Pre-Primary is the time when the true introduction to the Montessori Environment begins! Various materials give the children a sense of satisfaction as they learn to be more independent and develop confidence. The student to teacher ratio is low in the Pre-Primary class.
In Pre-Primary, the students use many Practical Life Materials in their daily activities. These materials enable children to practice activities such as pouring, sweeping, tweezing and polishing. These activities are a critical part of the Montessori education in various ways. It allows the children to develop skills such as hand-eye coordination, concentration and attention to detail. The children also learn good work habits during the activity and afterwards when they must return the material to the shelf before starting another activity. This part of the Montessori education builds confidence, focus and self-esteem. It also allows the children to imitate the activities they see adults perform. These tasks also begin to form the foundation for their education by instilling in the children the skills and self-discipline to help them succeed in school and through adulthood.
Students will also use Sensorial Materials in the Pre-Primary classroom. These are materials and activities that help the children engage and sharpen their five senses. The Sensorial Materials are specially designed to emphasize one of the senses in particular. It is important for the children to educate their senses and their power of observation.
Children will also begin to learn colors, counting and words. They gain their readiness for reading and writing, as well as mathematics. Students learn concrete concepts at this level in order to prepare them for the rest of their education. This is also the time in which students are introduced to grace and courtesy, a fundamental part of the Montessori philosophy. This allows children to have respect for their classroom and for their classmates. The lessons in grace and courtesy help fill a child’s need for order and social structure. This will in turn help them to feel more at ease and comfortable in their classroom.
In Pre-Primary, we highlight skills that emphasize a child’s confidence and ability to do things on their own. It is very important to give the children a variety of activity choices. In a typical Pre-Primary class you might see a child practicing carrying a pitcher and pouring water, while another learns animal names on flash cards, while still another stands behind an easel painting.