SENIOR PRIMARY MONTESSORI
Ages 3 years – 4 years
As children mature socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically (including continence training) they progress to the Senior Primary Montessori program. Beginning at this age, children enter what is known as the first Montessori year of transition. At this stage, children have started to reach a level of physical and psychological independence. Children have different interests at different stages of their lives and development. Maria Montessori termed these developmental stages “sensitive periods”. Children at this age are transitioning from what Montessori refers to as the Unconscious Absorbent Mind to the Conscious Absorbent Mind. The Absorbent Mind is the concept that children take in information and experiences like sponges. From age 0-3, children do so unconsciously, whereas from 3-6 they absorb consciously. Starting at age 3, children ask questions, apply learned concepts to new situations and they problem-solve, but their learning maintains the sponge-like quality. The movement from the Unconscious to the Conscious Absorbent Mind happens gradually. For some children, the transition occurs quickly, and for others much more slowly. Our respect for these stages and the individual variations within them allows us to personalize education for each unique child. This program begins the years that are constructively devoted to progressive cognitive, physical, social, and emotional growth and empowering the child through the acquisition of good manners and habits. Additionally, the organization of experiences and impressions is guided by a multi-sensory approach. The child discovers reading through phonics, mathematical concepts through concrete materials, and geographic relationships and scientific information through manipulating objects and real life materials.
In all areas of the Montessori curriculum and continuing through all age ranges, the children first experience the larger concepts, then move gradually to the details. The materials and curriculum are presented sequentially, when an individual child is ready to understand the concepts, and allow each child to move through the curriculum at their own pace. The level of intricacy and depth of concepts and materials will vary based on the age level/development of each child and their individual pace of learning. With these goals in mind, the sequence of lessons and materials is important to effectively aid children in their learning and developmental growth cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally.
- Practical Life: Daily living activities that develop as sense of accomplishment and self-esteem, while developing fine motor skills and concentration.
- Sensorial: Montessori materials encourage children to use their five senses to develop classification skills. It enhances vocabulary while building a firm understanding of many fundamental concepts that directly lead to better math and language skills.
- Science: Science in the Montessori curriculum introduces children to advanced topics in the early years, preparing them for a lifetime of discovery. Topics include basic principles of astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, physics, and zoology. Students learn to ask questions, follow a systematic process of observation, collect and analyze information, and conduct experiments. This creates opportunities for children to explore and develop concrete foundations for understanding the world.
- History and Geography: Children learn about history in order to develop an understanding of our world by recognizing and celebrating our past and present. Geography is important both as a necessary conceptual framework and spatial orientation, and as a bridge to the development of the child’s understanding and appreciation of nature and culture. As in other areas of the Montessori curriculum, the children first experience the larger concepts, then move gradually to the details (names of countries, landscapes, and cultures.
- Mathematics: Montessori materials and lessons provide a hands-on approach to number concepts, quantity, and operations. Learning comes more easily when students work with concrete educational materials that graphically show what is taking place in a given mathematical process. The concrete Montessori Materials proceed through several levels of abstraction, beginning with concepts and skills that are the most basic foundations of mathematics, presented in the most concrete representation, up through the advanced concepts of secondary mathematics, which are represented in increasing levels of abstraction, until the student grasps them conceptually.
- Language: Montessori education provides a firm grounding in perceptual-motor, pre-reading, and pre-writing readiness skills. Children progress to the ultimate goal of establishing the skills for reading and writing success. Language programs begin with lessons intended for the youngest child in language development and extend all the way to lessons in grammar, vocabulary development, and writing mechanics.
- Technology: We use technology when applicable in a purposeful, meaningful way. Our students use technology in the form of practical life and use it as a supplement to our curriculum and not as a substitute for books and materials.
Enrichment and Extracurricular Activities
- Art: Students are exposed to the fundamentals of art through an array of tools, techniques, and mediums to develop a sense of creativity while instilling lifelong skills that promote overall personal success. This sense of creativity develops through the expressive use of materials and activities.
- Music, Dance, and Drama: Nurturing an appreciation for music and the arts is an integral part of our daily curriculum. Our music enrichment includes lessons in voice, rhythm, musical notes, and moving to music. The children enjoy many opportunities to present live performances to their parents including musical plays, performances, and skits.
- World Languages: Early childhood is the ideal age for learning a second language. The children are introduced to the experience of learning a second language while developing their vocabulary through hands-on activities, games, and songs. In addition to learning words in multiple languages, children are also taught about the cultural aspects of the countries in which the language is spoken. They prepare and eat food from the countries, read stories about the history and people of the countries, and discover other cultures live around the world.
- Character and Ethics Development: Our programs are designed to educate the whole child. Having a strong character along with a quality education is the key to success in the lives of our children. Our students are encouraged to develop their character while cultivating ethical and responsible behavior. We accomplish this each day in our classrooms as we introduce children to a set of shared values and ideas (including grace and courtesy as well as respect and kindness for others).
- Physical Education: Throughout the Montessori curriculum, movement is paramount. Time is spent teaching the children to move gracefully, do develop and use motor skills, and learn to control their own movements. Children have several periods a day of outdoor play in our well-equipped playgrounds. Here the children develop large and fine motor skills, participate in fitness and movement activities, and practice specific skills. The emphasis is on movement education, spatial awareness, and balance through cooperative games, rhythm, gymnastics, and physical fitness.