Self Discovery (3 - 6 yrs)
The Primary child's young brain continues to develop rapidly, and authentic Montessori environments are developed accordingly. The connection between the mind and body is still key at this age. To this end, Marin Montessori School's Primary classrooms take strong advantage of sensorial materials to help each child become more independent, learn foundational academic principles, effectively manage his or her emotions to productive ends, and expand intellectually.
Some of the Primary materials are targeted at developing brain response by honing the child's senses. For example, Primary children engage with color tablets designed to refine sight through a series of lessons starting with the simplest work, matching, to more challenging lessons, such as games of gradation. By training their senses, children increase their ability to perceive while expanding their intellect.
Montessori's materials create a foundation for math, reading, writing, and vocabulary. While working with these materials, each child progresses not only in mastering subject matter, but also in being able to think critically about problems: how to perceive, make judgments, reason and make independent decisions.
Primary children are particularly sensitive to language, order and the precision and sequence in which things occur. Capitalizing on these sensitivities, teachers at the Primary level continue to introduce a wide range of vocabulary and encourage classification of new words. It is within this realm of discovery that the children begin their exploration of reading and writing.
Primary children are also encouraged to explore art and other creative pursuits - each creation purposeful and beautiful in its own way.
Throughout this time, children continue to develop their will, understand and effectively regulate their emotions, interact gracefully with others, and understand basic social customs.
Because of the curriculum design, Primary children explore independence. Hands-on, discovery-based teaching fosters self-esteem, makes work more interesting, and teaches independent thinking. As children progress in age and are able to give lessons to younger children, they learn valuable communication and collaboration skills.
Preliminary math materials introduce the ideas of quantity and symbol, and the connection between both. As the children grow, they are exposed to more abstract concepts that are made concrete through manipulative materials. These tactile materials bring to life the mathematical operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division along with other key concepts. The mathematical knowledge gained by the children in the Primary environment is carried forth into the world. The authentic materials provide a muscular memory of the abstract concepts retained by the children, which will help them visualize progressive math concepts.