The primary classroom comprises children from the ages of 3 to 6 years. Each child works at his or her own pace and level. In the primary classroom, an emphasis is placed on the exploration of materials and activities that help the child actively develop skills such as independence, concentration, self-discipline, and coordination.
Practical life activities enhance the child’s motor control and coordination, improve concentration and attention span, and ultimately develop a sense of responsibility. These activities provide purposeful activity and help the child grow in three main areas: 1) care of the person, 2) care of the environment, and 3) grace and courtesy.
In this curriculum, the child develops skills in phonetics, written and oral expression, reading comprehension, and grammar. As Montessori educators, we assist the child in making fine distinctions between sounds based on the sound of his or her own speech. Additionally, the process of acquiring writing skills is emphasized before the child learns to read.
Math is taught through the use of concrete materials in the years during which a child explores observation and manipulation of materials. The child gains an understanding of the concepts of number, symbol, operations, and sequence, and also learns to memorize basic mathematical rules and facts. Dr. Montessori has demonstrated that if a child has access to mathematical materials in early years, he or she can easily and joyfully assimilate many facts of arithmetic, from simple addition to complex decimal system and fractions.
The cultural area in the primary classroom covers various subjects such as geography, history, biology, art, music, zoology. We begin with a study of home culture, the culture in which the child lives in. We then expand to other cultures around the world to not only enlighten the child as to how he or she fits into society, but how he or she is an important member of the world. Models, pictures, and books are used to help the child grasp the various concepts. Art and music activities help the child to encourage self-expression and refine the senses.
The goal of sensorial materials is to allow the child to acquire clear and conscious information about the environment, and then be able to classify sense experience such as size, shape, texture, loudness, and temperature. The child learns to explore and gradually refine his or her sense through exercises such as visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, and stereognostic sense exercises.