PRIMARY CLASS (ages 3-5)
- PRACTICAL LIFE: Young children love to take part in the activities of daily life. The practical life materials in the classroom offer opportunities for the child to do just that. All of the materials are child-sized that really work. Children are able to perform activities that seem to be only accessible to adults, such as taking care of plants, washing dishes, sweeping the floor, polishing silver, arranging flowers, preparing food, and tidying up. To us adults, these activities are mundane chores that need to be done. For young children, these activities that are meaningful and filled with step-by-step movements are important for him. For children to be able to do these things by themselves build concentration, perfection of movement, and self-confidence.
"Aiutami a fare da solo"
("Help me do it by myself")
- SENSORIAL EXERCISES (includes Geometry and Geography): The Montessori sensorial materials let children be able to classify and know the different sensory stimulations that they take in from the environment that surround them. Sensorial materials include materials that need to be graded according to color, size, dimension, shape, form, sound, touch, taste, and smell. These materials offer a chance for children to organize a clear, logical, and accurate base for learning and clarify perceptions. In addition to refining the senses, the materials provide a foundation for the development of intellectual skills such as memory, logical reasoning, creative imagination, and self-expression.
- MATHEMATICS: Like all Montessori materials, the materials for mathematics are built one on top of each other in increasing depth and complexity. The materials progress from simple to more advanced. Maria Montessori believed that children are born with mathematical minds. She believed that they have the capacity to reason, calculate, and to estimate. Children live in a world of mathematics, from counting shells found on the beach, dividing a pizza equally, and observing a web spun by a spider. Montessori materials give children a hands-on mathematical experience. They are given the opportunity to explore mathematics from concrete moving to the abstract.
- LANGUAGE, READING, WRITING (includes Botany, Zoology and History): The Montessori language program has a strong emphasis on linguistic expression. Children are exposed to vocabulary development, learning the names of all things that are in the immediate environment, learning names of the objects in the world at large and the universe. To strengthen this, the children are exposed to story-telling, poetry, songs, and are also encouraged to write their own work. Montessori uses a multi-sensory approach in teaching language, reading, and writing. The children are introduced to letters and sounds which make it possible for them to write. As always, it is always from the simple to complex. Children begin to compose three-letter and four-letter words to puzzle words, phonograms, and blends. Children use materials such as the movable alphabet to compose simple words and sentences as they become more confident. We teach the children first by tracing cursive letters through sandpaper letters, practicing the letters in a tray of sand, gradually moving on to writing on a chalkboard, and finally writing with pencil and paper. At some point, children are taught the print letters and match the print to the cursive. This is for the children to be able to read books on their own. Since everything is language, reading, and writing, the sciences and history are part of the language program. Children are encouraged to read and write everyday.
"The development of language is part of the development of the personality."