Our preschool program in our Montessori School in Gaithersburg, Maryland is a three year progression in a mixed-age classroom, which we call Primary. Children enter the class when they are three years old, and stay in the same class through Kindergarten. In the early afternoon, while younger children are napping, our Pre-K and Kindergarten students receive advanced lessons. Children leave the program well prepared for elementary school, no matter where they go next. Primary students who are 3 or 4 years old may attend for the morning, or for the whole day.
Our highly skilled teachers track each individual child’s developmental needs. Children choose from specially designed work to develop their practical life capabilities, stimulate their senses, build their pre-reading and early math skills, and expose them to geography, cultures, science, art, music, yoga, and Spanish language. Optional sports programs are available as well, for interested families.
If you have never experienced a Montessori Primary class, please come for a visit. These young children are able to work independently for several hours. They choose their work, prepare their snack, water plants, read books in the library, create art, all while learning social skills and to follow the ground rules of the classroom.
At the end of a busy morning, Primary children play outside before lunch, followed by naps or afternoon academics, depending on their age. After naps everyone returns to the classroom and continues their work, with an afternoon snack. After this work period, the children are ready to play outside again, on the playground or with one of our optional sports programs. Other afternoon options include art and music.
Children are excited to arrive in the morning, changing into their slippers, hanging up their coats, and greeting their teachers and fellow students. Having this opportunity to work independently is excellent preparation for elementary school. They build confidence in their ability to work through mistakes until they understand a new concept. Concentration and persistence are critical skills for success in school, and are key skills learned in our program.
Many Montessori children learn to read, write, add, and subtract early. This is not due to any push from the teachers, but from allowing children to move at their own individual speed through work designed and tested over many years to be effective for children this age. Fears of pushing academics too early are based on the use of methods more appropriate for older children, such as pencil and paper drills. Given developmentally appropriate tools, children can build their skills at their own pace, in a way that meets with their developmental needs. Coming on a weekday morning will give you the best opportunity to see the children at work. You will see smiles, concentration, relaxation, in a productive community of very young learners.
We invite you to come visit the school at one of our Open House events.