Primary Program

Ages 3-6 / Includes kindergarten year

Half Day 8:15 am -12:30 pm
Full Day 8:15 am – 2:30 pm

Our Primary Mission

The fundamental purpose of all Montessori education efforts is to create a more peaceful world through nurturing the spirit of the developing young child. This objective differs from traditional teaching for it requires children be made aware of their higher purpose over self-service or self-indulgence. This philosophy cultivates a respect and curiosity for the natural world and an understanding and acceptance of others through the virtues of love, humility, perseverance, adaptability, kindness and compassion.

Key to the objective of the Montessori primary classroom is to help the child to help herself develop her own sense of self and independence through direct experience with the Montessori materials and in relationship to the classroom community.

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Our Primary Classroom

The primary classroom is a dynamic learning environment of mixed ages of 3-6 year old children designed for developing physical and emotional independence. The room is prepared purposefully and attractively with all furnishings and manipulatives scaled to the child’s size. This custom fit for the young child creates a welcoming and inviting space appealing to the child’s emerging independence.

Our classrooms foster an authentic desire to learn in a design where eldest children mentor and inspire the youngest. Older children model respectfully handling and working with the materials and assist younger children as needed. Social and emotional intelligence is fostered through mentor influence, positive reinforcement, repetition with materials, and consistent attendance. The child develops more complex cognitive skills as they ascend through the curriculum in the third year.

The use of the trademark Montessori materials is based on the young child’s unique aptitude for learning with ease which Dr. Montessori described as the “absorbent mind.” The child actually absorbs social behaviors, language, and information through all her senses from age 0-6. Young children in Montessori classrooms have shown evidence of learning to read, write and calculate in the same natural way that learning to walk and talk occurs. The materials are inviting, realistic and precise, and provide for specific periods of interest and readiness based on developmental markers.

The carefully prepared children’s environment allows the child to experience choice, develop fine and gross motor skills through manipulative materials, and hone attention, scaffolding these building blocks for further learning.

The Montessori children’s primary house is divided into five curriculum areas:

  • The Practical Life Exercises

    These are beginning activities for the three and four year-old children developing control of movement, attention, sequencing, independence with self-care and care of the environment.

  • The Sensorial Materials

    Designed for use by all ages, these didactic manipulatives isolate unique qualities such as length, breadth, height, color, sound, and shape. Learning through the child’s heightened senses they construct, compare and contrast to promote ability to discriminate and categorize the world.

  • Language

    Development is interdisciplinary relative to the child’s interaction with the Montessori classroom materials and the community. Prerequisite letter sound association is done with the phonetic alphabet with sandpaper cursive letters. The youngest child is exposed to these tactile materials based on Montessori’s findings that confirm the child’s sensitivity to absorb language readily.

  • Mathematics

    Materials reinforce one-to-one correspondence with numbers 1-10 with concrete materials. The base 10 decimal system is introduced with concrete manipulative glass beads that provide opportunities for learning arithmetic concepts with complex numbers as well as linear and skip counting to one thousand with the colored bead chains.

  • Cultural and Natural Sciences

    Botany and biology are explored through exposure to the outside world, gardening, observing, discussion, and study of plants and animals. Our planet’s geography is also explored. Art materials provide direct experience with color, texture, contrast, compliment and symmetry with developmentally appropriate materials in a wide range of mediums. Exploration is based on the child’s interest and developmental tendencies. Music is a daily part of the primary experience through group singing, listening appreciation and exploration with the pentatonic scale with the Montessori bells. Movement with music, song, rhythm and rhyme are employed daily at group time to develop the phonological listening skills critical to reading, to recognize holidays and seasons, and to create a general love of community gathering.

Primary Rainbow Room and Extended Day Programs

After eating lunch together, Full Day Primary students are divided by age and academic readiness into one of two programs: the Rainbow Room Program or the Montessori Extended Day Program. Parkside will no longer be offering a nap program. If you child is a napper, they will go home at 12:30 departure.  Once your child is no longer napping, they will be able to stay at school for the full day until 2:30 and then go to aftercare until 5:30, if needed. 

  • Rainbow Bridge Room (12:30 – 2:30 pm)

    For those young children who are no longer napping, but who are not quite ready for the Extended Day in the classroom, we’ve created a cozy space for them. Our Rainbow Bridge Program cares and prepares these young children for their move back into the classroom. We believe it’s important for these children to have some quiet down time as well as enjoy stories, art projects, outside time and delightful activities that nurture the whole child.

  • Extended Day Program (12:30 – 2:30 pm)

    The older children (our older four, five and six year olds) will remain in their classroom for the full day in what we call the Montessori Extended Day Program. These children engage in an additional Montessori work period, where some of the “big work” comes out, community jobs are done and more complex lessons are given by the guide.

Your child’s Lead guide will make the placement decision for each child, after careful observation and conversations with you.

“Your vision was beautiful. Your implementation was even better. We are so grateful for what you created. ”
Maria and Brett Bickerton