Montessori of Macon’s Primary Program is designed to meet the needs of and be appealing to children 3 to 6 years old. The Primary Classroom is rich with Montessori materials that await each child’s moment of interest in reading, math and cultural subjects. Building upon the independence grown in the Toddler Program, Practical Life activities continue to be an important focus of the Primary Classroom. These activities support the growth of focus and concentration as well as fostering independence in the care of themselves and their environment. Early academic achievement is not the primary goal, but because the materials are engaging, many students are involved in academic work. The teacher moves throughout the classroom giving individual and small group lessons. Students work in all areas of the classroom including math, language, science and geography. It is Montessori of Macon’s profound belief that the child’s work is internal and is motivated by a sense of self-worth and self-confidence gained through “learning by doing”. With this as a focus of the classroom, the child becomes an independent learner eager to experience the various areas of the classroom and outdoor environments.
3 Basic Areas of the Classroom
The lessons and exercises of practical life reflect the daily life skills that are necessary for care of self and the environment. The materials are meticulously arranged so that the child experiences, logical sequencing, attention to detail, exactness and purposeful activity. Fine muscle control and concentration and a sense of order are also developed while interacting in this area of the classroom.
The materials of the sensorial area are finely engineered to isolate and categorize qualities perceived through the senses. The materials have a built in control of error allowing the child to identify mistakes and make immediate corrections for themselves. Through work in the sensorial area each child develops perceptual and sensory abilities and refines their observational skills, laying the critical foundation for future learning based in reason and judgment.
Children gain early knowledge of concepts in language, math, science, social studies and the arts. The Montessori classroom is a language rich environment where children are provided the correct names for objects and concepts. Story telling, discussion and conversation are encouraged and guided by the teacher. Providing opportunities to build vocabulary and confidence in self expression. The children are exposed to both cursive and print and the initial introduction to letters is through letter sounds (phonetics) and using sand paper letters progress to using the moveable alphabet. Using the moveable alphabet the student is then encouraged to express ideas and then to read their written compositions. In this way the child is introduced to reading which is further supported with the use of basal texts.
The Math curriculum encourages the manipulation of concrete objects to gain experience in one to one correspondence, sequencing, quantity place value and recognition of numbers. With this as a base the children explore the functions and facts of the four math operations. Number relationships such as squares, cubes and fractions isolated with the materials lay a foundation for mathematical reasoning.
Cultural activities such as art, music, science and geography are integrated through daily work and in seasonal topics of interest. Work with biome and political puzzle maps, botany map introduce children to the interdependence that helps sustain our societies and natural world.