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 that 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 themself develop their 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 for 3-6 year-old children and is designed to foster development of 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 that appeals to the child’s emerging independence.

Our classrooms inspire an authentic desire to learn in a design where the oldest children mentor and inspire the youngest. Older children model respectful handling of 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 of their 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 they learn to walk and talk. The materials are inviting, realistic, and precise, and they 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, and then scaffold 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 who are 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 the 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 readily absorb language.

  • 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 1,000 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 in order to recognize holidays and seasons and to create a general love of community gathering.

Rainbow Room and Montessori Extended-Day Programs

After eating lunch together, Half-Day children, and those who are nappers, depart at 12:30, and Full-Day children are divided by age into one of two programs: Rainbow Room or Montessori Extended-Day. Once a child is no longer napping, they may stay at school for one of the Full-Day programs until 2:30.

All children transition from the Rainbow Room Program to the Extended-Day Program when they reach 4 1/2 years-old by either mid-October or mid-February, depending on their birthdate. Limiting these transitions to just two times a year simplifies the process for parents and teachers and results in greater success for the children.

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

    For those young children who are no longer napping, but who are not of-age for the Montessori Extended-Day Program in the classroom, we’ve created a cozy space. Our Rainbow Room Program prepares these young children for their transition to a full day in the classroom. We believe it’s important for them 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) remain in their classroom for the full day in the Montessori Extended-Day Program. These children engage in an additional Montessori work period, where some of the “big work” comes out, more complex lessons are given, and community jobs are done.

“I once asked my son, Harrison, to name the best thing he learned from his two years at Parkside. Without hesitation, he said, 'Parkside taught me how to love.' ”
Richard Cole