Montessori Primary programs should embrace some fundamental guidelines:
Attention to the sensitive periods of a child’s development; a prepared environment; guidance in the academic areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Geography, Science and Nature, Language, and Math; and a mixed-age grouping. Beyond these shared characteristics, schools’ styles and energies vary widely from campus to campus.
The three-year cycle allows for each child to experience the newness of their first year with older peers to help guide their transition.
Full Day Primary students are divided by developmental readiness into either our Primary Nap Program in the gym or a second work period with their guides in the classroom. If the Primary child is still napping or benefitting from a rest period, he or she will be placed in the Nap Program. (We start the three-year-olds and most four-year-olds in Nap then assess readiness for a second work period after the first three weeks of school.) During nap, the children gather in a designated space on campus with soft music, white noise, back rubs, and a sweet rest time with our Nap team and several of our Assistant Guides.
Once Primary children grow out of their nap they participate in a second work period, which starts with a quiet story time from a chapter book, which we call “zen time”, with lessons in reading comprehension. Following story time, the children are placed with peers of similar academic, social, and emotional development for the remainder of the work period.
The younger children traditionally work with the Assistant Guides in a creative environment, which includes art, stories, practical life activities, outdoor work, on-campus field trips, and gardening. Younger children also participate in Nature Club with students from other classes.
The older children, typically the five- and six-year-olds, but some older four-year-olds on occasion, work with the Lead Guide in a more academic environment that includes our proprietary Kindergarten Curriculum in preparation for elementary school, where the “olders” and “leaders” work on advanced lessons in reading, writing, advanced math materials, conducting science experiments and making maps. Kindergartners also participate in a weekly Science Club with the Kindergarten students from other classes.
We give much thought, observation, and conversation to the question of which afternoon program is best for each child, in an effort to follow each child’s needs and developmental readiness. The child’s Lead Guide ultimately makes the placement decision for each child, and he or she will discuss this decision with parents/guardians. Please note that we put much consideration into supporting afternoon transitions for our children regardless of which program they are enrolled in.
We offer both a Morning Program and a Full Day Program for our children. Upon drop-off, your child will enjoy some time outdoors. After moving inside, we begin class time with a group lesson on circle, followed by a minimum of two hours of independent work time. The Montessori-trained Lead Guides give individual, one-on-one, and group lessons to each child during work time, while the Assistants move through the classroom and outdoor work environments ensuring that all the children are busy working on materials (“works”) in which they have already received a lesson, or that do not require a lesson (such as puzzles, games, reading corner, art corner, practical life, and manipulatives). Snack is set out and available during the work period so the children may serve themselves whenever they feel hungry, followed by washing their dishes. After work time, the children reconvene for a brief second circle and community lunch, followed by a second outdoor play period. Morning students are picked up at 12:30, and our remaining students transition into either Nap or Zen Time/Second Work Period, and the children are picked up between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m.
For general questions regarding our enrollment process, please visit our Admissions page. For questions regarding your child’s readiness for our Primary program and for tips on helping your child prepare for success in our Primary program, please review the following document.
Our classroom is a vibrant learning community where children experience math, language, science, culture, and many other subjects in concrete, hands-on ways. We love to get outside for work and play, incorporating nature in our study of the world around us. We also love stories and storytelling! We learn many new ways of seeing the world through the stories we share.
We wholeheartedly embrace the Montessori principle of educating the whole child. Along with honoring and engaging each child’s learning process, we reinforce interpersonal skills that will last a lifetime. We truly believe in the power of the Montessori method to engage and awaken the children’s senses. Learning is a lifelong process and we hope as guides to model the spirit of inquisitiveness and collaboration that we want to nurture in our students.
We are proud of the balanced, complementary strengths we bring as guides. We believe that all members of our community are special and powerful people – adults and children alike. We’re excited to share with the children our energy to work, play, and move, as well as our sense of wonder and awe at the world. The Montessori philosophy helps us see ourselves as concrete thinkers and creative problem solvers, all seeking to learn and grow in a supportive community.
Primary 1 was the first primary (3-6 year old) classroom at Athena – we’re proud to be a part of Athena history and carry on time-honored class traditions while still keeping things “fresh” by drawing on our combined experience as a team.
Observers who take the time to find out more
Explorers who seek out new challenges and experiences
Welcome to the Phoenix community! Our class is a safe place for children to explore and grow in all the important developmental areas. The children are fostered to create a working community with their peers where they are encouraged to support each other in their social, emotional, and academic goals. We strongly believe that children are not able to fully open up their minds to grow unless they feel their social and emotional needs are met. The Montessori philosophy is a perfect structure to successfully meet each child where they are and to create an individualized lesson plan so that they may flourish at their own pace. They learn to work together as a team because they are first seen as an individual. Academically, our class dives into fun and creative topics each school year.
Most of our topics are driven by the children’s curiosities. Some topics that came up last year were: the human body, the planets, Antarctica, and we also studied a few different authors. Again, the Montessori philosophy provides a lovely platform for children to fall in love with learning. We create a great balance between individual learning opportunities, as well as class discoveries that we do in large and small groups. It is an amazing process to witness a very young three year old start off learning each letter sound, and then graduate as a giant kindergartner who is able to complete an entire research project and share it with the class.
Welcome to the Falcons class! Our classroom is a loving and nurturing environment that we have built with the children in our classroom. The children are encouraged and fostered to take an active participation in creating their own little “city.” Their voices and opinions are valued and we feel strongly that it is this sense of community and independence that leads them to growing socially, emotionally, and academically. We believe that it is important to teach the children to learn how they learn best. Montessori creates a beautiful vessel for the children to do just that. Through our observations of how each child learns in our community, we create individualized lessons for each child that are focused on the next level of academics as well as the next level of social and emotional growth. The children are encouraged to explore the Montessori works so that they may make some awe inspiring discoveries, just like the little scientist that Maria Montessori wrote about over one hundred years ago. Maria Montessori also had a rich Peace Education vision, which is valued and carried with love into the Falcons community.
Our wonderful classroom has a strong focus on kindness, peace, and community. In addition to all of the traditional Montessori curriculum areas, we have a rich science, art, and music curriculum. We incorporate thematic units in which we do in-depth studies of subjects such as botany, Australia, Savannah animals, etc. and incorporate the subject throughout the curriculum areas. We have weekly and monthly classroom rituals like science experiments, estimation, and featured fine artists. It is very important to us to personalize curriculum for each of our students, meet and inspire each child where he or she is developmentally, and nurture the children emotionally, socially, spiritually, and academically.
Welcome to the Hummingbird nest! Our classroom is a safe space for all of its members to explore, learn and grow. We are committed to creating a peaceful, joyful and connected community with the children and families. Rooted firmly in the Montessori philosophy and curriculum, we work to foster and guide each child’s academic, social and emotional development. By staying true to these foundations, we create a balance in supporting each individual along with our larger classroom community. The children’s learning opportunities come in all forms: self-directed, individual and small group lessons, and class-wide unit studies. Within these unit studies, we love to learn about culture, science, geography and science, and to enrich the practical life, sensorial, math and language curricula. The basis for all of our academic learning and curiosities lies with our peace education, which cultivates both intrapersonal and interpersonal skills. As classroom guides, we are deeply honored to be able to spend these three formative years with the children, and to witness them blossom into confident, compassionate, engaged learners!
Students are immersed in an atmosphere that enhances their physical and socioemotional as well as their academic needs. Senses of independence, curiosity, empathy, and confidence are fostered both in the classroom and the outdoor work and play environments.
The Primary Program is a three-year Montessori cycle, and there is an expectation that enrollment in this program is a three-year commitment. The three-year cycle allows for each child to experience the newness of their first year with older peers to help guide their transition. At Athena, first-year students are paired with a “Big Buddy”—a third-
“I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my son’s education. The loving guides at Athena taught him so much more than reading and writing– he’s learned how to take care of himself and those around him while navigating the social community of his classroom. I feel these life skills will serve him well as he graduates and enters first grade in the fall!”
- Rebecca O’Hara (Child now attending Eanes Elementary)