Primary

In a mixed-age setting that is a part of a Montessori environment, a true community is formed. The children remain in the same class and usually have the same teacher for the three or four years that they are at the school. They learn from each other in a cooperative atmosphere where respect for one another is encouraged. The younger children have many opportunities each day to observe the work and activities of their older classmates. On the other hand, the older children grow in self-confidence and learn responsibilty from being the oldest. They also have an opportunity to reinforce their knowledge when they are able to share it with their younger classmates. 

There are three Primary classes at Ridgemont comprised of children between three and six years of age. Our class sizes range between 18 and 20 students. When considering a Montessori education for your child, it is best to keep in mind that the Primary Montessori program takes three to four years to complete.

The Primary Montessori classroom is divided into four curriculum areas: 

Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics and Language. Geography, art, and music are also a part of the daily life in a Montessori class.

Practical Life

The Practical Life exercises are everyday life activities which form a link between home and school. They include such exercises as washing tables, polishing shoes, metal and wood, and dressing frames for practicing such everyday routines as buttoning and tying. These activities assist development of controlled and coordinated movements, concentration, self discipline, and independence. The children learn to become responsible for the set up, execution, and cleanup of their own work, which forms the foundation for all later experiences in the Montessori classroom.

Sensorial

Stop and think about our busy world. Imagine all the impressions your child is absorbing. Wherever he goes, he sees colors and shapes, feels textures, hears sounds and smells odors. It is natural for the young child to be curious and observant about these impressions. The sensorial materials help him to classify and understand all that he takes in through the senses. Each of the sensorial materials isolates one quality such as texture, size, shape, color or sound. Thus, the child’s full attention is focused on that quality. It is not the aim of Montessori to give the child more impressions, but instead, to help him understand those things that he is exposed to everyday.

Math

As young children, most of us were forced to learn math by rote. We never knew the reasons for rules that were taught us. A dislike for mathematics arises because the mind is made to abstract before dealing with the concrete. A verbal explanation is not enough for the young child. Montessori gives the child concrete objects for the hand in order to help the understanding. As with the other Montessori materials, the math equipment isolates one concept for the child to absorb. The materials are concrete and represent all types of quantities which the child is free to manipulate as he counts. He not only sees the quantities for 1, 10, 100, etc., but he can hold them in his hand. Later, he is shown the written symbol, or number, for that quantity. When the child is ready for mathematical operations like addition, he can actually perform the operations with the concrete materials. There are a variety of materials the child can use for the same operation. This variety not only maintains the child’s interest, but allows for much repetition. In this way, the tables are memorized and the child gains a true understanding of the operation.

Language

From birth, your child absorbs the language from the family unit in which he lives. When introducing language in the Montessori classroom, we are not presenting something new, but continuing to build upon that which the child has already acquired. Language work begins on the first day your child enters the class and continues throughout his stay. We help your child classify his world by broadening his vocabulary. Through pictures and real objects we materialize the vocabulary words with which he is working. Reading instruction begins when your child learns to orally break down known words into individual sounds. Next, he learns to associate these sounds with letters and finally, he is shown how to put the letters together to form words. In later work, the child is shown exercises which help him realize how words relate to each other in expressing thought. Instead of teaching reading and writing directly we are helping your child become aware of the language skills developed naturally.