Maria Montessori observed that children possessed an "absorbent mind" from birth to six years old. They showed a natural curiosity for new information. During this time the child would demonstrate a more evident and also effortless way to learn than perhaps at any other time in their life. The child would absorb this information with his or her senses in order to also construct his or her own knowledge. In the Primary years, through experience, guidance, and practice, the Montessori method offers children 3 to 6 years old a unique opportunity to learn more thoroughly, quickly and efficiently.
In essence, because of the supportive environment that the child is learning in, all of the skills learned are being enhanced in a way that translate to independence and an active connection from the child to the world. Following, are the subjects covered in this stage.
This area of the Montessori curriculum is composed of an active written and reading program that is based on phonetics. The child starts with oral language development, and it progresses to associating letter sounds with the written symbols. Because the cognitive process required for reading is more complex than the one required for writing, the children follow the natural path of learning to write before they read. Thru Montessori language materials, activities and the implementation of a sequential phonetic reading program, the child is guided to fluent reading. Finally, they experience the function of grammar and the art of creative writing.
In the math portion of Montessori education, children are first introduced to exploring numbers 1-10. Quantities and symbols, and their association, are introduced as well. Children continue by learning the decimal system, and solving ultimately 4-digit mathematical operations. Children learn abstract mathematical concepts thru different hands on activities that use Dr. Montessori's carefully designed concrete materials.
The sensorial Montessori materials and activities presented to the children help them understand their world through the information that is received from the environment. This also lays the groundwork for an intellectual life by sharpening their senses and helping in the development of their cognitive skills. The sensorial activities in this area include Visual activities, Tactile activities, Auditory activities, and Olfactory activities.
In this area of the Montessori philosophy, the students are presented with practical real life activities that instill a sense of order, concentration, personal pride, independence, respect for others, fine motor skills, grace and courtesy, and confidence along with self-esteem in the child. Along with all of these aspects, the idea is to transmit the positive pride that comes with the mentality that the child “can do it” herself or himself.
Culture and Science
Particularly, this area connects the student to the earth, to nature overall, and to others. It helps the students understand the world and themselves by allowing them to experience and explore the world directly. The child is able to understand these connections in the Montessori classroom and in the larger world. The scientific method is introduced and explained for the student to use in exploring the world objectively. This area of the Montessori curriculum also provides the student with an organized account of events related to culture and science. The fields studied are: Geography, History, Zoology, Botany, and Science.