduced to larger numbers and the concept of grouping numbers into tens, hundreds and thousands. Four and five year olds are introduced to the basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) at a concrete level to help them understand why these concepts are useful and what they really mean.
5. Cultural Studies / Geography Curriculum
Our Cultural Studies program is based on an integrated study of Science, Social Science and the Arts. In keeping with the Montessori philosophy of education, children first experience general rules of the universe, such as, the division of land and water, and gradually break them down into smaller parts, continents, oceans, countries, etc.
Stories of animals and children from other lands help our children understand our fundamental needs and how these needs are influenced by climate, environment and lifestyle. Science experiments that demonstrate the properties of matter (sink/float, magnetic/non-magnetic, solid/liquid and living/non-living, etc…) are made by the children as part of the study of their environment.