Primary Montessori Program

The Primary Montessori classroom is a mixed age group community, and the ages range from 3 to 6 years. The mixed age group program gives the children the chance to learn from each other, to practice patience and compassion, to develop thoughtful leadership skills and team playing abilities. Grace and courtesy are very important aspects of our curriculum that are implemented throughout the day. Our Montessori classroom is a prepared environment that challenges the child’s mind, nurtures their natural curiosity and promotes learning every day. Furthermore, the learning is integrated and all aspects support and build on one another for successful and complete comprehension. The process is the goal, where the emphasis is always on the effort, focus and learning. The finished product of each process is merely the product of such effort, and children from early on are always directed to internally evaluate the level of effort and focus applied to each work. This intrinsic measure of work quality helps the child focus on developing their capabilities, and respecting the improvements gradually reflected in the outcomes.

The Practical Life area and Sensorial area have prepared the child to work in the Math area. The work materials help the naturally mathematic mind of the child progress from the concrete calculations to abstract ones. The inviting and multisensory materials, carefully laid out from simple to complex, offer a concrete representation of abstract mathematical concepts such as simple operations, area, volume, and measurement. The materials build on each other in a natural sequence and as the child goes through them in order, he/she progresses to performing addition, multiplication, subtraction and division through manipulation of concrete materials. During their development the children internalize the concepts of the decimal system, linear counting, addition, multiplication, subtraction and division. By the time they complete the Children’s House program, most students will have a solid understanding of numbers 0 to 100 and many will grasp concepts far beyond.

The children begin their journey from oral language activities and pre-writing work, and ultimately reach reading comprehension and good writing skills. Oral language activities like the “I Spy” game include the improvement of listening skills, comprehension and vocabulary. The push pinning activity helps develop the perfect pincer grip that is most important for writing. Letter sounds are introduced through Sand Paper letters and there’s emphasis only on phonetics than the names of letters, as it applies better to reading. Children then learn to form simple words using materials like the moveable alphabets. Phonograms are introduced at a later stage, which helps the budding readers gain more proficiency. Grammar is also introduced to the children with concrete symbols for the noun, verb, adjective and adverb. The environment is filled with rich literature and an assortment of reading materials at all levels that fosters the reading habit and proves the power of the written word.

This area includes the culture component of the Montessori curriculum for the primary age group. The children learn about the different cultures and customs of the world and celebrate most festivals from Kwanzaa to Chinese New Year. Parents are encouraged to contribute by bringing their family’s own stories, foods, and symbols to share. The Geography part of this area introduces the concept of land, water and air. The children learn about the different land and water forms. They also work with the globes, one which signifies the difference between land and water, and the other which delineates the continents and bodies of water. Furthermore, they can work with the map of the world, the maps of all the continents and the maps of the countries of North America. The Science curriculum introduces them to the concept of living and non-living, the nomenclatures of the animal kingdom and the human body. The Nature curriculum often changes with the season and helps children understand the reasoning behind common phenomena such as leaves changing color, hibernation of animals, migration of birds etc.

Dr. Montessori has acknowledged the stage between 2 to 6 years as the “absorbent mind”. The children explore their environment with their five senses and learn through osmosis. Materials such as the Pink Tower and the Broad Stairs teach the children the concept of size and sorting based on the same. The Geo Solids and the Geometric Trays teach children the concept of shapes, the Color Tablets introduces them to different colors and their myriad shades, the Cylinder Blocks teach them the concept of size and encourage good pincer grip. Mainly, the materials in this area help the child internalize the concepts of size, shape, weight, touch, sound, color and taste while also acting as a prelude to math and language.

This area prepares children to perform daily routine tasks in their lives. The children learn to be independent through activities such as buttoning, zipping and shoelace tying. They learn to care for the environment through activities related to cleaning, polishing and food preparation. Their cognitive abilities to follow more than two-step directions, their focus and sense of coordination develop steadily as they spend time working in the Practical Life area. Activities such as pouring, spooning and scooping enhance their gross motor abilities. Their social skills develop as well, by working with, helping and sharing with members of their classroom community.

Students are introduced to a wide variety of materials, concepts, skills, techniques, and projects. Emphasis is placed on the process of creating art in a personal way. Students work independently on their own ideas with a framework set up by the teacher. Lessons are given on the care and use of materials, specific methods of creating art, and on the works of specific artists. Projects often tie in to classroom curriculum or cultural celebrations. The goal of the Children’s House art curriculum is to allow each child to explore their own creativity through a variety of projects.

Research has proven that early exposure to any language greatly influences fluency and the ability to speak it like a native speaker. Children will be introduced to a new language through the full immersion method, where the teacher only helps them with the acquisition through music, movement and stories in that tongue without the crutch of translations.

Good exercise and free play are important components that aid healthy growth and development in a child. They will have plenty of time to play outside every day. As our Montessori environment extends to the outside in the form of a natural playground, the children can tirelessly explore the wonders of nature beyond their classrooms. Outside, the Music area encourages the children to explore new movements through the use of music, and the navigation of a natural space provides a greater sense of direction and spatial awareness. Children will also play simple team games and cooperative games, with an emphasis on good sportsmanship.

Social and emotional learning is simplified under the “Grace and Courtesy” rules of a Montessori classroom. Good manners and kind behavior are an intrinsic part of the Montessori education. Lessons in respect, self-control, conflict resolution and elegance in movement are interwoven through all our areas of study. The development of these skills promotes healthy social behavior, reduces violence and bullying behaviors, and in turn increases a child’s capacity to flourish in the school environment.

Community living is practiced as each student does his/her part and contributes to the daily chores with the common goal of keeping their classroom neat and tidy. The concept is extended to the world outside when these young students participate in caring for their planet. Children follow the lead of the adults in the classroom, accepting the differences amongst themselves and learn to support each other. Peace education is fostered in the everyday cycle of the classroom with the peaceful practices adopted for conflict resolution and failure to respect the rules. This is further enhanced when they study the lives of historical peacemakers. The Curious Minds hopes that each graduate of the school will embody this fundamental Montessori practice in all walks of their lives.

6:30 am to 8:30 am: Before care program for the children arriving early. The children are welcome to have their breakfast, read, do some art activity and interact with their friends.

8:30 am to 8:40 am: Children, who arrive in time for the morning session, are greeted by the teacher at the door.

8:40 am to 8:50 am: We have our morning circle. Sometimes, there is a lesson for a new activity or a presentation regarding a seasonal subject. We mostly discuss the current topic of the classroom (for example, Apples in the season of fall). Then each child is individually dismissed from circle and invited to choose a job. If all the children are working with focus at this time, the teacher might choose to not have a morning circle.

8:50 am to 10:50 am: Children are either working individually or in small groups. A self-served healthy snack is also available through the day. The teacher’s everyday observation records show her the activities the child has mastered and which lesson should follow next in each area.

The children also spend some time in the reading nook of the classroom, which holds a variety of books relevant to our current subject of our study. The individually planned curriculum is flexible enough to follow the interests of the child and motivate them to try new activities outside their comfort zone.

The classroom, at once, resembles a beehive and a quiet work zone, where all the children are focused on an activity of their choosing. One child may be involved with some concrete math activity like the 45 layout, another may be working with a map in the geography area, and two other children might be working on the moveable alphabets in the language area. Most of our younger children are drawn to the Practical Life area, where they are scooping or pouring and learning life skills.

The children are taught to respect the needs of their classmates, by replacing each material in its proper place so another child knows where to find it, by using their quiet indoor voices to not disturb their friends’ focus on their activities, by sharing, working and playing with children of all ages.

10:50 am to 11:05 am: At 10:50 am, a small, quiet bell is rung and the children finish what they were doing and come to circle.

11:05 am to 11:25 am: At 11:05 am, we go out to play.

11:30 am to 12:00 pm: Lunch for the children.

12:00 pm to 12:15 pm: Clean up after lunch

12:15 pm to 12:30 pm: Recess for the children. Half-day children get picked up at 12:30 pm.

12:30 pm to 1:00 pm: Quiet time for resting.

1:00 pm to 2:30 pm: Work-time for those children who are done with their down time. Nappers continue to nap until they wake up and join their friends in work.

2:30pm to 2:50 pm: Recess

2:50 pm to 3:00 pm: Pick up time for full day children

3:00 pm to 6:30 pm: Those children who have enrolled in the aftercare program will be escorted to the aftercare classroom. The aftercare program includes a small snack, an activity of the day (for instance Dance, Spanish) and outside playtime. The school closes at 6:30 pm, by which time all children must have been picked up.