Most children, regardless of age, begin their Montessori experience in this area as these very practical lessons of caring for oneself as well as one’s environment. This ‘real’ work also gives the child opportunities to concentrate, create internal order, and hone fine and large motor skills.
As the name suggests, lessons in this area focus on the various senses. Children use touch, sight, smell, sound, and taste to explore, classify, compare, and organize their environment. This area, along with practical life, helps develop the child’s mathematical mind.
The language area is divided into writing and reading. Long before children can successfully manipulate writing tools, they can use the movable alphabet to spell words and then reading those words naturally follows. The children learn to read phonetically and progress based on their interests and ability.
Using very concrete materials, children are introduced to numerals and quantities so that counting has real meaning. Much effort is devoted to the understanding of 1 through 10 in the decimal systems. The child is then able to advances through all the operations with a sound understanding of the function and practice of mathematics.
Physical science, botany, zoology, history, geography, music, and art are included in the cultural area. Through the use of concrete, self-correcting materials, the children gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them.
We use the Child and Faith materials, an adaptation of the Catechesis of Church developed by Dr. Montessori and described in detail in her book, The Child in the Church. Using the Good Shepherd materials, children are introduced to the Good Shepherd who knows their name and guides and protects them. There are also concrete lessons for the children to explore Biblical events such as Creation and Passover.
The curriculum in the Primary class is based on what Dr. Montessori called the ‘absorbent mind’. Children under the age of six years, have the uncanny ability to effortlessly, and without filters, absorb not only their culture, but also their environment. Because of this ability, which is only present for a few short years, we believe it is critical to provide an orderly, beautiful, and richly prepared environment that is perfectly suited to meet their needs academically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.
"A child of six is capable of fixing his attention for a much longer period than a child of three ... the child of six is capable of repeating two hundred times an act which interests him. If the maximum period of continuous work on the same object may be half an hour for the child of three, it may be over two hours for the child of six".
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10:14-15