Early Childhood: Primary and Kindergarten
offering many opportunities for the child to develop a profound self-confidence and a healthy, happy, strong self-image.
"Help me to do it by myself" is the Montessori child's motto. An entire area of the classroom is devoted to "practical life" activities: preparing food; opening and closing fasteners from buttons to bows to buckles to velcro; washing tables; polishing silver. Children learn how to take care of themselves, and their environment, all while gaining a sense of self-confidence and mastery in doing so.
Primary children are eagerly acquiring language, both in size of vocabulary and complexity of expression. When the child is ready, letters sounds are introduced. The child’s senses, having been sharpened through Sensorial activities are now used to discriminate between letter sounds and symbols. Children lay the foundation for reading as they work with the sandpaper letters and the moveable alphabet. Children begin reading when they are ready and proceed at their own pace. Other activities provide physical, tangible introductions to the mechanics of language (parts of speech, etc.) or to concepts of number (the decimal system and basic mathematical operations).
When a child enters our Primary community, it is expected, at minimum, that they will stay to complete the full three cycle to be able to fully benefit from the Montessori Primary program. The third year of this cycle is kindergarten. Children who have developed academic skills, an inquisitive mind, a confident manner, and a strong work ethic in the Primary are ready to move on to Blue Ridge Montessori’s Elementary program, first through sixth grade.