"There are many who hold, as I do, that the most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one,
the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man's intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed.
But not only his intelligence; the full totality of his psychic powers."
- Maria Montessori
PRIMARY PROGRAM (3-6 years old)
Primary program is a 5 full-day program in a mixed age group of 3 to 6 years old in a prepared environment where independent learning and children exploration is maximized.
The non-comptetive mixed age group provides many learning and social benefits to the children. Learning motivation and social skills, like respect, compassion, empathy, and leadership, are formed through the three-year period. The goal of this stage is to develop a love of work, a joy of learning, and a desired work habit, like persistence, self-discipline, concentration, and responsibility.
Children will be prepared for many areas through the Montessori curriculum as follows.
Exercise of Practical Life (EPL)
"A three-year-old educated according to Montessori pedagogy, becomes a master of his hand and undertakes with a joy a variety of human activities. EPL activity is a very common interest of the children of age 3 as they enter the classroom in the first year because EPL activity provide the link from home to school. Children gain pleasure by performing the work they have seen their parents perform at home by themselves with the child-size tools. These activities allow him to develop the power of concentration". These activities help children develop control of movement, sequencing and concentration through inviting and purposeful work, indirectly preparing the children for writing. Performing multiple steps in EPL activities prepares young children for more complicated tasks in other areas, like Mathematics.
Four main areas of EPL are
1. Control of Movement
2. Care of Self
3. Care of Environment
4. Grace and Courtesy
Sensorial activities help the childen classify things in their environment using their senses. Since the senses are the tools of the intelligence, the refinement of the sense attained from the activities is the first steps toward the childs intelligence. It helps them develop an accurate observation of the world. Sensorial skill is also a basis upon which the children will build their imagination. Each Sensorial material isolates one sensory quality in gradual and measurable way. The qualities isolated include visual, texture, smell , taste, temperature, and sound. Vocabulary and comparative language, which are part of the sensorial skill, are introduced by the teacher. The vocabulary will be a resource for children to make more precise meaning about their world.
These activities prepare the children for English communication, including alphabet recognition, reading, writing, speaking and grammar. Sound games are played even before the child can read words, making children realize that a word is composed of different sounds. The children then are introduced to Sandpaper Letters which introduce the sound of each alphabet. Later, they will learn to compose words using movable alphabets. Children will learn to write and read words or sentences. They will be exposed to even grammatical analysis of the parts of a sentence. Language also extends to explorations in cultural area of the curriculum, such as geography and science. New vocubulary can be seen in classified pictures or puzzle maps, like parts of animals and country names. They will discover that by reading they are able to explore further into anything at any time. Thai language materials are also placed in the environment for children to choose from. Naturally, the children are interested in the language used in the culture they live in.
Children of this age have a mathematical mind by nature. In Montessori class, the children dont merely learn how to count. Montessori mathematic materials give opportunities for children to see, feel, and manipulate the quantity from zero to even a million. Mathematics in the Primary level builds on the Exercise of Practical Life and the Sensorial Activities. Children classify and make judgements of the quantity in their environment, such as similarity, dimension, distance, graduation and sequence. Mathematic is then introduced by using manipulative materials. Children learn the concept of numbers, symbols, sequences, operations and memorization of basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, concept of fractions, and also geometry. They learn Math in a concrete way through the materials to gain an true understanding of Math concepts. The transition to abstraction naturally happens through discovery, and continuation of mathematical abstraction goes on beyond the Primary years.
Cultural Subjects: Science, Geography and History
Children at this age are keen observrs of the Nature. Montessori education provides the framework for children to classify the natural features around them. The Cultural materials are ready on the shelves for children to pick and learn at their pace. Lesson can be given to an individual or a group by the teacher. Cultural activities are connected to Language acitivities, motiviating and requiring children to read. The Cultural areas include Natural Science, Botany, Zoology, and Geography. Cultural area of Montessori curriculum is linked to and is an extension of the Language curriculum. Children learn names of continents, countries, animal parts, leaf shapes, etc. This makes the children realized that being able to read makes them know more about things in the world. Spending three years in Primary class, the children are familiar with many areas of cultural subjects, and are ready to develop deeper in the Elementary years.
Creative Arts (Music, Movement, and Visual Arts)
Music is integrated into the environment through singing, rhythm and playing of instruments, music appreciation. Children work with different technique of art in activities presented individually or in groups. Art activities are placed on shelves, chosen freely, and worked with independently by the children on a daily basis. Art activities are sometimes organized by teachers as group activities after lunch break or on a special occassion like upcoming holidays. Movement to the music is an important aspect of health and expression. Young children have a natural sense of rhythm. Music and movement help children develop a whole body coordination.
Languages other than English
Emphasis is placed on supporting and enhancing children's language development. Children are exposed to languages other than English. The classroom has Thai native speakers. Though, the main language in the classroom is English, children naturally are interested in a language of their own culture or the culture they live in. Therefore Thai language is integrated into the daily activity of the classroom, and Thai alphabet lessons are given to the children according to their readiness. Children learn Thai consonants and vowels, and start mixing their sounds to produce words. Other languages are introduced by visiting faculty. Engagement with a language other than English inspires in children an interest in and respect for other cultures, especially when the language is integrated into other parts of the curriculum.
Personal Development, Health and Physical Education
Students are involved with physical education giving them an opportunity to understand their personal development and health. The program includes:
Personal Development, Incorporating the Lessons of Grace and Courtesy:
The Montessori lessons are designed to promote peace and social harmony. Lessons include information about how to handle objects with care, respect others' needs and space, use polite language, and resolve conflicts.
As an extension of the EPL, children practice healthy habits in eating and caring for themselves. Children can grow food from school garden, and cook or prepare for others. They have lessons related to safety and nutrition.
Children participate in physical activities both indoors and outdoors. Children in Montessori move constantly. They need movement in order to learn. Free play is an opportunity for social interaction, developing strength, and refining their movement.
Digital Technologies and Children Aged from Three to Six
Children gain knowledge and skills by using concrete materials which provide opportunity for children to use their senses, and learn to regulate their mental attention and concentration. Via Montessori materials, children develop problem solving skill and logical thinking that will prepare them for effective use of digital technologies in the later years.