“The elementary child has reached a new level of development. Before he was interested in things: working with his hands, learning their names. Now he is interested mainly in the how and why, the problem of cause and effect.” – Maria Montessori
The primary curriculum guides the child through identifying, classifying, and researching new concepts in the areas of EPL, Language, Arithmetic, and Culture. The materials invoke their imagination, encourage them to experiment and question about the origin of the universe and the nature of life.
EPL (Exercises of Practical Life)
Activities include taking care of the environment by dusting shelves, organizing materials, taking care of plants in the garden etc.
The language area includes a comprehensive reading, spelling curriculum, word study (including antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, and compounds, as well as the parts of speech), creative writing, and research skills. They are also introduced to different genres and techniques like prose and poetry.
The materials quickly move the child to an abstraction of math concepts, including problem solving, fractions, borrowing and carrying, graphing, measurement, long division, and algebraic equations. Geometry is a fascinating area of Montessori. Actual wooden shapes are used to master the terminology of all of the plane figures and solids.
In Botany and Zoology children learn about the plant and animal kingdoms.
Geography and History are taught through wooden puzzle maps of every continent, with children learning the names, flags, animals, cultures, and geographic features of each country. History is introduced with the study of time, including clocks, calendars, and timelines.
Children in a primary classroom begin to keep a record of their work in the form of a journal, a workplan, or chart. The children still have the freedom to select their own work, as well as choosing to work with another child or in a group.
In this mixed age, stimulating environment with highly trained teachers and materials that invite exploration and research, children learn to collaborate, face challenges with confidence, and begin to exhibit intellectual independence and curiosity.