Early Childhood Program (Ages 3 – 6)
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” – Maria Montessori
The Primary Education Program at Montessori Scholars’ Academy nurtures the child’s quest for independence. In this program, they learn to refine their gross and fine motor skills, as well as control themselves physically. In this classroom, they have the opportunity to experiment and learn using a broad range Montessori materials, especially those that will become the foundation for future abilities such as reading, writing, and mathematics. In this level, they experience being part of a community, making friends, and developing positive socialization skills.
The Primary classroom at MSA is multi-age for children 3 to 6 years of age. The third year is equivalent to “Kindergarten”, when the child is 5 and will be turning 6. This is a very important year that completes a three-year cycle. In this classroom, the child is able to advance at their own rhythm and will experience being the “learner” first (when they are 3 and 4 years old) and, later on in the cycle, the “teacher” (5 and 6 years old).
The classrooms are beautiful, bright, and transmit a sense of calm and order which are qualities needed by the children to concentrate in their work and respect the work being done by others. Each Primary classroom has one full-time Montessori trained and certified lead teacher, as well as a full time assistant, who work with the children from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. The children have two 3-hour periods of uninterrupted work: one in the morning, and one in the afternoon.
Research demonstrates that the period of life between birth and six years of life is the most influential to define a child’s personality and ability to learn. During this period of time, life-long patterns are established and the skills acquired become the foundation that will be the basis for their future independence. Dr. Montessori calls this attribute of a child the “absorbent mind”.
The Primary classrooms are divided into four areas of learning and those are: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, and Mathematics.
Practical Life Area
The Practical Life area of a Montessori classroom allows the child to learn to take care of themself and of their physical surroundings. The child learns how to set the table, prepare their own snacks, clear and clean the table, wash dishes, tie their shoes, zip and hang jackets, and clean up after themselves. A child in this age group desires to be independent and learn how to do these things for themself. This section of the classroom was designed with the specific purpose of helping the child gain the independence they so much desire. The environment is safe and conducive to exploring, helping them grow in self-confidence.
In the Primary classroom, the child will learn to assimilate, understand, classify and comprehend the world that surrounds them. The sensorial area materials uses all the senses: Smell, sound, taste, sight and touch to put the student in direct contact with their environment, and to transform abstract concepts into concrete realities. The manipulatives found in the sensorial area are the foundation for the future development of skill.
The materials in the language area provide a full range of language-acquisition opportunities, which include sight words, linguistic materials, hands-on learning experiences such as sandpaper letters, and phonics. The materials approach language acquisition from a variety of angles, such as visual, auditory and kinesthetic, which make learning language attractive to the different learning styles of the child.
The mathematics area offers the child the opportunity to physically “experience” math through manipulative materials. The Mathematics area includes concrete materials such as the counting beads for counting to 1,000, the concepts of place value, beginning addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fraction materials, as well as basic problem solving exercises. They start with concrete mathematics and this gives the child the foundation to progress to more abstract concepts later in their educational life.
Cultural Studies Area
Cultural Studies is a key element of the Primary classroom, and it is here that the child covers material such as basic geography, physics, botany, anatomy and zoology. In this section of the classroom, the child will learn about the solar system and earth, the animals and plants that live on earth, as well as the different cultures of the world. This is done through puzzle maps, music, food, song, and flags for different countries as part of the learning of Cultural Studies.