Most of our new families have not experienced a Montessori school before, so this is the last post out of a four-part blog series to show you with pictures and short descriptors what each level is like at Sunrise Montessori. If you missed our first three blog posts on A day in the life of a Nido classroom at Sunrise Montessori!, A day in the life of a Bambini classroom at Sunrise Montessori!, or A day in the life of a Pre-Primary Classroom at Sunrise Montessori!, you can find those and other posts on our website under Resources/Ms. Shannon’s Blog. This week’s focus is Primary, which comprises children between the ages of 2.8 – 5 years old. Why as young as 2.8 years old (which is about 2 years and 10 months) instead of 3 years old? If the child is completely toilet trained, can speak in complete sentences, and has developed a strong sense of independence and coordination, then they are ready for the challenge of the Primary classroom. Our program is dependent on the child and revolves around their abilities and development.
During their three years with us, Primary children become absorbed with academic concepts, such as mathematical numbers and operations, sounds and combinations of letters, the formation of words and sentences, and writing to express their thoughts, both pictorially and through the written word. They become interested in cultural studies, such as geography and art as well as sciences, which includes tending to their own garden plot where they grow vegetables and flowers in the spring. Because a Montessori Primary classroom has such a wide age span, children develop a sense of community as they get to know their teachers and fellow students on a deep level, allowing them the time to learn how to take care of their environment and each other.
Our Primary students develop independence, concentration, self-discipline, and confidence during their time at Sunrise Montessori and when they are ready to graduate, if they have been with us for almost three years, they enter elementary knowing how to read chapter books and add four digit numbers, years ahead of their peers. How is this possible? It’s all part of our Montessori curriculum and our hallmark three hour work period. You can read more details on how our students learn to read (language) and problem solve (math) in our blog posts How we teach your child to read the Montessori way! and Learning math the Montessori way! Sunrise Montessori is modeled on the AMS (American Montessori Society)’s model, which demands a three hour work period before lunch, playtime several times a day, and socialization/arts and crafts in the afternoons. Developing the whole child is paramount.
Above, left to right: Bead Stair Hanger, Blue Jays group lesson with Ms. Patty, Playing outside
Above, left to right: Pink and Blue Material Shelf/Language, Phonics and writing shelf, Science/Geography shelf
Above, left to right: Learning how to stand in a line before going outside with “a bubble in your mouth,” sounding out letters with the Moveable Alphabet and Pink Material, Showing mastery of numbers up to 9,000 using wooden numbers and Golden Beads
Above, left to right: Placing lunch on a real plate and placemat, Learning how to count with the Colored Bead Stair with Ms. Jessica, Drawing a picture before journaling about it
The core components of our Primary program include:
- Three hour academic Montessori work period
- Group lessons during Circle Time to explain how to use the materials on the shelves (the children also watch each other use the materials)
- Teachers who are Montessori credentialed (all of our Primary Lead Teachers are Montessori certified)
- Shelves that hold materials on Language Arts, Writing, Mathematics, Science, Geography/History, Practical Life and Sensorial
- Individualized instruction on writing, phonics, and mathematics
- Uninterrupted work time to foster concentration and develop mastery of concepts
- Bi-annual Parent-Teacher Conferences (knowing where their child is at and is headed academically)
- Montessori Compass (notes on each child’s individual progress as well as explanations of Montessori materials and activities are available online through our Montessori Compass account)
During the time that our students are with us, they come to understand that we are all a part of a community that supports each other while learning together. And what they achieve in our nurturing care is nothing short of inspiring. A Montessori school is unlike any other and the Primary level is where it all comes together and takes flight!