The Montessori Junior Primary classroom doesn’t look like any other classroom. This classroom is filled with specialised equipment that is carefully arranged and displayed, and available for use. The furniture is all child-sized, and children use china and glass as they go about their daily life. Structured to encourage our children’s participation, the activities are part of a carefully planned curriculum that starts the first day a child enters the school at 3 years of age, through to the day they move through to secondary school. At 3 years of age children only attend school for half a day Monday to Friday. They move to full days at around 4½ years.
There is a feeling of total involvement as children explore and discover: sometimes with materials on rugs on the floor or on tables; sometimes alone, sometimes together. There is much movement, self-initiated socialising, and casual interchange between children and between child and Teacher.
If the Directress is hard to find in the classroom, they are likely to be on a rug on the floor or at a child-sized table; giving full attention to one individual child at a time or a small group.
Careful observation of the Teacher will show they are constantly on the move in a quiet way as they go from child to child, and seek to be alert to the needs and actions of all.
In the Junior Primary classes there are 5 defined areas, focusing on the children’s interests and their developmental needs:
PRACTICAL LIFE: Children are encouraged to look after themselves, their classroom and home environment independently.
SENSORIAL: The senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell are developed.
LANGUAGE: Learning tools such as sandpaper textured letters, and a moveable alphabet are introduced to begin reading and writing.
MATHEMATICS: Tactile materials are used for counting and participating in game-like activities introduce the children to addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; making the learning process fun.
CULTURAL: The children are introduced to the world in which we live.