The primary classroom is a specially prepared environment for children from 3 to 6 years of age. A multi age classroom develops independence, leadership and promotes socialization. Montessori teachers are trained to recognize the windows of learning or sensitive periods that naturally occur in children. In response, the teachers use didactic materials to maximize the cognitive growth of each child.
The curriculum is based on five vital areas:
1. Practical Life
The Practical Life exercises are a powerful aid to life that foster logical and sequential thinking and strong concentration skills. Lessons open the door to a world meaningful, absorbing work that speaks to the needs and interest of each child. This work lays the foundation for all future learning.
This area includes beautifully designed wooden materials that build the basic skills necessary for more complex learning. These materials develop the child's abilities to categorize and compare information.
The concrete math materials assist the child to internalize concepts of number, symbol, sequence, and experience, as well as understand the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This work gives the child a solid understanding of mathematical principles of abstract reasoning and develops problem solving capabilities.
Language development is interwoven throughout all areas of the curriculum. Language activities include oral language exercises, a firm phonetic foundation leading to strong reading skills, good comprehension, written and oral expression, and the introduction of grammar. The mechanics of proper penmanship are introduced and reinforced. FVAM's Language Program fosters a life long love of reading.
5. Cultural Studies
The study of world cultures imparts a rich fabric of information about history, geography, and natural science. Montessori materials include wooden puzzle maps, as well as pictures, stories and timelines which transport the child to different historical periods. Science experiences include lessons from Botany, Biology and Zoology. Children develop a feeling of connectiveness with the global community.
Art is integrated into the daily life of the classroom allowing children to use creativity as a medium of expression. The primary classroom extends into the outdoor environment where the children explore the natural world and play together.
At the completion of the primary Montessori program, the child has built a strong foundation, essential for success in future learning. Each child has absorbed concrete concepts and is entering the second plane of development, characterized by movement toward abstract learning. A student who has completed our Montessori primary program demonstrates academic acuity, confidence, independence and a love of learning.
Primary Program Extended Day
Between the ages of four and five, children begin to evolve out of the "absorbent mind" period and approach the next stage of development, "The Age of Reason". At this time, there is a natural progression for morning children to enter the extended day program. Having explored and used the Montessori materials for at least one year, the extended day child begins to work and learn on a more conscious than an unconscious level. Extended day children receive more detailed, higher level lessons, because they are beginning to understand and apply more abstract ideas. The Extended Day Montessori materials are designed to lead the child to abstract thinking and problem solving. The Extended Day children play an important role in the classroom community. Morning children often turn to them for their guidance. This not only benefits the younger children, but serves to reinforce the extended day child's knowledge of the materials, as well as providing him/her a sense of confidence, responsibility and leadership. The Extended Day child's work cycle includes lunch, recess and afternoon lessons. The Extended Day Program includes Spanish, art, music and physical education. This program is a very enriching, challenging and rewarding experience for each student.