Other fun parts of our Summer programming on Primary include:
The classroom is built at the child’s level, modeled after the home, and includes up to 30 students. Each classroom is staffed by four adults, two of whom are Monstessori-credentialed Lead Teachers. The Primary Level, for children ages 3-6, includes the kindergarten year.
The Primary classroom is arranged from the simple and concrete, to the more complicated and abstract. The materials are designed to stimulate, attract, and awaken the child’s curiosity with a learning experience that children enjoy. In our classrooms, children are given the opportunity to explore and observe at their own pace. Freedom to choose materials and interact with other students, while conducting oneself responsibly, provides learning experiences for both the observer and observed. The classrooms are organized to encompass a three-year span, which allows younger students to experience the daily guidance of older role models, who in turn blossom in the responsibilities of leadership. Children not only learn with each other, but also from each other. Working in our class for three years allows students to develop a strong sense of community with their classmates and teachers.
Practical Life materials are reality-based activities that you might take part in during the day-to-day or within the home. Use of these materials builds independence, intrinsically-built concentration, coordination, and a sense of order. They include:
Sensorial materials are an access point for growth in perception. They have built-in control for error and range from simple to complex. They focus primarily on:
Sensorial materials are also used in interdisciplinary capacities with Math materials in the classroom.
According to Montessori, the sensitive period for language development happens between years three and six. During that time, Primary students work to build the following three skill sets:
The Math area of a Montessori classroom starts with the concrete and progresses to the abstract. There are five progressive, process-based components of understanding at play:
The Culture area of the Primary classroom is considered a child’s gateway to understanding the world and includes materials corresponding to these subject matters:
The third and last year for a Primary student is the kindergarten year. Considered the “capstone year,” this is a time where our Primary students take the knowledge that they have cultivated to fruition and complete lessons and use the remainder of the classroom’s intentionally-sequenced materials. Each Friday, kindergartners from each of our four classrooms gather together to learn specialized skills such as sewing or botany. They grow in responsibility and often behave as youthful teacher’s assistants, giving lessons to younger friends along the way. The 3-year cycle culminates with our Passing of the Peace Rose Ceremony. The ceremony provides our kindergartners an opportunity to demonstrate their readiness to an audience of parents that reflect on their time in the Primary classroom and celebrate their accomplishments. It’s a joyous occasion that demonstrates how prepared our Primary “graduates” are for their elementary school journey.
Also starting in kindergarten is an introduction to Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study Reading & Writing program, which the Academy has implemented through 6th grade. Developed at Columbia University’s Teachers College, this a program based on over 30 years of research and has been successful in thousands of schools in the country and throughout the world. The Units of Study program enhances our literacy goals by ensuring our students are armed with strategies and skills that will aid them towards becoming strong readers that find joy in connecting to the world around them through written language.