The Primary Program

The Primary Program typically lasts three years, and is designed to meet the needs of the young child between the ages of 3 to 6 years.

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.

Program Hours

Half Day: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
School Day:
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

List of 5 items.

  • The Primary 1 Team

    Tess Karlan (she/her), Primary 1 Lead Guide
    Becca Himes (she/her), Primary 1 Assistant Guide
    Jocelyn Jaimes-Marquez (she/her), Primary 1 Assistant Guide
    Liam Cahill (he/him), Primary 1 Support & ASP Guide
  • The Primary 2 Team

    Lisa Miele (she/her), Primary 2 Lead Guide
    Cesca Longoni (she/her), Primary 2 Assistant Guide
    Lynda McGovern (she/her), Primary 2 Assistant Guide
    Sam Hernandez (he/him), Primary 2 Support & ASP Guide
  • The Primary 3 Team

    Drew Fischels (he/him), Primary 3 Lead Guide
    Tiffany Herrera (she/her), Primary 3 Interim Lead Guide
    Asma Fazal (she/her), Primary 3 Assistant Guide
    Sydney Frideley (they/them), Primary 3 Support & ASP Guide
  • The Primary 4 Team

    Jennifer Bourgeois (she/her), Primary 4 Co-Lead Guide
    Alex Kinkade (she/her), Primary 4 Co-Lead Guide
    Jazmin Castro (she/her), Primary 4 Assistant Guide
    John Woodworth (he/him), Primary 4 Support & ASP Guide
  • The Primary 5 Team

    Ryann Flanagan (she/her), Primary 5 Lead Guide
    Alexis Duran (she/her), Primary 5 Assistant Guide
    Ben Gikow (he/him), Primary 5 Assistant Guide
    Kimby Ramsey (she/her), Primary 5 Assistant & Support Guide


For general questions regarding our enrollment process, please visit our Admissions page.

List of 1 items.

  • We embrace the concept of the “whole child.”

    Students are immersed in an atmosphere that enhances their physical and socio-emotional wellbeing, 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.
    Read More

List of 3 items.

  • Primary Naptime

    School Day Primary students are divided by developmental readiness into either nap or a second work period. All children under the age of four nap at Athena, to best support their developmental needs. As a child nears the age of four, we will work with their family to make a plan for them to continue napping or transition out of nap, depending on the needs of the child. During nap, the children gather in a designated space in their classroom with their nap roll, soft music, white noise, and back rubs or comfort from their guides.
  • Second Work Period

    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. 

    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.
  • Typical Primary Schedule of the Day

    We offer both a Half Day Program and a School 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 children 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). Each child brings snack from home, which is available to them during the work period whenever they feel hungry. 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 12:15 p.m., while our remaining students transition into either nap or the second work period and are picked up between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m.

Primary Program Lead Guides

List of 6 members.

  • Photo of Tess Karlan

    Tess Karlan 

  • Photo of Lisa Miele

    Lisa Miele 

  • Photo of Drew Fischels

    Drew Fischels 

  • Photo of Jennifer Bourgeois

    Jennifer Bourgeois 

  • Photo of Alex Kinkade

    Alex Kinkade 

  • Photo of Ryann Flanagan

    Ryann Flanagan 

Athena Montessori Academy

“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)