“Help me do it myself.”
Children at the Primary Level, ages three to six years old, possess what Dr. Montessori called the “absorbent mind”, the ability to absorb all aspects of one’s culture and environment without effort and fatigue. A carefully prepared environment encourages discovery and fosters the development of independence, concentration, sequential thought and control of movement. Mixed-aged groupings allow children to learn from, and teach, each other.
The primary classroom is divided into four areas: practical life, sensorial, mathematics and language. Exercises include care of self, care of the environment, grace and courtesy, and movement. By mastering practical life skills such as polishing, washing and sweeping, the child gains independence in the adult world. Sensorial materials, such as the pink tower, brown stairs, red rods and knobbed cylinders, enable children to classify, clarify and comprehend their work. Math concepts, including the decimal system and geometry, are introduced and learned concretely through the number rods, spindle box, bead chains and golden bead material. Children are introduced to writing, reading, and vocabulary development with the metal insets, sandpaper letters, moveable alphabet, phonogram booklets, and vocabulary materials. Art, music and cultural activities for biology and geography are an integral part of this joyful learning experience.