Ages 3–6: Primary Curriculum
Focus and Outcome
Students are drawn to and delighted by detailed everyday living exercises that offer them the opportunity to master many basic skills, such as cleaning or arranging flowers. While these tasks may appear simple, these many-layered activities are laying a foundation for sequential thinking, concentration, coordination, abstract understanding, and self-confidence.
Specifically designed materials and lessons in the classroom enable students to define weight, size, shape, color, smell and texture. Individual qualities are isolated, becoming distinct and understandable. The student is then able to develop clear and detailed vocabulary as well as a basis for scientific inquiry: Why do those leaves change color? How can I balance those blocks? Why is the sky blue? Through the sensorial exercises, the child establishes tools that are essential for all future learning.
Primary students are introduced to the world of mathematics in a logical, concrete, understandable manner. Each and every math idea, from quantity to the idea of zero to the concept of odd and even numbering, is expressed in a physical, concrete form which the students can manipulate and thereby understand. In this way, children are intrigued and drawn into mathematics rather than intimidated or confused. Addition, subtraction, and even multiplication and division are introduced in concrete ways at an individualized pace for each child.
Language ties into all aspects of a Primary classroom. Learning letter sounds phonetically provides a strong jumping-off point for reading. Tracing letter shapes made of sandpaper is the foundation for writing. Handwriting is introduced, and proper grip is taught through special writing exercises. The students’ oral language ability continues to grow and develop, with clear and precise vocabulary tied to all aspects of classroom activity.
Cultural studies include geography, science, and history, as well as exposure to a variety of different customs and traditions from around the world, building cross-cultural understanding. Each year, our students study two continents, completing the full study over the three-year cycle.
Each week, students have art, music, physical education, Spanish, and library instruction in addition to classroom-based activities.
While our first year students are napping, second and third year students join with peers across classrooms for learning including Writers’ Workshop, Guided Reading, Readers’ Theatre, Experimental Science, Nature Studies, and Handwriting without Tears. These programs provide additional opportunities for collaboration and exploration, while teaching valuable skills in preparation for the Elementary years.